Back in 1991, when my daughter was eight and my son eleven, my family got to go to Ireland. Since it was my children’s first trip there, I wanted it to be special. I wanted to stay in special places. After much research(half the fun of travel for me), I stumbled across a castle in Ireland that had a B&B. Called Castle Matrix, it was about twenty miles south of Shannon, and had been renovated from a 15th century tower castle by a mad Renaissance man named Sean O’Driscoll. We were so lucky on that trip. Sean was still alive, and he spent our trip enchanting us with tales of his land, which had originally been a sacred site to the goddess Matres, and later the site where the first potato was planted in Ireland. He”d restored the castle to amazing condition, and collected not only an astounding library, but incredible artifacts(I held one of Napoleon’s death masks in my hand). We sat at his table in the old hall–with no electricity–until three in the morning talking about how one of the secrets to the true Holy Grail was hidden in the walls by the old Templars. Yes, that holy Grail. I heard the theory behind DaVinci Code years before the book hit.
Anyway, at the time of our first visit, Sean had a three year old son named Kieran my childen immediately named “the fairy child.” It was easy to see why. He was small, delicate, with flaming red hair, and ears that had just a bit of a tip to them. Most amazing, he had the oldest, wisest dark eyes that were just a bit slanted. It was as if he’d seen it all before and was vastly amused. My kids adored him. I adored him. In the years since, I’ve been able to visit my friend Liz, Kieran’s mother and Sean’s widow when I’ve been in Ireland(sadly, she can no longer manage a B&B, but if you’re near the Castle, see if you can get a tour). The second time I visited, after a lapse of about five years, I admitted to my friends and authors Karyn Witmer and Kimberly Cates, who went with me, that I couldn’t wait to see how Kieran had grown. And then we got there, and I swear to you on my mother’s grave, that he hadn’t. Not a bit. Oh, he was taller, but he looked not at all older, except for those amazing quiet, watching eyes of his. He’d developed a very sly sense of humor and a passion for basketball. But he was still the fairy child.
I’ve been since, to see him gain even more height, but otherwise stay the same fairy child. Liz spent all her time preserving the castle that was Sean’s gift and Kieran’s inheritance. It’s been viciously difficult. But Kieran was her life.
I went back to Ireland this May, after not seeing Liz or Kieran for about three years. As usual, I called beforehand. The phone was disconnected. I tried the email. No. Then I just googled the castle. And that was when I found out that my fairy child, that fey, wise, charming child of Ireland had died the year before of ravaging leukemia. He was eighteen. I was distraught. I called my friends and my children who had known him, and they couldn’t believe it either.
Actually, I could. I believe in reincarnation, because as a nurse I’ve seen that the children who don’t remain with us all, to a child, have the oldest, wisest eyes I’ve ever seen. I truly believe that they’ve learned the lessons we were sent here for, and are simply finished with their journey. We weren’t meant to have Kieran long. But I’m still grieving that bright spirit. So I asked Liz’s permission, and then I inserted Kieran into the Daughters of Myth series. This way, Kieran has just returned to the land of faery, from which I knew he’d come to brighten all our lives. And I think, when I think of him, of the brilliant WB Yeats poem The Stolen Child
Come away, o human child,
To the water and the wild,
With a faery hand in hand,
for the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
eileenkathleen, the evil twins