Uachtar Ard (Oughterard)

Uachtar Reoite-the Gaelic name for ice-cream

Delicious aren’t they? Inviting – for sharing. The symbol of sunny carefree days. Uachtar in Irish means the top and the name is also used for cream which is from the top of the milk.

So a place that calls itself not only Uachtar but also Ard which means high in Irish must surely be a great place. A nice place to live, where there is a community that thinks highly of itself – ‘where all the women are good looking, all the men are strong and all the children are above average’ to quote Garrison Keillor as he began his stories about small town life in St Paul Missouri on his weekly radio slot.

After the strangeness of landing in a very alien country , the excitement of knowing a place had been found for you to live – in the green Irish countryside – a bit chilly and damp in the winter but lush and more important than anything else – safe- the relief , the hope that an end to the travelling is in sight, an end to the anxiety for your children’s’ futures and a new beginning mapping itself out, for all this to be blotted out by hostility and rejection piled on the still recent, painful rejection by your own country the looking around again – what is to happen, will this happen again, when can the children sleep in their own beds is surely undeserved.

Be calm displaced ones. Not all Irish are self serving hoarders of their own bounty . Not every Irish person forgets his ancestors who were processed on Ellis Island with nothing but a cardboard suitcase in their hand. Those who intimidated and threatened the hotel owner to renege on his contract are the Iochtar or lowest in Irish society. They are insecure and dishonest, users of slippery arguments to elevate their low objections with the use of moral posturing against detention centres.

Your strength and tenacity has brought you this far. You will find a place and you will have warmth and the welcome you deserve. You will find a home and people who live up the Ireland of the Thousand Welcomes or Cead Mile Failte -You will find your Uachtar Ard.

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