An Irish Experience: Travel Tales Flowing from History, Humor and the Search for Home

An Irish Experience: Travel Tales Flowing from History, Humor and the Search for Home

by Howard G. Franklin

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Overview

An Irish Experience: Travel Tales Flowing from History, Humor and the Search for Home by Howard G. Franklin

Through this tantalizing travelogue the reader journeys north, west, south, and east to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the fascinating facets of a culture created by 2000 years of history amidst a geographical wonderland. And spiced with generous helpings of humor, this adventure offers an experience comprised of art and architecture, song and dance, poetry, politics, and the warm-hearted people who inhabit the Emerald Isle.

"It begins with brainwaves, an idea: I want to see Ireland. Then, like a gentle breeze, enters emotion, a curious yearning, whispering: I need to see Ireland. Add imagination, and the lady is wearing a smile. A beautiful smile. A coquettish smile.

All right. All right. So the lady is a country, you were expecting a romance maybe? Well, all right again, her name is Rachel and she lives in Sligo. But that's its own separate story, and for the moment the subject is beginnings, so as I was saying, the Lady is sporting a smile. Dressed in soft green velvet, her shoulders support a shawl of lakes and rivers and mountains. And around her neck curls a single strand of wedding-white pearls, one each for Dublin, Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Killarney, Cork, and Waterford.

On her left wrist dangles a gold bracelet, heavy with the charms of song and dance, art, and the four Nobel Prizes for Literature, all jingling sweetly beneath the smaller Claddagh brooch nestled near her heart: two arms circling to join hands in friendship, then cradle a heart for love below the crown of loyalty, while in the center, twin emeralds sparkle to speak of the two Hs -- History and Humor."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592993130
Publisher: Inkwater Press
Publication date: 03/01/2008
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Howard G. Franklin was born in St. Joe, Missouri, in 1940. Raised in Los Angeles, he received his B.S. in Real Estate and Finance from the University of Southern California, and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

From 1968 to 1988, Howard served as a Deputy Public Defender for Los Angeles County, was engaged in the private practice of law, and became a partner in F & F Investment Company.

His short stories and poetry have appeared on radio, in newspapers, and numerous national magazines and literary journals such as A Different Drummer, Razem, the Lake Oswego Review, The Sandwich Generation, Silver Quill, Nomad's Choir, Single Vision, and Poets and Work. He also has appeared as a guest poet in Poetspeak's Reading Series at Portland State University, and in the Northwest Coalition's celebration of National Poetry Month in Vancouver, Washington.

For more information please visit howardgfranklin.com

Read an Excerpt

I
Genesis

IT BEGINS WITH BRAINWAVES, AN IDEA: I WANT TO SEE IRELAND. THEN, like a gentle breeze, enters emotion, a curious yearning, whispering: I need to see Ireland. Add imagination, and the lady is wearing a smile. A beautiful smile. A coquettish smile.

All right. All right. So the lady is a country, you were expecting a romance maybe? Well, all right again, her name is Rachel and she lives in Sligo. But that's its own separate story, and for the moment the subject is beginnings, so as I was saying, the Lady is sporting a smile. Dressed in soft green velvet, her shoulders support a shawl of lakes and rivers and mountains. And around her neck curls a single strand of wedding-white pearls, one each for Dublin, Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Killarney, Cork, and Waterford.

On her left wrist dangles a gold bracelet, heavy with the charms of song and dance, art, and the four Nobel Prizes for Literature, all jingling sweetly beneath the smaller Claddagh brooch nestled near her heart: two arms circling to join hands in friendship, then cradle a heart for love below the crown of loyalty, while in the center, twin emeralds sparkle to speak of the two Hs - History and Humor.

I suppose that is why she is not wearing a watch. For when the Carrowmore Tombs teach a text originating a thousand years before the Pyramids, and the pictures paint a painful but poignant panoply of tragedy and triumph in human nature's native colors, the lesson learned is live now and laugh as much as possible.

