Hireth

HIRETH

Definition of ‘hireth’ in English:
longing / loneliness / nostalgia / yearning
NOUN
Plural: hirethow
Origins: Cornwall
M: ‘hirɛθ
L: ‘hirɐθ
‘She has been hireth’

“Every traveller has a home of their own and they learn to appreciate it the more from their wandering” –– Charles Dickens

Introduction

On a chilly December day in 1854, Charles Dickens steps up to a podium at the esteemed City of London Tavern in Bishopgate to give a speech on the merits of travel. The occasion is an anniversary dinner commemorating the foundation of the Royal Commercial Travellers’ Schools, “a school which would house, feed, clothe and educate the necessitous children of brethren ‘on the road’ who met untimely death or became unable to earn their livelihood.” The speech begins thus:

“I think it may be assumed that most of us here present know something about travelling. I do not mean in distant regions or foreign countries, although I dare say some of us have had experience in that way, but at home, and within the limits of the United Kingdom.”

In his speech, Dickens highlights the notion of home travel; of being tourists in our own backyards, as it were.

“Every traveller has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering,” Dickens says. “He may have his experiences of cheerful and exciting pleasures abroad; but home is the best, after all, and its pleasures are the most heartily and enduringly prized.”

This is how Hireth begins also.

With Hireth, we wish to strive for a greater understanding and exploration of the true essence of home, homecoming and homesickness after living abroad for a number of years.

“I think it may be assumed that most of us here present know something about travelling. I do not mean in distant regions or foreign countries, although I dare say some of us have had experience in that way, but at home, and within the limits of the United Kingdom.”

There is a word in the Celtic languages – ‘hireth in Cornish; ‘hiraeth’ in Welsh – which encapsulates sadness and nostalgia related to the place one calls home; an inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what.

It captures how we feel having been so far from home for so long and the feeling of being stretched thin over space; of being flung out. There is no way of describing it easily, we find, and ‘hireth’ is as good a way as any to start. Maybe glimpses through the lens of a camera and images conjured in the body of metaphors will be the only way we can get just halfway to understanding the twinge of the stomach we feel yearning for home. And even then, surely only our past and consequent versions of home stored in fading memories are ever conjured.

“Every traveller has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering,” Dickens says. “He may have his experiences of cheerful and exciting pleasures abroad; but home is the best, after all, and its pleasures are the most heartily and enduringly prized.”

An aesthetically-driven travel blog, Hireth aims to get back to, and find the true essence of, the ancient land of the British Isles. It will capture the viscerality of the seasons; the textures of ancient landscapes; the brightness of ancient hills when they are doused in late-afternoon Autumn sun.

Let’s never again take this soil for granted; let’s explore in beauty together.

–– Rosie Pentreath, December 2017.

Cot Valley, Cornwall. Summer 2013 | © Rosie Pentreath

Cape Cornwall. Winter 2016 | © Rosie Pentreath

Soundtrack to this post: ‘Stop Your Tears’ by Aldous Harding

Rosie Pentreath

I am a writer, digital producer and musician, most often found travelling to some far flung place or other to take photographs on a 1970s Pentax SLR camera. I have contributed to Reader's Digest, Grazia, Classic FM, BBC Music Magazine, Homes & Antiques, Music Feeds, The Fashion Spot and other arts and lifestyle publications.

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