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"Shamrock Blues" - an Irish Saga


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  • Emerald

Shamrock Blues - an Irish Saga

Chapter 1: Grandfather

Y'know those lonely, brisk nights, when ya got nothing but your thoughts to keep ya company?

You start thinking back to the days before everything went to shit, back to your life before everything changed. Memories, images of friends and family, precious things that seem to keep you sane. It becomes a rigorous routine, remembering these things, just to keep them from slipping away, from fading into the ether, like embers from a dying campfire. Aye, many of us might not admit to doing it, but we all do. Ya might not spend a whole lot of time reminiscing, and you might despise looking back on things.


But regardless, you do look back.

I'll often be brought back to my childhood,  simpler days, when it seemed much easier

to find happiness. I'll start thinking about my grandfather,  that mixed scent of  brandy and cinnamon will start tickling my nostrils, and I can start to feel his hand gently caressing my shoulder, warm and comforting. He was the nicest, most selfless man I had ever met, and I near worshiped his image . "Don't tell your brothers and your sister, but you were always my favorite Parker.."  That one always got me, brought the stupidest grin to my lips. I remember the Irish countryside, just outside of Dublin, and how it seemed to almost perfectly frame that little cottage of his. That simplistic, condition-less beauty, never failed to amaze me. It was especially grand to a child of my age, so damned curious about the world, impressed and bewildered by nearly every detail. Occasionally, he'd catch me swooning over the scenery, and wouldn't be able to keep himself from smiling. 

He'd take me inside his cottage, partial and modest in every sense of the word, yet utterly cozy and charming.

We had this sort of tradition whenever I came to visit, where he'd start brewing some of his mint tea, using a recipe he had learned from his aunt. While the tea was brewing, we'd shuffle on over to this row of racks, which held dozens and dozens of hats and caps, a veritable gallery of head wear. As my grandfather had explained it to me, it was a collection that he had started with his father, that was then shared with my own old man. Now, I was lucky enough to be the heir to the Conolly hat collection tradition. I'd point out a specific hat, and without even thinking, he'd be able to rattle off an intriguing tale about where he had found it, and what it mean't to him. Every single hat was special, and every hat had a story.  One I remember the most, was this old, dusty brown fedora, and I never hesitated to point it out. "Oh, that's one of my favorites. A few weeks after we made it into France, we took leave in a town we had liberated a week earlier. The people there were wholly grateful, they'd reach out and shake our hands as we passed by, shower us in thanks and gifts. This old shoe cobbler came up to me one evening, didn't say a word, but with a smile on his face, took the hat from his head, and carefully handed it to me, before patting my shoulder. It mean't more to me than any aged bottle of wine or basket of goodies, more than any amount of money."


Now that I think about it, I'm starting to wonder if the hats were some metaphor, that my grandfather hoped I would understand in my adult years..


We'd hear the tea pot shrieking, and he'd proceed to fetch us a couple of cups. It was always so perfectly warm,

not scorching hot, but not mildly heated either. As we sipped on our tea, my grandfather would take a moment to decide on a story, before proceeding to tell it. In my early childhood, it'd always be something simple, like things he had experienced when he was a boy, or mild adventures during his time in the British army. But as I got older, the tales got longer, and darker, and stories of exploring old caves turned to stories of storming the beaches of Normandy, and of the horrors he had seen fighting for Irish independence. Aye, he told me about the Troubles, a time when chaos and turbulence shook Northern Ireland, about seeing friends and relatives gunned down in the streets or in alleyways. He told about how much shock and rage filled his heart with each bloodied corpse, about the malice he had developed for the Brits, who he had fought for only decades prior. He told me about when he was integrated into the IRA, when everyday was spent working for the cause, fighting for the only righteous thing he knew of.

Then he'd explain how much he regretted it.


There was always this expression of pain and hollowed guilt painted across his wrinkled features, an image I've come to recognize well.

My old man, a die hard nationalist and IRA sympathizer, didn't even rarely speak to my grandfather. And now, I understand exactly why. Grandfather would always have some lesson imbued in these tales of his, some warning too complex for me to understand at the time. He was truly selfless, sacrificing the peace of burying memories, just to try and steer me away from the same mistakes he had made. When people ask me about my life before Chernarus, I'm always purposefully ambiguous, because I can't bear the pain and shame of the things I did, in the name of a cause that had caused my family so much pain. But my grandfather was different. He wanted me to know about the things he saw and did, because he hoped telling me would be enough to keep his grandson from trouble. 

God damn me for not listening..

Now I'm standing in the middle of a dark forest, in a foreign land, thousands and thousands of miles away from Ireland.

But it's only now, I truly understand my grandfather's words. Maybe I'm here because I had refused to listen to. Because I took up a cause that he had damned in his last few years. Maybe, Chernarus, the infection, all of this pain, is a punishment. Everyone I see nowadays, grimy and tired.. they have the same look about them. The same look my grandfather had when telling his stories. Suppressed pain, buried misery. Aye.. we are all the same, aren't we? Serving out our punishment, for sins committed in the days before the infection.

The last thing my grandfather said to me, just a week before his old age took him, went something like this: 

"We all make mistakes Parker. Everyone sees misery in their lifetime. We go through life, bearing this pain and hardship. But it's the good things in life that keep us going. For me, it's our family. It's your brothers and sister. It's you. One day, you'll understand. I love you my boy.."

I love you too, grandfather.

Edited by Harvey
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  • Emerald

[This is one of the best Irish Lore and stories I've Read. I cannot praise this enough and i am looking forward to more. Thank you for this entry.]

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  • Emerald

Thank you for the kind words boys :)

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