National Geographic : 1955 Dec
scape 100 feet below. Too high a price, it seemed to me, even for "the gift of eloquence, the gift of gab, and the witches' charm," to quote Matt O'Shea, who has spent many a year at his post on Blarney Castle. My turn came and, with Matt's help, I leaned over backward to kiss the lipstick tinted masonry. Then I stood back to ad mire Matt's finesse as he took woman after woman in his arms and held her over back ward while she put her lips to the magic slab. "And sure, I've had more women in my arms than any man on earth!" he boasted. Fiddle Evokes Gaiety and Laughter From Cork we drove west to Bantry and then north through Killarney, Tralee, and Limerick, then around Galway Bay to a smat tering of cottages and quays that make up the village of Carraroe. Here, in the tiny Atlantic View Hotel, we were foreigners among Irish guests who spoke more Gaelic than Eng lish. One told us, through an interpreter, and with a twinkling eye, that he couldn't hear English. The dozen or fifteen guests sat around the table like a big Irish family. Pretty colleens named Sarah, Bridget, and Mary scurried about, bringing food from the kitchen and piping-hot tea from a kettle that simmered over glowing peat in the fireplace (page 743). The meal done, I spied a fiddle tucked away between the ceiling beams. The colleen who owned it shyly refused to display her talents, but the chap who couldn't hear English tuned it and began to play. Then followed an hour of spontaneity and laughter in the hotel's sunny dooryard. To the fiddle's lilting strains, Sarah and Bridget whirled dizzily through parts of the "Siege of Ennis" and other Irish dances. Hotel guests clapped hands to keep time for the dancers and sang songs of Ireland. That evening we warmed our feet by the fire and chatted with the proprietor of the Atlantic View, gray-haired Bartly Lydon. Before the turn of the century he had emi grated to the United States, to work for 15 years as a motorman on a Pittsburgh trolley line. "I went out Fifth Avenue to Forbes,"