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Food and Drink

An Féar Gorta [Terence Winch]

An fear gorta sample 2


An Féar Gorta


If I ever go back home again, we will drive

through the countryside just as it is getting dark.

We will gather together in the town’s only hotel,

eating, and telling jokes at each other’s expense.


My heart beats steady there, my spirit alive

to every gesture, every glance, the fire and spark

we find in those we love. Those to whom we tell

our dark secrets along with our idiotic nonsense.


Whatever route I take, I always seem to get lost.

I have a tendency to choose the wrong road

to the wrong place. I wind up confused and stranded

wondering if I’ll ever make it home.


But I want that ticket back, no matter what the cost.

At An Féar Gorta I want that rhubarb tart a la mode.

I am even willing to stand in the rain, and be reprimanded

for the sorry, soggy state in which I’ve left this poem.


Monica  Mary  & TW  at An Fear Gorta  Ballyvaughan  Oct 2013  web

                                  at An Féar Gorta with cousins Monica (Guthrie) Donovan and Mary Guthrie, Oct. 2013


An Féar Gorta is one of my favorite eating establishments in the world. Located in Ballyvaughan, in County Clare, Ireland, where I have many beloved relations, it is a place, as the poem suggests, that I look forward to visiting again. 

I originally thought the term meant "the hungry man," as "fear" is “man” in Irish. But the fada (accent) confused me---instead of "fear," it's "féar," which means “grass.” So, the name translates to "The Hungry Grass," a term going back to the Famine. More information can be found here, here, and here.


An féar gorta  ballyvaughan  sept 2018 c                                      the garden at An Féar Gorta. Photo by T. Winch

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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