I was struck very forcibly while watching the epic hurling match on Sunday at how, we Irish are different to the rest of the world.
I am sure that human nature is the same the world over but for many years we had a national inferiority complex and then briefly during the vulgarity that was the Celtic Tiger where we felt superior, bordering on invincible – neither state is true, but both paths can lead us, if we choose, to recognizing and celebrating our Irishness better nor worse, but uniquely different.
I feel that while it’s vital we look to the future, integrate and embrace all the good that the world has to offer, if we do so while disregarding our soulful characteristics that set us apart – we do so at a potentially merciless price.
Our society was/is deeply rooted in communities and community spirit is our life’s blood. On the one hand it is uniquely beneficial that the world is a smaller place but equally it can also make our struggle to stay connected to our Celtic spirit and soul all the harder.
I recognize the likes of the X Factor are fun and have their place but they are not what nourishes our souls or what touches us in a meaningful way.
I am especially blessed to live in an island community that innately and instinctively knows and lives the above mentioned values. Does Aran represent what it is to be Irish?. Does Aran still keep the Celtic flame alight?. Are the Aran values the very values that make us who we are?. My answer to all three, is a heartfelt yes.
There are people much better qualified and able than I to write and expand on this topic – my view is based on my experiences rather than my opinion.
Please allow me to give a brief insight to my day yesterday. Firstly, living on Aran is not like Dr Phil or Oprah in that everything is not in your face and obvious, there is a wonderful subtlety , gentleness and generosity of spirit to life’s interactions out here.
For now I will not describe the breathtaking views, and scenery – please just assume how much they touched and blew me away.
My son Daniel was visiting yesterday and a few neighbors and friends would have been aware of it. While Daniel and I hiked over to Poll n bPiest to swim in natures finest swimming pool – unaware to us, when we came home, there was a bucket of new spuds – Máirtín, a bag of freshly caught mackerel – Pat, and some warm, freshly baked scones – Mary. These gestures typify what community spirit means and these kind actions speak a thousand words. This is a humble example of our celtic uniqueness but I believe representative.
The X Factor, Dr Phil and Judge Judy have a place in life but in truth they are a very poor substitute for our Celtic values and ways.
Many years ago an old island friend of mine said about his childhood – “If love was new spuds and mackerel, we got plenty of it. More from my beloved Island soon, – Conor