I remember years ago reading a story written by the Great Island Author, Liam O Flaherty in which he described the feelings of a newly wedded young man who was going to dig his potatoe ridges for the first time as a married man.

He described a really beautiful and urgent picture of this young man in the field desperately wanting to show his young bride that she had chosen a man who would always provide for her and whatever family came along , he knew in ways that this was a rite of passage in his village and he desperately wanted to show his neighbours that he was strong enough and resourceful enough to fulfil his sacred duty in looking after his care.

O Flaherty wonderfully captured the conflicting yet motivational feelings of burning ambition along side terror and self doubt.

Very understandable and certainly a human range of emotions that I can most definitely identify with.

In our previous society, the opportunity for a man to work through the fears and doubts and to challenge himself physically and thus provide for his care was a powerful asset in that it was a very tender yet strong act of love and it meant that the very qualities that took the man through that barrier were used for what nature intended them for, and that because they were not repressed or misguided , the man, and his family could reap the honest rewards.

It’s harder , today for men to find and fulfil that primal challenge but I believe it’s still highly important, as I have observed and experienced, that such men generally are not driven by ego, self promotion or aggression.

Sometimes when a man allows himself to become or to feel immasculated, he can very often be badly behaved and not just let himself and his family down but his gender too.

I was incredibly blessed in that as a child, along with my father, my role models were men who faced life and death at sea and were consequently very much at peace with themselves.

I was attracted by this and to be honest, I just tried to copy it.

I owe these brave Island Men a big thank you, for showing me the way.