Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Irish Colleen.

She has an image on which we can all agree. Raven haired and pale of visage, short in stature and slight of build, she moves with purpose whether by skip or glide or cartwheel. Her voice is quiet and modulated widely to suit the purpose of the moment, but it always carries a hint of gravel from the banks of the Liffey.

Her most defining feature, however, is her eyes. Coloured a dark azure and shining bright though the damp Irish sky be leaden, they carry mischief. Be they pleading or angry or expectant or happy, they always carry mischief. You would fall under their spell in a moment and give her your heart; you might even give her your life. And yet you wouldn’t trust her with your grandmother’s toffee apple.

I met one once in a coffee shop in Letterkenny. It was fortunate for me, perhaps, that she was preoccupied with her work. I met another in a wood a few miles from Donegal Town, but that story can’t be told. Suffice it to say that I have been paying the price of denying her existence ever since.

And in the most unlikely event that you haven’t heard the following song before, this is her being rightly celebrated:

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