May 28, 2010

Stamp Issued to Celebrate Irish Language Poet Máirtín Ó Direáin

A new stamp commemorating the birth centenary of Irish language poet Máirtín Ó Direáin has been issued by An Post, the Irish Postal Service. The 55c stamp features an original painting of Ó Direáin by Irish artist Tom Ryan, and depicts the poet set against the backdrop of his native Aran Islands.

Máirtín Ó Direáin was born on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands in 1910. He was the son of a small farmer and spoke only Irish until his mid-teens, when he left the island to work in Galway Post Office. He later became involved in the Irish Language Theatre through Conradh na Gaeilge (a body whose aim was to preserve the Irish language), and published two poetry collections, Coinnle Geala (1942) and Dánta Aniar (1943) at his own expense. He died in Dublin in 1988.

I'm hoping my next letter from my grandmother will bear this great poet's stamp. Until then, I'd like to share one of my favorite Ó Direáin poems. Faoiseamh is the Irish word for solace, and I have found much solace in this poem over the years whenever I have felt that pull for home. (The English translation is by Rossa Ó Snodaigh.)

Faoiseamh a gheobhadsa       I would find peace
Seal beag gairid For a short time
I measc mo dhaoine In the midst of my people
Ar oileán mara On an island of the sea
Ag siúl cois cladaigh Walking by the strand
Maidin is tráthnóna Morning and evening
Ó Luain go Sathairn From Monday to Saturday
Thiar ag baile At home in the west

Faoiseamh a gheobhadsa I would find peace
Seal beag gairid For a short time
I measc mo dhaoine In the midst of my people
Ar oileán mara On an island of the sea
Ó chrá chroí From torments of the heart
Ó uaigneas duairc From miserable solitude
Ó bhfuar d'aigne From coldness of the mind
Thiar ag baile At home in the west.

Buy Na Dánta here

May 27, 2010

Be Mine: Derek Wilson Ceramics

I need help. I need help justifying $200 on a set of four white mugs on a grey ceramic tray. So far this is what I've got:
  1. They're not just mugs, they're art.
  2. They're art I can put tea in.
  3. I'm so not minimal but a big part of me wishes I could edit myself down to a spare, clean style. Instead of starting over I could just get these minimal-style mugs. Love how they're sturdy and almost austere.
  4. Love drinking tea from spare, minimal, sturdy, and almost austere mugs.
  5. They're made by up-and-coming Belfast-based ceramicist Derek Wilson. How can I in good conscience support Pottery Barn and not Derek Wilson?
  6. I could drink four cups of tea at once.
  7. I've spent $200 on shoes that I only wore once (and then returned); I'd use these every day.
  8. When I'm not drinking tea, I could use them as vases. The tray would be handy for cookies to dip in my tea.
  9. I really need them ...
  10. ... to match the cute pourer and tea-set I also want to buy.

Derek Wilson Ceramics at The Irish Design Shop

May 26, 2010

Be Mine: Rose Leaf Wrap Bracelet

If I was organized/bored/indulged enough to actually create a Summer lookbook for myself, it would absolutely include this simple and pretty leather wrap bracelet with its delicate little silver rose flower. It might also include vintage, bohemian dresses, Heidi-braids that wrap across my head, Heidi-clogs (to match the hair), a classic Margarita pitcher with glasses, a beachfront villa, and a toned backside. Some of these items will have to wait until next Summer (ie., hair and budget needs to grow, bum needs to stop growing), so I may just distill my lookbook to two key items—the bracelet and a batch of pomegranate margaritas.
Made by Dublin-based, Silkstone Designs, this leather cord-bracelet wraps around the wrist three times and fastens with a sterling silver hook clasp. Love that an actual rose leaf was pressed into the surface of the silver before firing, imprinting its delicate veins on the silver.
$42, SilkstoneDesigns.etsy

May 25, 2010

Tomorrow is National Fish and Chips Day!

Tomorrow is Wednesday. Wednesday is generally Hump Day for most people and light-a-fire-under-my-rump-day (AKA The Day I Run Out of Milk, Time, and Clean Knickers) for me. But tomorrow is not just any old Wednesday; it's National Sorry Day in Australia, Mother's Day in Poland, Independence Day in Guyana, and—fire up yer fryers—the very first National Fish and Chips Day in Ireland! Woohoo!

To celebrate, fish and chips from the 190 members of the Irish Traditional Italian Chipper Association are half price tomorrow in Ireland. Sadly, Aer Lingus is not honoring this important Holiday with half-price flights, so I'm going to have to whip up my own batch.

Thinking to try this Jamie Oliver recipe. (If you're planning to join me, be sure to add salt, vinegar, and newspaper to your shopping list.)

For the chips:
3 3/4 pints (2 liters) vegetable oil
2 pounds (950 grams) floury potatoes, like russets, peeled and cut into large chips

For the batter:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup beer
2 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
4 (9 ounce/250 gram) fillets haddock or cod, skin on, and pin boned

Pour all the vegetable oil into a deep pan or deep fat fryer, and heat to 300 degrees F (160 degrees C.) Blanch the cut potatoes in the oil until soft, but not colored, about 4 minutes. Remove and drain.

Mix together the flour and the beer, then fold in the egg whites. Turn up the heat of the oil to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Dip the fish in the batter and fry for a few minutes with the chips until golden brown.

Drain on kitchen paper.

ITICA's Facebook page

May 21, 2010

James Vincent McMorrow: If I Had a Boat

This song has been haunting me in a good way since I first heard it yesterday. Listen to the whole song twice and you'll see yourself in black-and-white swaying in a concert crowd, arms and voice outreached to Dublin singer-songwriter James Vincent, feeling the love and power of a crowd of people singing this song together. (If you're a bit mad like me, you'll also see what you are wearing —off-white tunic with crochet inset, cut-offs, suede sandals—and comment to yourself that you look less sweaty and frizzy in black-and-white.)
Sigh, if I had a boat, I'd row it to Ireland to grab a copy of James Vincent McMorrow's debut album, Early in the Morning (it's not available in the States yet). According to McMorrow's site, the album was created in "An isolated house by the sea" and is a completely self-produced and played affair, "Recorded with 1 mic, a room full of beat up instruments, very little engineering knowledge, and a good amount of patience." Don't you love it/him already?

Listen to the album on
Harass him on facebook

Seriously though, if I was to start rowing now, do you think I'd get to Ireland in time to see him perform at the August Castlepalooza music and arts festival in Tullamore?

May 19, 2010

Je T'aime Paris

I'm back! Sigh, what a lovely weekend. I ate, walked, ate, walked some more, posed, basked, drank, laughed, shopped, and altogether had a super (su pehr) time! Wish I could go back this weekend ...

May 12, 2010

Where I'm At

Ever have a day that runs away from you and then it's a week and the only explanation is a bottle of Salad Cream? Of course you have. My sister came to visit last week and to make a long story short I can't come back to a regular posting schedule until I finish every last drop of this bottle of Salad Cream.
(Almost forgot—as well as slapping Salad Cream on everything, I'll be gallivanting around Paris for a few days, so pardon the irregular schedule while across the pond they pardon my French! À bientôt!)

Suddenly craving a salad cream sandwich? You can get a bottle here.