The Lilt of Irish Laughter
Ireland – the land of song, of sadness and joy: the land where people have survived the worst and can still laugh at themselves. There is something about the Irish spirit that is infectious.
We have just left Cobh (pronounced Cove) in the south of Ireland. It was the last port of call for the Titanic on its fatal voyage, and where the Lusitania was torpedoed in the waters nearby. The town is full of history.
Many Irishmen and women ended up in Australia, either voluntarily fleeing poverty and starvation just as Brigid did in ‘The Girl from County Clare’, or involuntarily as convicts. Whatever the reason, people with Irish blood can be found in many parts of the world.
I did a lot of research when creating the character of Brigid to the point where I understood her. I knew how she felt about things and wasn’t surprised to hear words in my head that came from her mouth as I followed her journey across Ireland to London, her point of departure.
In Cobh, every time a cruise ship arrives from Australia, the townsfolk have an “Australia Day”. The flags wave, the bands play, and there is music in all the pubs. It is just as well we did the history tours in the morning and ate well at lunchtime before we found the pub with the best Irish band and spent the afternoon singing, clapping, dancing, and oh yes, drinking, until the time came to reboard the ship.
After having such an enjoyable day in Cobh, a little part of me wished Brigid’s ship had sailed from Cobh – that I could feel as though I was standing where she had once stood, but at least I could take away the sounds of her country ringing in my ears – the lilting Irish voices and the traditional songs that maybe she sang too.