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Posted by on Jun 1, 2010 in History | 1 comment

Ireland, a Spiritual Place Indeed

Murals in Derry were among the sites visited by the Irish Studies group. Click to see more photos from their trip.

This is the second post submitted by high school student Mark Bylancik from Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, NJ. His Irish Studies Group are currently touring Ireland and learning about Irish culture and history. Follow the groups journey through words, pictures and videos at http://irish2010.mka.org.

The question posed in my first post was aimed at determining the link between Ireland’s spiritual nature and its people and culture.
Only four days into our trip, I have found an answer to my questions about the link between Ireland’s spriritual nature and its people and culture. Ireland is such a spiritual place because the Irish make it so. All things, places, and people are held in reverence, as though each and every rock, tree, and person were blessed.

Visiting cities such as Galway and Derry, as well as spending some time out in the countryside around Omagh, it is quite apparent that the Irish love their country. Unlike the Americans I know, the Irish speak of their land like a beloved brother or sister, not just a political state or a name for a flag. The country is just as alive as you or me; it draws breath from the song and laughter of its people, its blood forged from the struggle and dreams of countless generations. It cannot exist without one, and therefore thrives with both.

Those who identify themselves as Irish-Americans feel wistfully nostalgic visiting historic cities like Derry and seeing the colorful murals reflecting darker times, or natural sites like The Giant’s Causeway; meanwhile, the Irish don’t seem to feel the same connection. Nostalgia by definition is a sentimental affection for the past, and the Irish do not feel this because the tale of the Irish is timeless. Though one can mark it in years, decades or generations, but each as just important as the next, and thus they all flow together into a beautiful, revered tapestry in the heart of every Irishman.

In short, Ireland is made such a deeply spiritual land because its people make it so. The people love their land, and love each other. What we perceive as two distinct entities, the people and the land itself, are together but a beautiful visage of hospitality and welcome on the face of the true Ireland. My experience this trip has been wonderful, clear skies and warm Irish handshakes the whole way. I can’t wait to travel back down to the Republic in search of the essence of Ireland.

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1 Comment

  1. You say “All things, places, and people are held in reverence, as though each and every rock, tree, and person were blessed.” I think that in Ireland it’s a hangover from the pagan Celtic and Celtic Christian sense of god as immanent (present in everything), as opposed to transcendent (out there somewhwere else). You find it in early medieval Irish poetry and storytelling. Don’t know if you’ve read Early Irish Lyrics by Gerard Murphy? http://www.four-courts-press.ie It interleaves translations with the original Irish.

    Anyway, thanks for your piece. Loved reading it.

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