I would like to thank Myles Courtney for passing this along to me for Christmas. I shared it with my facebook followers yesterday so this is just for those blog followers who are not on social media to enjoy. Wishing you a happy Christmas. Andrew
It was Christmas Eve 1840, when I left my hospitable lodging in Rosbercon & wandered down to the quayside of that historic village. A full moon shone like a golden orb, of the richest hues, among the twinkling stars in a cloudless sky, casting its pale light down on the river Barrow. The winter tide was full in & not a ripple appeared on the surface; the calm of the night was a joy to behold. Instead of the savage river that so often had claimed innocent victims, including the much lamented James Freyne of Ballyreddy, it is now one big placid bowl. The harbour was full of ships from many nations, some bringing in cargo & others bringing away the local produce to far off lands.
All sizes of boats lay at anchor in what can only be described as a sylvan scene, something that the artist could do justice to with his brush & canvas. My attention was drawn to a sailing ship anchored near the Rosbercon shore. She was well lit up, with many lanterns casting a cheerful glow onto the still waters of the lake-like river. Suddenly from up on deck, the silence of the night was broken by the sound of a powerful tenor voice. The words were hard to grasp, but the tune was easily recognisable; it was a song for the season that was in it- “O Silent Night”. The young Italian, he from a land so famous for its music & singers, gave a virtuoso performance that night, by the harbour wall. The rendition would have done credit to him on the stages of the music halls of Milan or Naples. Soon, all the crews of other ships joined in the singing; & although the languages were different, the joy & meaning of the carol remained intact.
O Solo Mio, you proud son of Italy, you made the Christmas Eve of 1840 something to be remembered & savoured by all who were privileged to hear you.
Author: Unknown: Source: A Historical Century, New Ross Historical Society… Via Myles Courtney of New Ross Street Focus