Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This blog’s big achievement is to use the laptop in the back of the car while your man just about manages to keep us between the ditches as we wind our way through the highways and byways of Donegal South West in pursuit of a Dáil seat and the only candidate capable of taking it off the government, Senator Pearse Doherty.

Today it is raining. In a way that only the rain in Donegal can rain. Yesterday was beautiful. In a way that only Donegal rain can be beautiful. It’s the light your man says and I can but agree. Even the rain has its own beauty. This is my kind of landscape. Hills and glens and mountains and rivers and lakes and deserted lonely beaches and magical sea scapes and big skies.

And my kind of people. There is great spirit here. Especially in the Gaeltacht. That’s the good thing about elections. This blog gets to meet all kinds of inspiring people in the course of my work. But during an election and the compressed days of hyper activity that this involves, good and wonderful people seem to pop up at every turn of the road.

Quiet people and sometimes not so quiet people, working away within their communities giving leadership and setting an example to the rest of us. It’s the same all over Ireland. And everywhere else in the world. Citizens always rise to the challenges created by bad systems, bad governments and bad leaders. And that is why the people will win out. Because the human spirit always aspires to greater things.

That is true here in the Donegal Gaeltacht as well as everywhere else. And it is not always a matter of big speeches or high flying rhetoric. That has its part. But within communities and particularly rural communities the indomitability of the human spirit is manifest in small ways.

In the hospitality of the people who invite us into their homes. In the communal spirit and the wisdom in these communities. In their democratic traditions and culture. In the commitment of small business people who provide jobs and services for their neighbours even in the midst of economic madness. In the spirit and energy of our young people.

Conor and Rónán McGarvey are young lads from Loch an Iúir here in the Gaeltacht. They are school boys. And they are also craftsmen and business partners. In a wooden shed behind the family home they are making wooden ink pens. Each pen is unique. They are created from many types of wood, including Yew, Ash, Elm, Walnut, Beech and Oak.

They presented me with one. A very fine pen indeed. Made from Bog Oak. And as informed readers may know Bog Oak is thousands of years old. They gave one to your man as well when we visited them in their workshop. The two of us are well pleased. Go raibh maith agaibh Conor s Rónán.

So if you are looking for a very unique Christmas present. If you want to support two young Gaels. Or if you just want a very good pen handcrafted in the north west of Ireland contact their on line shop at www.donegalpens.com or email info@donegalpens.com.
You won’t regret it.


Timothy Dougherty said...

Hello Gerry, Donegal my last vist to Donegal was in the best weather , a real joy. My historicl home land, the people have had hard times and they are a good people. The economy of County Donegal has been driven by the traditional rural past. As jobs in a depressed economy are now far and in between,good to see more innovation ,good sound experimentation and creation process. The act of starting something, the conception, design and pure invention process need to be at work in the new Ireland. Depressed Irish people are living in a depressed economy. the New Guardians of the Irish future must contributes positively to the view ahead for Irish society.

James and Linda said...

Wow. Nice pens! I'm always looking for handcrafted items to give at Christmas instead of mass-produced stuff, and am enjoying perusing their online shop. I'll also pass the word along to friends looking to help the Irish economy by supporting local businesses.