On a cold winter evening, one TML patron went to hear Irish music and found more than that in the comfort of the night. One never knows what one might find when you attend one of the many free library events. For this patron, she was transported home.
It was Tuesday afternoon, only three days after St. Patrick’s Day, when I saw the poster on the front door of the Thomas Memorial Library announcing “GLENSHARE” would be performing that night at the library. Glenshare is an Irish duo (John Nesbitt and Jean McIntosh) from Massachusetts who sing Irish songs from the heart.
So it was only a few hours later that I found myself sitting in the front row of the community room at the library facing a white-haired gentlemen in a lovely Irish sweater and cap, and a beautiful lady with red hair and a guitar. As the couple began to sing, I traveled back to my visits to Ireland. John, a wonderful storyteller, shared stories of his childhood as he and Jean sang a song that they wrote about “Saturday Night at Home in Derry” where musicians filled their own homes as youngsters. John’s stories continued throughout the show regaling the patrons with funny tales of fellow Irishmen and his own run-ins with the law. Hands were clapping, feet were stomping, and the crowd sang along.
What a wonderful night! I forgot that I was down in the lower level of the library and not in a pub back in Shannon. As the evening came to a close, an encore of ‘ole-Irish favorites’ filled the small room. As they began to sing these words:
"Over in Kilarney, many years ago,
me mother sang a song to me
in tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty, in her good Ould Irish way,
And’ I’d give the world if she could sing
that song to me this day.”
Tears ran down my face as I recalled my mother singing this song to me as a child. In this small library space with a quiet group of patrons, I felt my mother’s arms around me again.
Thanks to the TML for one of the many wonderful opportunities that they offer to our community. Check out the programs and attend one of these events. You might be surprised where the road may take you.
Mary (Coyne) Capobianco is a Director of the Thomas Memorial Library Foundation.