On Sunday last Andy and I together with our 3 dogs went to Greaghnageeragh Forest which is about a mile and a half from our house. It is an eerie, sad and poignant place. On a small hillock within the forest is a communal grave where people who died during the Famine of 1845-46 are buried.
The survivors were too weak to bring the corpses to the local graveyard for burial so they buried them here on this remote hillside. One can only imagine the feelings of despair that this brought…all on a hungry belly…and all the while food was being exported from Ireland by the rich and powerful landlords.
November in Ireland is the month when we remember our dead relatives. Remember…remember lest we forget. We…one day will be the dead relative. It is a time to realise our own mortality. Visiting places like this reminds us of the fragility of our lives. At least these people were trying to grow their own food…it just was’nt diverse enough…they were too dependent on the easily grown Potato. Nowadays we are dependent too…dependent on the supermarket to provide our daily nutrition. What happens in the event of some disaster when the stocks cannot reach the gleaming shelves. Something to think about perhaps?
The local people here tend this area…all the while remembering. Mass is celebrated here every September…the locals come to pay their respects…and remember the ancestors. Others come here too. One can see the pathways worn by visitors. As we walked away from this forest we were struck by the silence…but… we were heading home to a nice warm house…a cup of coffee and a little snack. A flick of the switch turns on the TV with news of terrible famine in Africa. How awful and so sad that this should be happening still on planet Earth. Ireland now has so much food that one-third of food purchased ends up in the bin. Every country has the same waste…while others starve. So much is spent by the rich and powerful on war…while people die from starvation.
Forgive my solemn ramblings but these sites send my mind into these realms…but it is reality…it happened…is still happening.
Let us not forget.