Sunday, June 25, 2017

Who are the Irish?

Ireland is not just leprechauns and green beer. After visiting both Derry and Dublin, I have come to find out about he Irish culture. Meeting and interacting with the infamous, hospitable Irish was really what I experienced in my time in the country.

Dublin is the capital of Ireland and I could tel why that is. It is full of vibrant and lively culture with people who love to interact with tourists. One way I experienced this was when we explored the city of Dublin and learned about the tough history from a charismatic Irishman, Dr. Frank Cullen. He explained to us how the Vikings first took over Ireland, specifically Dublin and was called the "black pool". In Gaelic, black pool is translated to "duvh lin", which is now known as "Dublin".

Temple Bar is also a location we strolled through during our history lesson, which is a major tourist attraction. It is filled with pubs, restaurants, shops, and more that give off the Irish culture. The pubs were streaming with traditional Irish music and if you were lucky, even Irish dancing.
Temple Bar

Visiting Dublin lit a lightbulb in my head because I truly understand the Irish identity. In Robert Bell's "Document B", he discusses the characteristics of the Irish by stating, "...every man's door was open to a neighbor or a stranger" (72) and "...and if he could play on any instrument of music, or tell tales of old times calculated to excite the admiration of his hearers, the inhabitants of every neighboring cottage vied with each other for the honor of entertaining him as a guest" (73). I would agree with Bell because I have experiences this first hand.

Meeting Irishmen who were happy to help with directions or happy to talk to us Americans, treating us like we were friends. Also, watching music players entertain others at pubs or on the streets just for the fun of it, was what I saw in Ireland.

In Derry, we visited the famous Giant's Causeway. We first learned about this in William Carleton's, "A Legend of Knockmany". It was beyond beautiful and unique to be able to tour this location. Also, having the opportunity to visit a place we once read about in class was fascinating as well.
Giant's Causeway

During the lectured we had we learned about, "The Troubles" Derry faced. The one that stood out to me most was Bloody Sunday. It was a major event that is still commemorated to this day. Citizens were killed, fighting against internment and the ban on marches. 14 were killed and 13 others were injured.

Meeting Irish people in Derry was easier than in Dublin, since Dublin has more tourists there. I was fortunate enough to become friends with one in particular and she proved that the readings and my impressions of the Irish were correct. She showed kindness, willingness to help, and hospitality. It was a nice change to be able to meet authentic Irish people rather than meeting other Americans.

This study abroad experience has altered my life because I was shown there are more patient people who are willing to help strangers that I'm not used to much in America. Meeting professors in both Dublin and Derry benefitted my experience because I learned more about the history and culture of the Irish.
Cliffs of Moher
If you ever get the chance to study abroad in Ireland, you will have no regrets.

No comments:

Post a Comment