Ireland is in our blood, and yet I’ve never been there. My ancestors made their way from their Emerald Isle home to the United States where Grandpa made a living as a butcher and grocer. My wife-to-be is also of Irish and decent, and her family continues to live out traditions harkening back to their roots. It is truly our desire to experience the land of Ireland since we have never been.
The richness of the old-world preserved within the fullness of this new-world is how we would love to live; It’s a rhythm that clearly stirs a spirit in both of us. We come from the Wildes, McGraths, Kirchers, and O’Neils with Cashins, McLains, Gannons, and O’Gannons. My father was able to study there in his youth, and shares stories of stark differences in landscapes and people as he crossed the tiny land. All this knowledge, yet not a drop of personal experience to pass on to our kids.
We can look at maps, pictures and videos, yet surely nothing compares to breathing the air, feeling the dense fog roll as if right through you, and sipping a pint from a pub that’s been there longer than any memory of the men inside or their grandfather’s before. I know all this, yet I’ve never seen my Irish home.
Religion is also woven within the tapestry of the Isle, I’m told. Yet I hear it’s done so in ways that are current while honoring times and traditions before the bishop known as Patrick ever arrived. It is intriguing that St. Patrick was so moved by the people’s traditions and love of the land that rather than destroy what was beautiful and good, he was moved to turn such things as simple as the clover (and more) in a way that pointed to something new and eternal while honoring nature’s gifted beauty for us all to enjoy.
Legends continue to exist and live and grow in Ireland, and they are known throughout the world. For this reason, I’m certain there are people living out traditions in the land, each with a story they’d like to have told. I’d like to have the honor to hear them, listen and see their expressions over a game of darts, or sitting comfortably in a home with the crackle of a fire both warming and lighting the conversation.
I may not get to walk in the footsteps of Aileen Kircher or Catherine O’Neil. I may never visit the Midland home of John and Sarah Cashin. Yet this land is in my blood and I hold it dear. Whether my betrothed and I are blessed with a visit or not, in my blood Ireland will remain, and I’ll do my best to pass it on. Yet to imagine that I could be given the chance to see, smell and taste even some of what this land has to offer makes me hope I can share my firsthand knowledge of the Irish land that both in my blood, and once beheld in my eyes, felt in my bones, and loved in my heart.
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