Play recording: Road to America, The
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- Teideal (Title): Road to America, The.
- Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 855404.
- Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
- Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
- Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
- Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
- Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
- Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
- Catagóir (Category): story.
- Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
- Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Robin Hiteshew.
- Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 12/11/1981.
- Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Philadelphia, United States of America.
- Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): Oíche Cois Tine.
- Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
- Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.
Joe tells of hearing a politician promise that, if elected, he would take all the rocks out of Conamara and build a road to America. ‘Needless to say,’ says Joe, ‘he wasn’t elected – and the rocks are still there.’
Liam Mac Con Iomaire, in his biography Seosamh Ó hÉanaí: Nár fhágha mé bás choíche, reports that this suggestion was actually made by James Dillon, T.D., a Fine Gael member of Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliament. Referring to Mongan’s Hotel (now Tigh Mheaic) in Carna, he says (p. 92):
Chaitheadh polaiteoirí ó Chumann na nGaedheal, agus ó Fhine Gael ina dhiaidh sin, laethanta saoire ann, agus is ann a casadh a bhean ar James Dillon, an fear a mhol sa Dáil (tar éis saoire a chaitheamh i gCarna, b’fhéidir!) gur cheart bóthar a dhéanamh go Meiriceá lena bhfuil de chlocha i gConamara. Ba mhinic a dhéanadh Seosamh Ó hÉanaí tagairt dó sin i Meiriceá níos deireanaí, cé nach luadh sé ainm James Dillon leis, ach ‘a certain politician’.
[Politicians from Cumann na nGaedheal, and from Fine Gael after that, used to spend their holidays there, and that’s where James Dillon – the man who recommended in the Dáil (having spent his holidays in Carna, perhaps!) that it would be a good idea to build a road to America with all the rocks that are in Conamara – met his wife. Joe Heaney often referred to [Dillon’s remark] in the States later on, though he wouldn’t mention James Dillon by name, but rather ‘a certain politician’.]
Joe often referred to this story as part of his introduction to ‘The Rocks of Bawn.’ It may say something about the behaviour of politicians the world over that this anecdote represents an international tale-type, AT 1830.