I’m back in Tipperary this weekend, at Brendan's parents' house in Carrick-on-Suir for Easter. Here is a view from their backyard:
Now, living right beside a graveyard might creep some people out--but the way I see it, there are bodies buried everywhere. These are just the ones that are marked.
Last night we were walking into town (so I could sample the spudballs, a local delicacy; alas, there were no more to be had at Fats Quann's takeaway), and as we were passing the graveyard Brendan pointed out the eerie blue lights inside--the same solar-powered lights you can get for your front walk, which charge all day and illuminate the sidewalk at night. If there were any honest-to-God orbs floating about you'd hardly have noticed them.
You expect this kind of elaborate grave-tending in a predominantly Catholic country, but I still wonder at the time and expense behind all those rotting wreaths, water-logged flower-globes, sentimental plaques (which often include a photograph of the deceased) and battery-operated candles. It seems like a significant part of Irish culture--something that, unlike the rural custom of forming a digging party when a neighbor passes on, won't be dying out any time soon.
(Blame Seanan for the offaly bad pun.)