According to family legend, my great-great grandfather, George Convy, brought a piece of sod from the homeland when he emigrated from Ireland in 1866. Now and again he would take it out and have a good cry.
I loved that story and I enjoy studying Irish history with the kids.
We learned that the Irish, who fled their country by the thousands, did not have a word for "emigrate" -- instead, they used the word for "exile," which struck me as sad and poignant. In one book we read, a women sent her children off to America, but refused to go herself. She believed she'd be dying soon, and she wanted to be buried in familiar ground, ground that "knew her bones."
In this song.The Turf o' Tullamore - I tried to pay tribute to my Irish ancestors, who came from Tullamore, Ireland, to make a new life in St Louis, MO, -- and occasionally grieved for their homeland.
The Turf o' Tullamore
words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman
Into the West – land of the free
In freedom will I e’er a stranger be
So up the stairs I climb
Open up the trunk and find
The piece of home I carried ‘cross the sea
Weeping o’er The Turf o’ Tullamore
Exiles both – the Irish sod and I
The Turf o’ Tullamore
Will know my bones forevermore
Sweeten my grave when I
Lay down to die
For my sons, I made a pledge
They’ll not beg the Crown for daily bread
There’s days I understand
The promise in this promised land
And days I fill my glass with my regrets
When I take my final rest
Lay the Turf o’ Tullamore upon my breast
And it’s sweet - the dream I’ll dream
Home to Erin’s fields of green
By the Shannon’s holy waters, I’ll be blessed