Thursday, April 5, 2012
In recent days I sent an elderly relative a photograph, one of Spouse and I on a recent trip to Ireland.
In the picture, we're standing where the earth ends, otherwise known as the edge of Ireland, and we're trying to hold onto our hats and keep grounded in the face of a wind that's less of a wind and more of an ice-cold, full-force gust of power that wants to lure us backwards for a closer, more invigorating look at the grey, churning water.
There's a house in the picture, but it's not a house at all: it's a prop from a Hollywood movie.
Built in 1970 by the producers of Ryan's Daughter, the old schoolhouse stands as it ever did, save for one or two missing walls, and the roof and other essentials that blew away or crumbled with time and the relentless thrashing of the sea.
I've been visiting that fictional schoolhouse in Dunquin, County Kerry, off and on since I was a youngster, and the bones of the building are still holding up rather well.
My relative, who has never been to Ireland, telephoned upon receiving the photograph.
"Is that your mama's house?" was his first question.
Initially I was appalled at the notion of my mother living in such a tumbledown shell, although the view would certainly be terrific; and to be fair, the schoolhouse is as sturdy as a rock.
I explained as gently as I could that no, it wasn't her house at all, but a leftover artifact from a long-ago movie.
"Ah," he said, immediately grasping the essence of it all. "So it's a history house."
Yes, I told him, one could well call it a history house.
But to judge from the slumberous, slow pace at which time has tinkered with it thus far, I'd wager the old Dunquin schoolhouse will have a lot more history to be written.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 5:43 PM