When reading Away it is significant to note Mary's mental state. The only problem is at no point does Mary express her thoughts and feelings. I am going to present a monologue by Mary focusing on Ralthin Island, the landscape, and the Irish culture.
Father Quinn and Brain O'Malley came to help cure me from Away they called a disease. I did not want to talk to anyone. No one would understand. When I spoke with a twist of rhetorical tongue it was for me to remember the male sailor and the messages that came to me from the sea.
The Maid of the Fine Flowing Hair
The sun hath gone down in the sky,
The stars cease their heavenly way,
The swan on the lake hath no sway;
The cuckoo but adds to our care,
Who sings from his green, leafy throne,
How the maid of fine flowing hair
Left Eric in sadness to moan (by Edward Walsh)
Everyone thought I was sick and unable to think in my mind, but really no one gave me credit for my historical knowledge.
I know about Island Rathlin located off the North Coast of Ireland. Rathlin in Greek is Rikina which meant standing before Erin. The Irish name for Rathlin is Rechru, which was switched to Reachra because the translation was the place of many shipwrecks which represented the Island's purpose. Irish people lived on the Island for many years. The Irish are strong, and when the Vikings tried to raid the Island they were not successful. When I was a child some people tried to find the buried silver and bronze the Vikings have lost on the Island.
The fever of the mind knows the truth about Maria. There was a shipwreck off Rathlin Island in 1810, but the Maria was an image from the future. The day a man came ashore he told me about a steam ship that was to be built in 1902 in a place called America ( a cargo ship SS Santa Maria). The boat was an illusion, which represents survival because the boat to come next had all the people on the boat to live. When there was a wreckage and I have encountered with a sailor he told me the water was giving me a message. Therefore, with this information it is clear I must be named Maria. This may sound like rambling but I am not, the water tells me things.
A flowing tide, a flowing tide,
My secret love, my worldly store,
Floating my brave sailing boat!
The Boat by Samuel Ferguson 1834
After I got married and I was suddenly cured from what others called madness, I was able to learn about new places. Maria and the water still was a memory I did not let go off. Christopher Columbus was an explorer like my self and was aboard La Santa Maria in 1492. He had a journey from Spain across the Atlantic Crossing.
My husband, a teacher, taught me how to read and write. When my husband was disappointed about the hedge schools closing down and the fear of the Irish culture being lost I tried to encourage him to keep hope. When our son had no idea what the Irish symbols meant I did not dare speak up, but I knew. Three castles, a shamrock, and a hand were symbols on the family napkins. The three Irish castles represent the three caves King Robert the Bruce used in 1306 to hide when he was fighting for Scotland's freedom. Irish spread of the Catholic religion relates closely to the shamrock. This three leaf plant grows in Rathlin Island. The three leafs take the form of the father, son and the holy ghost. The number three is associated to the holy trinity.
With all that I knew, I was shocked Liam's father did not say anything. The shamrock also stands for luck because Celtic tradition believes in superstition. When looking at a hand on the napkins the right hand is a sign of the Celtic god Dagda and the left hand is the mother God Anu.
To me it is important to remember my culture. When remembering the legend and the language Gaelic Irish I think of Black Dan O'Reilly, Black Dan O'Reilly and folklore to explain Celtic artifacts is what I value most. The Black Dan family represents Celtic musical Ireland clan. Irish people should know Danny O'Reilly as the son of Mary Black. Mary and her siblings sang and wrote songs in Gaelic. Music is a natural talent Irish people obtain. The ability to dance and sing with the tradition of song strengthens the Irish culture.
Folklore also helps predict what will come in the future. I have a gift most people do not follow. The ability to look at poems and traditions of my time gains dominate understanding. The misrepresentation made about Irish Catholic creates a place where my own people do not understand me.
No one thought I knew, but the current potato disease is leading to famine, which will soon reach me and my family. The water tells me to do certain things, but I must try to stay sane for my family.