"Sounds good to me," I slide out through the grin curling from the corners of my mouth to light my face. And as I lift my eyes from the Lady's figure spread out across thekitchen island to put a match to my pipe, synchronicity swells the grin full. For green tiles edge the counter's white face, and the tiny letters engraved on my pipe spell Peterson's of Dublin.

A coincidence? I consider, once again focusing on the Lady's smile and listening to her siren song. No, I don't think so, squirms the answer several seconds later, all I can see and hear swimming together to configure secrets in giant green letters. So many secrets, says the smile, and the song sings sweetly of so many shades of green, that somehow they must harbor a truth I need to know.

"Yeah. . . . Either that, or you're losing what little's left of your mind," I crack sharply into the silence, seeking to shake free of the trance and noting how hot my kitchen has suddenly grown. As a luxurious defense against the Oregon winter, the thermostat is set at 70. And though calculated to create comfy-cozy, the spontaneous ideas swarming about now turn toasty to tropical as "You're going" teases off my tongue, then tiptoes several feet away to wait and see how it's been received.

"I am?" answers the left side of my brain, neurons spinning faster and faster in response to the mixture of anticipation and anxiety coursing through me.

"Uh-huh. For sure," responds the right side with growing confidence. "Hell, deep down you know it, I know it, we know it. So with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost all in agreement, why not just face up to the fact that there are no real accidents in life, and start celebrating with a nice glass of wine."

"O-kay," I nod cautiously, security struggling for a foothold, a thin smile sneaking across my lips.

It widens as I pour the merlot, add chocolate to the burgeoning festivities, and then shuffle into my study in search of an article about Ireland I'd clipped out I don't remember when and carefully stored I don't know where. But the night is pregnant with surprise, and inside five minutes, I've located it, relit my pipe, and digested the fact that 20 million Americans trace their ancestral roots to the Emerald Isle. "Well, how about you, you got any Irish roots?" old Righty chirps cheerfully, still seeking to secure my commitment.

"Oh, sure," snickers Lefty. "I mean you're half Russian, one-quarter Lithuanian, and one-quarter Hungarian. Does that ring a bell in St. Patrick's Cathedral?"

"Well, it has all the makings of an Irish stew," rips the reply. "And what about dreams, and adventure, and romance, don't they count? . . . "

In the renewing silence, the noun dreams turns slow-motion somersaults until a nerve is nudged and I reach for a favorite book of poems and slowly steer my eyes to savor Ireland's greatest bard:

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread my dreams under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Oh, yes, murmurs through my mind as solace stirs to tranquilize doubt. Yes . . . Yes . . . Yes. 'Cause dreams are the children of hope, and they do indeed count. Big time, huh, Mr. William Butler Yeats. 'Cause they help hold you young and fully alive. They point patiently at purpose and invite passion. And they promise that if you really believe and risk, you will be truly free. No guarantees of course. But the precious package does include a limited warranty: There's magic even in trying.

"Okay . . . I'm in," escapes through a sigh when optimism rests to refuel. And as midnight arrives and I climb the stairs into bed, I smile through the darkness at the newborn dream of discovery, allowing adventure and romance to snuggle in around the edges and add to the collective cozy. "So many shades of green," I echo in whispers, nestling deeper into the pillow, "you must hold a truth I need to know."

Uh-huh, counsels my coy companion silently as I fall into sleep. And all you have to do to learn it is go slowly and tread softly.

Table of Contents

Foreword
Genesis
Dilemma's Delight
Torso of Time
Hello Dublin
Church, Castle, & College
Politics, Poetry, & Pastry
North of the Liffey
Train Ride to Sligo
Sweet Afternoon in Sligo Town
Magical Day
Rachel
Browne Door to Spanish Arch
Cuain na Mara
City with a Rhyme
Picture Postcard
Moonscape, Cave, & Cliffs
Camelot
Finding Friends in the Gap of Dunloe
The Ring of Kerry
Lucy's Town
Harbor of the Sun
Ireland's Garden
Truths
Acknowledgments
About the Author

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