Finally home - from afar

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Posted by murrisk on March 29, 2001 at 18:46:18:

Sometimes in summer time people coming home from the pictures congregated at the end of Lovers Lane. People from Knockaphunta, Mountgordon, Mountdaisy and Ballymacrea - Bourkes, Costeloes, Mongans, Downes, Luddens, Quinns........ A memory of adults chatting while the kids climbed the high wall and the tall yew tree which stood in the "bulls field" inside it while a full summer moon hung in the sky overhead and the air was warm. From the meadows came the almost incessant call of the corncrake, and from down the lake or up towards the railway or from McGough's wood (before it was cleared for pasture) the bark of a fox clear in the night air. Eventually, homeward again up Lovers Lane, past the spot in the high wall where a hole in the mortar provided blue tits with a nesting site and over the bridge where, if you were really lucky, you might hear the whistle of an otter in the river. Past the spot beside the bridge where Pat Riley used to sit and gaze westwards towards the reek and Achill (before Joe Egan built his house and blocked Pat's view). Pat was a genial inmate, tall and heavily built, who wore hob nails and sported a flowing moustache and smoked a big brown pipe with a metal lid on the bowl. Up the lane past the spot in the "horses field" which used to flood in winter and where Kenneth Ford and myself used to balance precariously in pig troughs while we poled ourselves around, more often than not ending up in the cold water. Patient mothers! Over the rise and on to the tall gates which were locked at night. Through the wicket gate which was built as half an elipse. When you stood at the end of the elipse the gate would swing past you. and finally up past the well and home. If the night was really fine you might walk up past the red shed towards Actons where Peter and Mike, both unmarried, and their father lived - their home now an abandoned ruin. Gentle people. Away from the lights of the main road the whirr of the jacksnipe could be heard while bats swooped hunting insects. Sometimes they ended up in the house as my mother and father liked fresh air and open doors!. And sometimes the smell of the the lime kiln when limestone was being burned. Another memory of a full October moon and the air smelling of turf smoke and a light fog gathering in the low ground next the river and in the bog. Soon time for night shots. As unforgettable as the smell of a freshly mown meadow.

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