Focusing on single ideas today. Trying to choose just one thought out of the maelstrom has been difficult. Ireland has always seemed so evocative to me while I was at home, now that I’m here, I feel like the idea of choosing just one subject to explore might be difficult.
Navan Fort was glorious. I was astounded by the raw beauty there. Hearing about the things that were found there, such as the sacrifices of animals and objects, really fascinated me. Especially the Barbary Ape. The fact that the ancient people who lived there were well connected enough with the outside trading world bring an animal from that far away is mind-boggling. I also wanted to think about how the myths we heard reverberate though Irish culture even now. I was so glad that we all got to lay on that ancient mound. I wanted to try and absorb whatever mystical energies may still remain inside.
Another topic that I often think about is identity. It’s interesting how people need to justify identity. Sometimes in an explanatory way and sometimes in an accusatory way. We discussed how many people of Irish heritage long to return back to their familial land, while many others could care less. I often hear people talk about how they can drink like a fish because of their Irish heritage, but I feel like that is a misrepresentation of the culture perpetuated through stereotypes. I feel like most of the people I know who are clearly of Irish decent are those who are wistful, brooding, and have a interesting sense of humor.
The idea of sacrifice. The history of sacrifice in Ireland. This felt like a subject that could be very dark and deep. The relationship Ireland has with sacrifice relates back to the the previous two subjects in many ways. Ireland has a heritage of loss. Many societies depended on sacrifices long ago, but in someways Ireland has had trouble letting go of it.
How Americans deal with death compared with the Irish. I was thinking about this more in relation to ghost stories. The seen and the unseen.
I’ll be exploring all of these ideas in the next few days.