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Glocca Morra

Glocca Morra



In the spring of 1948 the youth fellowship of my home church went to a musical on Broadway.  We left the theatre that afternoon singing the show’s tunes.  Several have stayed in my head for the next sixty years, popping out now and then, often for no reason at all, but sometimes prompted by a scene or event in my travels here on my way to the next eternity.   The musical was Finian’s Rainbow.  The song most frequently popping out is, you guessed it, “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?”:

How are things in Glocca Morra?

Is that little brook still leaping there?

Does it still run down to Donny cove?

Through Killybegs, Kilkerry and Kildare?

How are things in Glocca Morra?

Is that willow tree still weeping there?

Does that lassie with the twinklin’ eye

Come smilin’ by

And does she walk away

Sad and dreamy there not to see me there?

So I ask each weepin’ willow

And each brook along the way,

And each lass that comes a-smilin’


How are things in Glocca Morra

This fine day?


Let me tell you without a smidgeon of blarney, things are lovely (to be said the Irish way, “looovely”) in Glocca Morra.


How do I know?  Well, friends, I just spent a week there with nine lads and lassies, there in the middle of the Ring of Kerry, on an island in Caragh Lake, with a postal address of Glenbeigh, a short day’s hike from Dingle Bay and Dunloe Gap, in view of the Macgillycuddy Reeks.


Glocca Morra, in reality no less than on Broadway, is a region of the mind, where holidays are to be spent, and where the sun, when it doesn’t shine, seems to.  Barbara and I have our Glocca Morra, not on the Emerald Island, in another verdant place, the Green Mountains.  The rainbows are the same as Kerry.  Horses in the meadow favor the same carrots.  The hills like those above Caragh beckon, “Climb me.”  Barbara does, Bob doesn’t.  The flowering thyme outside our cabin window matches the heather along the roadside in Glenbeigh.  Our little brook leaps and our willows weep this side of the Atlantic like on the other side.




Some Glocca Morras are grander than others.  See for yourself one of the grandest of them all, in the photos accompanying this text.  This Glocca Morra belongs to our son-in-law and our daughter, Brian and Gwen Mahoney.  They purchased the property, three acres and two houses, from a German family.  The two cottages came entirely furnished, from spoons to chandeliers.  Brian, who has a fine eye for beautiful things (no wonder he married Gwen), has personally supervised the renovation of the cottages, removing unwanted furnishings, and supplying a container full of new items including beds and bedding, paintings and lamps. 


Ten of us – five Mahoneys, two Howards, and three Carnes – occupied the two houses.  The five boys did what teenage boys do: bantered endlessly with each other about music, girls, and video games; watched the Olympics each night on German TV; and ate a steady diet of hamburgers and French fries.  Some of these activities and antics can be seen in the photos.


Brian and Gwen drove us everywhere in Land Rovers, to the beach, over the mountains, to the pubs, through the cities, to the supermarket, and even to church.  A review of this latter excursion will soon be available in another posting on this website.

I saw no leprechauns, no rainbows, no pot of gold, and felt no ghostly brush with the “old people” who inhabit the whitethorn thickets.  But I did fall in love with Donegal tweed and have vowed to myself to find the right one at the right price here or there, to put an Irish accent on my wardrobe.  Keep on the look out for Bobby O’Howard.


Glocca Morra lives, and its looovely.








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