Sunday, June 30, 2013

Forty Shades of Green

Why is this difficult to understand?
Thanks to Howard Wolowitz of the Big Bang Theory -- it's so clear now, even for us Americans!

Why visit Ireland?

Most Southwestern Native American tribes do not have a word which distinguishes the color green from the color blue. It is an unnecessary differentiation that never required the creation of a term. The weather here in the High Desert experiences little rain, giving rise to very little "green." In Ireland, it rains. It rains in the winter. It rains in the summer. And for good measure, it rains in the spring. Did I mention the autumn rains? It is a joke, well, maybe not a funny one, that you can tell the season by the temperature of the rain in Ireland. Cold rain:  winter. Warm rain:  summer. But, it's raining and that is why the Emerald Isle is green. So green in fact that those who care about such things have categorized forty different shades of green on this tiny island. We're leaving the desert to see something green.

But are there any other reasons to go?
  1. Because the Irish have always been industrious builders:  When Newgrange, perhaps the oldest prehistoric monument in Ireland was in its planning stages, most of the rest of the planet was peopled with humans trying to figure out why their mud-hut wouldn't stand. These monuments are a few hundred years older than the pyramids at Giza, and their precision alignment to the cosmos is just as remarkable. No where else in the world will you find so many prehistoric monuments in such a small territory: an island roughly three hundred miles in length and a hundred fifty in breadth.
  2. The history, and the future of Dublin, Belfast, Kerry, Cork. Names of cities which resonate in ancient and more modern history. From the time of the Vikings through the current "Troubles," these places have endured.
  3. Natural wonders such as few will ever see. The Giant's Causeway, the Slieve League (the tallest cliffs in Europe) and the views from the cliff-faces.
  4. Preservation of historic heritage: in both Heritage towns and the preservation and restoration of early Christian churches, monasteries, and medieval monuments.
  5. Writers are drawn toward the arts. Ireland is famous for its unique Celtic song, inimitable dance, and for its literature. English was a language thrust upon the Irish. so they took perfect revenge. They mastered the word, crafted the phrase and produced several Nobel Laureates in Literature. You cannot deny there is simply something about that accent, nor can you forget the way so many Irish have turned an English phrase:  Bram Stoker, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Liam O'Flaherty, Geroge Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, and Morgan Llewellen. And, I could be mistaken, but I'm fairly certain the name Reagan, is Irish. Now, if politics is an art, that man was an artist!
  6. Witness the birth of peace as two countries merge not so seamlessly into one. From North Ireland's six Ulster counties and British currency and all the many large and small differences between the north and her southern sister, Ireland, there are indications, reflections of Ireland's troubled history as well as signs of hope and restoration as the partition closes.
  7. Irish pubs. Do I have to explain?
  8. It is indeed the old country for so many of us who have the privilege to claim Irish roots.Nearly thirty five million Americans are Irish or partially Irish, a number which is seven times the current population of the island itself at approximately four and a half million.
  9. The Gathering.  This year, 2013, seventy million Irish from around the world are invited to return home. There is a nationwide welcome home party. How do you pass up that invitation?
  10. Loyalty. If I've discovered anything about the Irish people, and my own roots, it is that the Irish are nothing if not loyal.  Oh, they can joke, cast sarcastic barbs, and have refined self-deprecating humor to an art. Story-telling? Pretty sure, this was where it was invented; and each time the story is relayed, it becomes more fantastical. But while you are jesting, feel free to make light of your own foibles, because though they may joke about their own country, family, religion, etc., it is not your place to cast aspersions. As my sister once said, "My husband may be a jerk, but he's my jerk."  And my daughters? Irish to the core. They would sometimes fight like cats and dogs growing up, but if someone came against the other from outside the family -- they would have hell to pay. Fierce loyalty. How else could a people so besieged and oft conquered, never bowed, never gave up being Irish. 
Erin go Bragh -- Ireland forever!

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