Archive for the ‘The Quiet Man’ Category

Tea with Mary Kate finds seemingly ordinary events, and seeks to show how special, how connecting each of these shared experiences can be. For those familiar with the film “A Quiet Man”, there are several scenes at the train station. The arrival of Sean Thornton and more memorably, when Mary Kate looks to flee to Dublin. I adore that scene when Sean slams shut all of the doors to look for Mary Kate, eventually finding her hiding in Third class.

Sean arrives at the station

Llangollen evokes the feeling of stepping back in time to the golden era of steam train travel

Standing on the platform of Llangollen steam railway station instantly transports you back to another era in time. The station is how you would imagine it to be, with its original luggage, and the crew and station master suitable attired, the station instantly manages to evoke the golden age of steam. The Llangollen train’s are magnificent, the steam is hissing, the carriages resplendent. It reminds you this was a time when steam travel was how everyone travelled in Britain.

There is a passion and enthusiasm for these grand old steam engines

Rather cleverly, has been turned into a successful business for restoration. We got a sneak peak at the restoration yard, as one of our party had vital information on a train they’d just acquired – and we were met by a dedicated group bursting with the knowledge of the past. It was a delight to see this being brought to bear with a younger equally enthusiastic generations of drivers and stokers (you definitely need someone with energy to keep that fire going for the engine!)

All aboard!

The journey you take is magical, with the gentle movement of the train, the noise and sight of the steam trailing back over the roof, next to the River Dee for much of the journey, and through some of the most beautiful & scenic countryside of North Wales. And there’s more good news – plans are afoot to expand the 7 1/2 miles of track even further, with a Corwen extension, including a new station, which is very exciting. And of course, there are a lovely tea rooms on the platform.

The murder mystery events are such fun

Other events that take place are murder mystery evenings. Depending on the theme, virtually everyone who attends is in fancy dress, it’s a wonderful sight to see, and a fabulous evening out, not too mention really reasonably priced. A pair arrived as a camel to our Arabian themed murder mystery! The evening starts with food served Platform 1 where the plot unfolds. Actors play out further scenes on the train & all you need to do is guess who, it is great fun! The next event is Saturday May 8th – The Baker Street Murders, where you’re invited to turn yourself into Sherlock Holmes for the evening to solve the mystery. The trains run most weekends and the journey is really wonderful, as well as a great idea for a mother’s day treat, so if you’re near North Wales, do go soon!

Read Full Post »

Now, Mary Kate is Irish, through and through, so I thought it would be fitting to share a few thoughts about St Patrick’s Day, on 17 March to celebrate the day. St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland of course, but for me, the day is all about celebrating your Irish heritage, and testimony to the scattering of the Irish are the parades  that have taken place for centuries in countries all around the world. I can trace my own roots back to a potato famine, where my Irish relations fled to Wales rather than starve.

Bright green shamrock biscuits

The tradition and celebration of this day and the time of year did put me to thinking of other Irish traditions. I know many of you familiar with the film “The Quiet man” will recall Michaleen Oge Flynn, the “shocklhorn” or matchmaker, who formally introduces Sean to Mary Kate. Sean just planned to “honk his horn” to have Mary Kate a running but Michaleen advises that there is a route that needs to be taken, customs that need to be followed.

Mary Kate & Sean are both impetuous, and having waited for the approval of Mary Kate’s brother, a tricky and lengthy negotiation, the pair escape the eagle eyed gaze of their watcher, and end up in an old church yard in the rain, with a shared passionate kiss that is for me the most romantic scene of the film, or any other film for that matter.

Passionate kissing in the rain - Sean & Mary Kate

No St Patrick’s Day would be complete without a song, and I admit a romantic bias for my absolute favourite Irish song in all the world “O Danny Boy”. I have such strong childhood memories connected with the singing of this. “Danny Boy” was originally said to be intended as a message from a woman to a man but has been interpreted by some listeners as a message from a parent to a son going off to war or leaving as part of the frequent massive Irish emigrations that took place. The song is widely considered an Irish anthem, and trite as this may sound, I confess I can never quite make it to the end without a glimmer of a tear in my eye.

Danny Boy

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling
Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying
If I am dead, as dead I well may be
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.
And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be
For ye shall bend and tell me that you love me
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.

Have yourself a very special St Patricks Day – and see the opportunity of celebrating the day as a gift. Find a parade, go to Dublin Saint Patrick Day on Wednesday 17th March, London St Patricks day celebrations takes place on Sunday 14th March, the Manchester Irish Festival also looks great fun. Dress up in green, make a cake decorated with shamrocks, sing a few songs, have afternoon tea, with a strong cup of your favourite Irish blend, invite some friends around to celebrate.

Above all though, my hope is that this blog gives you the impetus to change your plans for 17th March, and provides you with the motivation for you to connect with those who are important to you, to celebrate your friendship together, to create your own traditions, to remember that part of you that is forever Irish.

Irish celebrations for St Patricks Day

An Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Read Full Post »