I was in Ireland years ago, so what I remember is through a bit of a haze. However, since Ireland is damp so much of the time, a bit of memory mist seems appropriate. Sure a tourist can go to Ireland for golf and wonderful green scenery and glorious cliffs. I was drawn by the lure of its language. I’ve always been drawn to Irish writers. I remember at about age 17 reading James Joyce Ulysses, lost in the lovely lilt of mellifluous language before I could understand much of what the book was about. It took a college semester class on Joyce before I had any inkling what he saying. By then I had read Sean O’Casey, and Dylan Thomas and Yeats and most of the greats just for fun. And I had seen their plays and read about their lives and loved their works. Perhaps I was influenced by the time I lived in an Irish Catholic neighborhood?
But I don’t think so. I think I was drawn to the way their stories touched my soul. I loved the Irish genre and their particular way of expressing passion and intensity; pain and joy, always interweaving truth and then some – which may be tall tales, magic or not? Who Knows?
When I went to Ireland I was prepped to fall in love, and fall in love I did — with everything except the food (which is one reason I think strong Irish whisky is so plentiful and appreciated). It keeps out the chill and helps you forget that fish and chips and a few other staples are most pub’s and restaurant’s standard fare.
Dublin is a bustling cultured city and Ireland is the most technology accomplished European country. Forget the years of the potato famine. It is one of the few countries that has youth flocking home in droves. It’s high standard of living and low unemployment rate makes it a job seeker’s dream. Since it is easily accessible to the countries that once comprised the USSR, young people from all over the world make Ireland their first port of call.
But for me, Ireland’s greatest joy is its generous welcome mat, its easy pub life and its ever present music. Bono couldn’t have come from anywhere else. He had to be born Irish. Everyone is familiar with Irish legends, fairies, rainbows with pots of gold at their end, but only the Irish could have in their lore (be it truth or fiction) a character called a homunculus. Many may discourse about this creature’s true meaning. The version I like the best is that its sole purpose is to sit on your shoulder and only whisper good messages in your ear. Now, how can you dislike a country where one can believe in a creature like that?
Happy St. Patty’s Day,
Dr. Dorree Lynn
Previously Published in 2008