5.24.12 grá, dílseacht, cairdeas

Although many Americans may think that Ireland is a beautiful scenic vacation spot that is back in the stone ages, I’m here to tell you that this is a large misconception. Yes, the Irish believe in strong moral values, community, family ties, and working with just the essentials that are needed. In our society we place “want over need” quite frequently for example, instead of paying your electric bill you go out and pay for a new Ipad. This quality is quite admirable and I must say we can possibly learn a lot from our friends across the pond.

However, this attitude and welcoming friendliness is not unfamiliar to us because it has been displayed to us in various motion pictures and literature. In movies like the traditional Irish movie, “The Quiet Man” and movies such as “My Left Foot” where we see the “true’ portrait of an Irish family and kinship to their fellow man.

Apparently the fictional Irish town of Innisfree depicts the environment of Ireland quite well. I reference this because in both “The Quiet Man” and William Yeats poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” the portrait of Ireland is very accurate. Yeats words perfectly describe the perception I am currently having of Ireland. I can imagine this town being like Sneem because of the small quaint feeling of the poem and the deep incorporation of nature. The vivid use of descriptors exudes the feeling of comfort and tranquility and this is the same feeling I have embraced in the small town of Sneem.

The one experience that I would like to primarily focus on is the JFK 50 mile walk I partook in here in Sneem. Although I was unable to finish the walk due to a “wardrobe issue” I was still able to walk 20 miles in another man’s shoes. While doing this I felt the pride of bonding with my heritage and exploring Ireland the way my ancestors had before me. It was not the pride that I walked 20 miles, surprisingly! The connection I made with my fellow man and my roots was the most rewarding thus far.

This experience also gave me insight to Ireland’s perception of outsiders and the bond and friendship they offer to anyone. During the event I better understood the community element of this small village of only 375 residents. Although they were not volunteers these brilliant people cared for one another in a way I have never seen before. In addition, the kinship and support they had shown to one of our own in one of her proudest moments compares to nothing I can think of.

Despite our different dialect, unfamiliar customs and traditions, odd delicacies, and tastes in beer we share many of the same “core values.” Yes, that’s right I dropped the core values line but, it’s true. We may live in different parts of the world but, once you befriend them and their culture the difference between them and us is not that much different. The Irish use this phrase quite often “grá, dílseacht, cairdeas” which means love, loyalty, friendship in Gaelic. I think this accurately depicts the similarities and bond we have built here in Ireland.

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