There are many reasons to love Ireland, and here’s one of them…
My husband, then seven-year-old son, and I were attempting to climb Carrantuohill, Ireland’s tallest mountain. Standing at 3, 123 feet and almost in the center of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains, the views of County Kerry are said to be extraordinary. However, by the time we had reached the base of the mountain, we had already hiked for over 2 hours on rocky and uneven terrain. I have a weak ankle, so I spied a beautiful clear lough surrounded by lovely large rocks and contented sheep. This would be my resting and thinking and just-enjoying-life spot for the next few hours, while my amazingly agile husband and son would summit and return to me.
As I was contemplating the water and the beautiful scenery around me, I heard singing from a distance….some lovely 3-part harmony Irish tune I did not know. As the song drew closer, I saw three priests, walking the path to Carrantuohill, singing full out. As they approached the spot where I was sitting, one said, “Is that a mermaid I see by the lough, or is it merely a vision?” I, of course,was instantly charmed, but too embarrassed to know what to say. The three of them then proceeded to break into a perfect rendition of “Red is the Rose”, again in 3 part harmony. I thanked them, red-faced no doubt, and they continued to sing it as they proceeded on their way up to the summit. It was lovely and kind, and I will never forget that day, the blue sky, the grazing sheep, the still waters, and the singing priests. At the end of the day, we all had our stories to tell: Ed & Joshua were the conquering heroes who ascended the summit and lived to tell about it, and I told of songs and sheep and waters.
Here is a wonderful rendition of “Red is the Rose” by The High Kings. Close your eyes, and sit beside your imaginary lough as you listen.