The Well Drawing Mother of a Bishop!

“May you be the mother of a bishop!”
An Irish “blessing”, depending on the context of the utterer

Lough Sillian - near Shercock in Cavan
Lough Sillian – near Shercock in Cavan

At the well she stooped for water,
From her forehead she brushed her hair,
On drawing up the bucket full,
She noticed strangers standing there,
They looked old, odd and tired,
Something was odd and wrong,
Passing she bade them the time of day,
Querying were they waiting long?
The answer was as strange as the strangers looked
“We are waiting a long long time now,
This piqued her curiosity to wonder
As to why they were there and how
She passed them and did not see them,
The story she’d often tell,
Of the men with whom she spoke,
Drawing water from the well.
As is the custom she queried
Would they like to go to her home for tea,
The answer rooted her to the spot,
Startled, listening stood she…
“We cannot leave this spot one said,
Till your son a bishop is ordained”
This rose her eyebrows as she was but not long married
And so far childless remained!
We are but poor, how could we pay
A child as clergy to educate.
We are but not long married
She to the strangers did relate.
She looked into their faces,
Saw they were solemn, but as to why
She didn’t know, bid them farewell
And homeward she did fly.

The years passed, children were born,
At least one of whom was a son,
He joined the priesthood in Canada,
As prophesised be became one
O the bishops on that side of the world
As the strangers did foretell
To his then childless mother who drew water
At the Lough Sillian shoreside well!
Why was for them that punishment given?
Was it but a peasants tale?
We wonder yet ask no questions
For the truth often would make the listener pale!!!


Irish Identity

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