Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Where Irish Souls Watch Over Us

"Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky"

On Sunday, there was intercessory prayer for Lawrence Auster, who writes at the View From the Right.

I participated in this intercessory prayer.

It was difficult to find a quiet place in the place I am currently residing. Instead, I went to a nearby Irish pub (yes, I did go there!), Failte's, to participate by saying my prayer for Larry's health, and to give a toast to his health.

It was late on a Sunday evening, so the "pub" which is also a restaurant, was quiet and almost empty.

I went there for a number of reasons:

The first time I met Larry was in 2009, when I went to New York to participate in an event for the Danish Cartoonist Lars Westergaard. I went with a group from Canada called the International Free Press Society. Larry knew about my trip to New York, and he and I met separately. He gave me a spot to meet in the middle of Manhattan. He had never met me before, but I had my blog up, with my photo, for a couple of years by then. He politely came up to me and asked "are you Kidist?" rather than make a rude assumption. We walked for many blocks up Fifth Avenue, with Larry pointing out various New York landmarks and spots. At some point, we went inside to get some refreshments. I ordered a diet coke, and Larry talked about ordering a whisky. But he was too polite to do so, and we sat drinking diet cokes together.

Recently, I was in New York to attend a Christmas dinner for readers of View From the Right readers. Many of his friends were there. Later that week, I met up with Larry for dinner. I ordered a red wine, and he decided on a whisky. I am not versed with the types of whiskies, but he relished the taste (and the smell) of the drink.

The restaurant where we had this meal is called Toast. My toast is also in memory of this evening.

On the same trip in New York, while on the subway or on the bus going from one place to another, Larry would recite poetry from memory by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. He said reciting these poems (aloud or silently) helped him to completely absorb his attention and put him in a calm state (it is true that Yeats is a difficult poet, and requires a high level of concentration). I had read over the years many poems he posted by Yeats, and grew to know, and somewhat understand, these poems.

Finally, the group dinner held for VFR readers was in an Irish pub/restaurant in mid-town Manhattan, Kennedy's (the link is to the photos I took of the restaurant's interior, in the "Library" where we had the dinner). This was the third time this group had met in this restaurant, and I was there for two of those dinners.

At Failte's, which apparently means "Welcome" in Gaelic, I ordered an Irish Coffee, which has whisky in it, so I thought this would be one way to remember Larry by, and "toast" him for renewed health.

At the same time, I recited periodically the short prayer that Kristor had suggested to us:
O Lord, I pray [that you] bless, keep and heal [your] servant, Lawrence. Amen.
I had been in Failte's before, and it is an oasis in an otherwise barren and ugly "suburbia" of Mississauga. This "city" is an odd mixture of quickly built high rises in the "city center," large areas with bland town houses, and a small section which apparently houses some of the most affluent of Ontario, with beautiful, old homes next to recently built mansions.

The high rises in the "city center" and the bare-bones town houses are a quick fix to the increased immigrant population that arrived there within the last ten years or so. Many of the high rises are quickly and poorly constructed, and the town houses, even if they look somewhat attractive, are also poorly built, with bad ventilation, thin walls, and tiny "gardens." Mississauga has the highest concentration of newly arrived immigrants in Ontario, and possibly also in Canada. I have never seen so many hijabed Muslim women, Chinese speaking in various Chinese languages, and Indians who understand little English. All speak heavily accented English, and their children seem to have developed some kind of idiom depending on their origin (India, China, the Middle East, etc.).

A long highway cuts through this "city center." Somehow, Failte managed to keep its beauty in this desert, and stands in an island surrounded by these high rises and noisy high way. It is right across from Square One, "the biggest mall in Canada" as one shop assistant told me, and has a giant parking lot as its back yard.

My first visit to Failte's a few weeks ago left me so surprised that I returned a couple of times just to take photos. The waitresses and barmen were obliging, and I assured them that the photos weren't for commercial purposes, but for my simple blog. Then, I would sit and have a cup of coffee, a wine special, or one of the Irish beers. Harp Lager is becoming a favorite. Yesterday was the first time I had the Irish Coffee, topped with a mountain of whipped cream.

The restaurant is divided into various rooms, where patrons can get a feel of Ireland, I'm sure. The manager told me that the original owner traveled back and forth to Ireland, bringing back objects and material to set up the restaurant. The design was based on an "original Irish pub."

I sit in the "Victorian Parlour," which sounds pretty English to me, but I suppose Ireland went through a "Victorian" period as well. What is interesting about this space is the turn of the twentieth century photographs on the walls of stern men. Perhaps they are ancestors of Yeats. Other sections of the restaurant include a grocery store, a music room with an upright piano, a small coffee area with hard, wooden chairs and tables, a couple of bar areas with stools, and toilet signs for "Mna" and "Fir," with the appropriate figures to avoid embarrassments. Irish humor is evident with large clock that shows "Gaelic time" according to the sign above it.

Meehan, who may have been a one-time owner

The Victorian Parlour

Harp Lager

Stained Glass Divider

Old Irish Whisky

Glass Carving

Ceiling Mural

"Cead Mile Failte"
Inscription above the main entrance to Failte's which means:
"A Hundred Thousand Welcomes"

From Failte's website

Here is a poem by Yeats which Larry recently posted at his site:


THE TREES are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.

The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

This is the illustration he posted at the end of the poem, in his entry "Update":

[All photos by KPA, unless mentioned otherwise]