1969. Armstrong drags his bad leg across the moon.
In Dingle they are replacing their tarpaulin flooring
with carpets. The Hollywood machine is doubling
the average fisherman’s income by getting them
to produce plastic rocks that will make the local
landscape look even more desolate for the making
of Ryan’s Daughter. They waited on the beach out
at Dun Quin for four months for an authentic storm.
When it finally arrived it was unnaturally fierce and
the locals, extras in their own clothing, nearly drowned
as the cameras rolled.
Four decades previous, up the harsh Atlantic coast,
on the Aran Islands, they plaited seaweed into the rock
to create a soil in which to plant, as a well-fed English
film crew watched on.
7 years after Armstrong, I sat beneath the photographs
of the set of Ryan’s Daughter in Kruger’s as my
mother brought the stories of the filming back from
the bar and my father let me taste his bitter black pint.
Through a rain battered window I could make out the
hump of the Great Blasket like a sleeping whale, and
I daydreamed about a life of isolation on the island.
23 years later, as I sat in the shadow of a ruined church,
beside the hall in which they screened Man of Aran,
and listened to you sing your father’s song, I began
to trace the lineage of my ghosts in the air around me.