Home, Turnips, Wild Mountain Thyme

I’m back from my French travels. And I would be bitter-er at having to leave the sun, if it wasn’t full on Spooky Season in Dublin. I am, after all, a woman of my time, and I can’t resist Halloween – our pagan High Holiday. Ah, the smell of smoke on the wind, the shower of conkers, and the siege of the city by young fellas with fireworks.*

Carving pumpkins, while a very wholesome tradition in its own right, is not how the Old Time Irish Crones celebrated the thinning of the veil at Halloween. We carved turnips (I count myself amongst the OTIC’s) which is *far harder* to do, on account of the turnips tough, woody consistency, but the results are much more terrifying. Turnips also shrivel and rot more quickly than their North American cousins, which gives you twice as much spook for your buck…

As befits the holiday season, I searched for the scariest movie of the year to watch this 31 October, and landed on John Patrick Shanley’s Wild Mountain Thyme. A film so monstrously strange, so full of non-sequiturs, so wildly inaccurate in its portrayal of Ireland in the 50’s, 80’s and 2020’s (WMT can’t make its mind up when it is set, and gets all timelines wrong simultaneously, like a three-phase current of error) and so ABSOLUTELY BANANAS IN IT’S PLOTTING that I ran the full gamut of emotion watching it.

It inspired hatred, sorrow, nausea, laughter (of the ‘at’, not ‘with’, kind) and a strong urge to engage in narrative anarchy myself. There were moments of humour and joy within this lumpen creation, but as soon as such moments appeared there was a faint sucking sound, and the film sank back into the mire of confusion and hate-crime from whence it sprung, and to which it will always returns. If you’re not going to watch it, click on this link for the main attraction of this film, the famous and genre-defying plot twist (an over-generous phrase, perhaps, as it pre-supposes the existence of plot).

I actually think this cheesy, unsettling, absurd, sexist calamity of an Irish-American, bot-generated fever-dream will become a cult classic in the Irish household, in times to come. Because, despite everything I’ve said, I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever seen anything like it. If you want a spooky trip, call the friends over, rack up the cocktails, and get into the madness.

Samhain Shona, a chairde!

Next stop? London, baby!

S x

*Firework season in Rialto starts in late August, no joke. From Lúnasa to Samhain. The real question is, who is cross-border-smuggling all this illegal spectacle?

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