Honoring Elders – wisdom of old

Atlantic fisherman - weather man of old
Atlantic fisherman – weather man of old Tom O’Donoghue. This photo is on the wall of O’Loughlins whiskey bar in Ballyvaughan Co Clare.

I found myself in the midst of some climate change deniers on facebook today. I hate engaging in climate arguments – I find at this stage anyone in denial is so caught up in the propaganda that there’s no point. They just want to play ping pong with everything you say and dip into the “facts” the denial lobby concoct.

When taunted about facts and historical data I could easily have quoted some of the many reports freely available online. Instead I reverted back to family.

Before my grandfather died in ’96, having fished the Atlantic all of his life, he stated he hadn’t ever seen the tide rise as high. This is a man who could read the weather by the moon, tides and nature. A man whose life depended upon noticing nature. I trust his judgement more than any report or study done at that time. He knew what he was talking about without ever knowing “why”. Turns out climate change is the probable “why”.

As I sit listening to the howling wind and rain of yet another Orange warning by Met Eireann, looking at pictures of storm surges all over Irelands coastlines, I wonder what it will take to enlighten the obstinate.

Theresa O’Donohoe Jan 2nd 2014

A poem I wrote last year while pondering the massive risks this man took every day.


Hands, once strong, aged, wrinkled and drawn, Tokens of working the Atlantic so long

Many’s a night you left with dusk, Not knowing your fate in a rocky currach

Out past black head, the point, another cliff, The bay at your back, on out you drift

Rowing for miles out with the tide, Taking lobster pots and nets in your stride

Your boat a speck on the oceans expanse, Bobbing about, lured in the trance

Ruled by the moon, waxing and waning, You knew by it’s light how much ground you were gaining

You knew by the wind how the gale blew, You knew in a heartbeat could lose all your crew

You knew each night could be your last, Each throw of the net, your final cast

Theresa O’Donohoe April 2013

Published by Theresa OD

Change maker and mother of 5 living in the west of Ireland

2 thoughts on “Honoring Elders – wisdom of old

  1. My home is in County Donegal, but I travel the world and I see, everywhere, governments and local authorities paying lip-service to making adjustments in various practices in order to accommodate Climate Change and then doing the opposite, or nothing at all. What I see as positive is that a lot of individuals are doing things that are positive, like building eco-friendly houses…often without planning permission, because that is so restrictive and not, usually, at all climate friendly. One of the difficulties that is obstructive is how many people who work on local authorities…as councillors, or representatives, are actually involved in some way or another with some of the offending businesses or government practices. There is a basic hypocricy in how our governance is run, be it national, or local. It’s high time HONESTY and true REPRESENTATION took the place of the pathetic mockery of it we are putting up with at the moment.

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