Ireland affected me deeply when I lived in the rural village of Inverin, in the western region of Connemara, yet it took a few months before I allowed myself to let go of my American frame of reference. Once I did, there was such a shift in my being that a local at the grocery store (or the shops, as they call it there) did a double take upon seeing my tranquil face and commented, “Claire, you look more Irish!” I knew just what she implied. I could already feel a newly acquired demeanor settle upon me, one that relaxed me physically and slipped me into a present tense mind frame where a type of willing acceptance of events replaced my harried propensity to manipulate my way through life.
Ireland will do this to a person quickly, for it is an island with its own peculiar consciousness spawned from its cloistered history and its humble dependence upon the vagaries of the weather. I see it as an overarching attitude of rightful thinking, something which suggests there’s no point in becoming too worked up over much of anything, for change will rule the day of the best laid plans, and in the meantime, we’re all in it together, safe under the watchful eyes of God. And the Irish are a reverential people. And it’s not just God they revere. They pretty much hold all things sacred: the land, Irish history, each other. And because they comport themselves this way, they don't take themselves too seriously, which is exactly why they have the reputation of being the friendliest lot on earth.
Let me now digress by confessing I over use the expression, “I can’t tell you how much I love” this or that. The fact is, I can tell you, and I did when it comes to the subject of Ireland.
I wrote many of my thoughts and impressions of Ireland in my novel “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” by working them into the story of a twenty five year old American named Hailey Crossan, who leaves the record business and moves to rural Ireland, where she meets an Irish musician who won’t come closer not completely go away. The story depicts the ambiguity of attraction, with all its hopes, excitement, doubt and often times, confusion.
Since Hailey is a stranger in a beautiful, but strange land, she is uncertain of Ireland’s cultural nuances, and begins to think her lack of understanding might be behind the perplexing dynamic of her budding romance with Liam Hennessey. But thankfully, she is surrounded by a handful of vibrant Irish characters who help her decipher the codes of attraction, as well as the mixed messages Liam displays, as she comes to feel at home in a land that has more soul than any place she ever imagined.
Dancing to an Irish Reel
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Date of Publication: March 3, 2015
Number of pages: 220
Word Count: 63,000
Cover Artist: Elaina Lee for the Muse Designs
Twenty five year old Hailey Crossan takes a trip to Ireland during a sabbatical from her job in the LA record business. While there, she’s offered a job too good to turn down, so she stays.
Although Hailey works in Galway, she lives in the countryside of Connemara, a rural area famous for its Irish traditional music. When Hailey meets local musician, Liam Hennessey, a confusing relationship begins, which Hailey thinks is the result of differing cultures, for Liam is married to the music, and so unbalanced at the prospect of love, he won't come closer nor completely go away.
And so begins the dance of attraction that Hailey struggles to decipher. Thankfully, a handful of vibrant local friends come to her aid, and Hailey learns to love a land and its people, both with more charm than she ever imagined.
Claire Fullerton is the author of Paranormal Mystery, A Portal in Time. She is an award winning essayist, a contributor to numerous magazines (including “Southern Writers Magazine) a former newspaper columnist and a four time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series.
She hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA where she is working on her third novel.