“One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen.”  ~~ John O'Donohue

Hi all,

It's been a week...  Last Saturday, one of my dogs (Leo) went on an unauthorized field trip.  Thankfully, he was only really missing for 2-3 hours and I didn't have to spend a sleepless night worrying.  Still... between the search and bailing him out of doggy jail the next day, I didn't start the week very well-rested.  A series of dramas unrelated to Leo followed and, while all's quite well now, I remain a bit tired and mentally muddled.  Which is really too bad because I enjoy the St. Patrick's Day newsletters and would have liked to have done a lot more for today.  But, instead, it'll be another trope-tastic newsletter. 

Being half-Irish, I've always loved Celtic music and the lore of Ireland.  While these tropes may not all be exactly Ireland-related, I think they tie in well with something of the spirit of the Emerald Isle.

Enjoy and I hope you had a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day!

God bless,

Irish and Such Tropes

- I'm guilty of some of this...  The Dyeland stories are complicated, though, in that the only long-standing Irish character isn't really Irish at all (Monica), most are actually Irish-Americans and may have never even been to Ireland, and while the initial wave of immigration into Asteriana/Dyeland were Irish folks, it would be difficult to trace anything they do/say to pure Irish influence.  "Origins" is partly set in Ireland but I did take care to nearly evenly divide the cast of characters between Protestants and Catholics, domestic abuse is taken very seriously, no one brawls, and there's not a leprechaun in sight.  On the flip side, I did use "ya," "ye," "aye," and me-for-my quite freely.

The Irish Diaspora- While not a trope, as the description above shows, Dyeland is peppered with members of the Irish Diaspora.  The stories even take it a step further beyond the actual Diaspora which has folks of Irish descent all over the Earth.  In Dyeland, a bunch of Irish folk settled Asteriana/Dyeland and a few of their descendants remain there.  It's safe to assume some landed in El-Chanan, too.  And then there are the Irish-Americans who include JenniAnn, Kemara, Sean, their kids, Fr. Mike, Liam, Ivy, possibly Mick and more.  Finally, there's Isolde and Marco who are truly Irish but have had to move around quite a bit to keep themselves safe.

Celtic Mythology- Bits creep into Dyeland stories but moreso in the alternative stories I considered.  At one point, I thought of explaining Vincent's condition by saying he was descended from the Tuatha Dé Danann.  (No wonder he thrived living underground, huh?)  While I decided to keep him Irish, I ended up nixing the Irish deities element.

The Fair Folk- This bit of Irish lore was considered as part of JenniAnn's backstory.  For a brief space of time, I really liked the idea of Andrew getting his own shocking revelation... that JenniAnn was actually an ancient fairy who had first glimpsed him back in pre-history and followed and fawned over him ever since.  Beyond the obvious stalker issue, I'm glad I didn't go with this because wow...  What a whole lot of deceit!

One True Love- Or in Dyeland-speake: anam caras.  The concept was brought to my attention by the book Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O'Donohue.  Anam cara literally means "soul friend."  It may be a romantic and sexual relationship (i.e. Catherine and Vincent), romantic but not sexual (like Andrew/JenniAnn or Monica/Arthur), familial (Joshua and everyone who consents), or one of several other permutations.  It doesn't even need to be one-on-one (as evidenced by Clay-Kylie-Adam).  Regardless of the make-up of the relationship, the members are exceptionally close, would do anything for each other, and know each other at a very deep level.

With This Ring
- Claddaghs adorn the fingers of a number of Dyeland characters.  JenniAnn not only wears a claddagh on her ring finger... she also has a tattoo of one... with Andrew's name on it.  Kemara and Sean used claddaghs for their rings.  Joshua gives Kemara a box carved with claddaghs among other symbols.  Kemara bought Violeta one as a thank you gift.  JenniAnn and Kemara have even been known to twirl their claddagh rings nervously as described in the trope description.  Another Celtic symbol, the triskele, helped Monica reunite with Andrew.

Let's Have A Cèilidh/Céilí- And so they did!  Céilís are featured in "The Carpenter"/"May the Road Rise to Meet You," "Glad Tidings, Part 2" and likely others.  My folder search has some issues with the accents!

Our Vampires are Different- At this point, everyone's vampires are different as Hollywood, authors, etc. try to make money on old themes while still having some original flare.  The vampires in the Dyeland stories are different in that they lead fairly normal lives and desire to return to their humanity (which most of them have by now).  The reason I'm putting this in an Irish-themed list is because when Isolde turned into a vampire, Marco at first compared her to the Dearg-Due, the Irish vampiress.  While I'm sure there are variants of the legend, the one I first heard featured a kind, pious young woman who was married to a cruel, abusive man.  He tortured her until she died (or killed herself).  All that pain had twisted her into a ruthless, wandering spirit who hunts for victims, usually men, and drains their blood.  Personally, I like to think it was all dreamed up by someone who wanted to scare abusive husbands into shaping up.  In any case, Marco soon realized it wasn't an apt comparison and, far from vengeance-killing, Isolde busied herself with prayers.  So... her story is kind of like the Dearg-Due in reverse: get turned by a cruel man, become even more pious than before, marry a kind man, and then hunt abusive people but within the bounds of the legal system.

Patron Saint- I think it would be safe to assume that Kemara and Sean have at least something of an affinity for St. Patrick since they were married on his feast day.  He likely has special significance for JenniAnn, as well, since she first met Andrew on March 17, 2000.  But, beyond Patrick, other saints are popular among the Dyelanders.  Of course, there are the ones they've met: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, St. Nicholas, and Mary, Mother of God.  There are also saints who are patrons of places important to the Friends: St. Genesius, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Vincent.  And then there are those who, while not officially recognized, are made saints by their people: St. Reuel and St. Isolde, as examples.  JenniAnn's middle name comes from St. Dwynwen.  Isolde and Marco have a slew of saints who they feel a connection with including St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Castulus of Rome, St. Irene, and St. Valentine.  When Eilish came to Dyeland, she brought the celebration of St. Martin's Day with her.  It would be reasonable to assume that their annual productions of Jesus Christ Superstar have made the Friends feel closer to the Apostles, St. Joseph of Arimathea, St. Nicodemus, St. Veronica, and St. Simon the Cyrene.  They may or may not recognize Claudia Procula aka Mrs. Pilate as a saint. 

Four-Leaf Clover- The Dyelanders and Friends aren't much on luck but that doesn't mean they don't have an affinity for the shamrock.  Dyeland has clover which reminds Isolde of her homeland.  In "A Stor Mo Chroi," Arthur gives Monica some potted clover when their trip to the Irish festival is canceled.  In "The Truth," it's revealed that Joshua gave Monica a stone shamrock following her temptation.

The Prince's Dance

And now, because I need a nap, I'll leave you with a scan of a story I wrote years ago under the guise of Dyeland's storyteller: Lewellyn.  It was inspired by Andrew, obviously, but also by a real-life visit from a seanchaí when I was in high school.  The scan from Andrew's scrapbook isn't too clear but you can also read it here.

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye who, by inspiring me via Andrew, helped me to learn about so many different things in the name of Dyeland stories... including Irish stuff!

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(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  They are not being used to seek profit.)

Background graphic by Aon Celtic Art at www.aon-celtic.com.