An Irish journey

For her latest poetry venture, Florence Chard Dacey spent some time in a small village in Ireland that became like home for her.

Chard Dacey of Cottonwood will be doing a reading “Between Worlds” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council’s arts center. The event includes music by Audrey Arner on guitar and vocals and Darwin Dyce on flute.

Chard Dacey has spent the last three summers in the village of Kilfenora, County Clare, Ireland, writing poetry about her time in the area. She had received a an individual artist career grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, with funds provided by the McKnight Foundation.

As part of her journeys to Ireland, Chard Dacey said she wanted to experiment in writing prose poems as well as poems about people. She’s working on a manuscript of the poetry she has written from her experience.

To prepare for her summers in Ireland, Chard Dacey studied Irish poetry and did some reading of Irish-American poetry.

“And what it’s like to be an Irish-American poet,” she said.

She spent nine weeks in Ireland in 2010. Chard Dacey said she had asked the taxi driver she acquired if there was a smaller town that was not on the coast and a place where she didn’t have to drive. That’s how she ended up in Kilfenora.

“It was a very good fit for me,” she said. “I did feel at home there.”

During that first year, Chard Dacey and her son also visited the County Kilkenny, where some of her ancestors are from.

Kilfenora is a small village, but a lot of tourists come to it, Chard Dacey said. There’s the Burren, which is 350 million years old, an old cathedral that has seven carved crosses, and it is also known for its traditional music.

The last time Chard Dacey was in Ireland before 2010 was back in 1965. She was in the Peace Corps and was coming back from Africa.

“I always wanted to go back,” she said. “To me, it felt really important and significant to do that. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful country. They love music.”

For the last two years, Chard Dacey has spent six weeks during the summer in Kilfenora.

One of the poems Chard Dacey wrote was based on the fact that people will say “God bless.”

“Playing off that idea with a lot of surprises,” she said.

She wrote a poem on the silence, one on cows and one on a woman who lived next door to her while in Ireland.

When you come from a small town, like Cottonwood, she said, there’s definitely similarities to Kilfenora.

“I miss them when I’m away,” Chard Dacey said.

Chard Dacey said she gave a reading in Kilfenora that went well.

“I wanted it to be a tribute and a thank you for the people,” she said.