Friday, 28 October 2011

Michael D and oak trees

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Woke this morning to the tremendous news that it looks as if Michael D shall be President of Ireland.

The truth is, I have not really been following this much. The main thing that was reported here was that Martin McGuinness was getting very awkward questions about his past as an IRA commander, and what he did when, and whether he, literally, knew where the bodies were buried. (One of the cruellest things about the paramilitary groups is that they would take away sons in the night, and mothers and sisters sometimes too, shoot them, bury them in some godforsaken grave, and never tell the family where, so there was no body to mourn.) Anyway, despite the fact that I have loved the thought of Michael D Higgins ever since The Saw Doctors wrote their great shout of joy about him, which I listened to all through my twenties as I drove about Connemara in the shadow of the Twelve Bens, I had not really taken in that he was running.

In mitigation, I offer: book obsession.

A couple of days ago, there were news reports that he had suddenly surged in the polls, almost entirely because he had trounced all the other candidates in a debate. The thing I loved most about the trouncing is that it came not from clever rhetoric or calculated positioning, but, apparently, from clarity and straightforwardness and good English. Michael D speaks in honest sentences (he is a poet, after all), and does not use jargon or weasel words. This felt like rather a profound victory to me.

The results are still coming in, but it looks like Michael D is still rocking. And hurrah for that.

In the afternoon, I walked with the stepsister and small niece, who are visiting, and the stepfather, through the oak woods, past the tiny standing stones that sit there, by the coos, and round back down the lime avenue. The air was clear and still and the ground was cool and mossy and earthy under our feet and the colours were gleaming. We talked of birds and trees and dogs and the meaning of names. The Pigeon had a perfectly splendid time and is now whacked out on the sofa, exhausted from her afternoon.


Pictures are of what we saw on our walk:

The oaks:

28 Oct 2-1

28 Oct 3

28 Oct 4

The standing stones:

28 Oct 1

28 Oct 2

The Pigeon, checking for rabbits:

28 Oct 5

The beeches, which were green only two days ago, are now blazing amber:

28 Oct 6

The trees on the hill:

28 Oct 7

The splendid coos:

28 Oct 8

28 Oct 9

The limes:

28 Oct 10

Pigeon, thoughtful for her close-up:


28 Oct 12

Today's hill:

28 Oct 13.ORF


And here, in honour of the wonderful Michael D Higgins, is his very own song. I try never to tell the readers what to do, but you really do need to play this at full volume:


The Saw Doctors

The Irish really could not have chosen a better fellow.


  1. Loved the Saw Doctors Michael D. In fact I love the Saw Doctors anyway. I went to see them a few years ago at Guildfest and had a great time. Have you seen them live?
    I haven't actually followed the Irish presidency elections closely, even though I went to the same school as Mary McAleese apart from definitely not wanting Martin McGuinness or Dana but a poet sounds good.
    I had the opportunity to go to Aras an Uachtaraina couple of years ago but was thwarted by snow at Gatwick as Mary McAleese hosted a reception for my retiring priest uncle. Have you been?

  2. Great news...and McG got less than 14% of the vote - which was still too much, but still!

  3. Stunning pictures today, thank you!

    Loving the oaks & the coos


  4. Yes - isn't it great! There haven't been too many reasons to enjoy being Irish over the past few years, but we can certainly choose our presidents - the Marys Robinson and McAleese and now Michael D. Many thanks for your good wishes and good luck with the book.

  5. Your woods look like they're full of fairies and other magical creatures.

  6. It might be raining and it might be cold...


    I've loved this song since I was wee, even before I knew what it was about. It just sounded so happy.

    I'm going to be singing it all night.

  7. Your photos are very enchanting. I like how you framed the oak trees. I can imagine the certain sense of calmness those trees exude. Indeed, everyone needs a break from the metropolitan jungle.


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