“A wise country has one eye on the past and one eye on the future, but a foolish country has both eyes on the past.”
In May of 2016 I traveled to the Emerald Isle on an education trek of sorts. I was not in Ireland to be a tourist, but to be an observer and partaker in the culture and atmosphere. I went to learn about the history and literature of Ireland. The history part of this trip has stuck with me over the months since the trip. The young history of Ireland has been intriguing and powerful; hopeful and depressing.
About the Trip
I when to Ireland on a two-week May-term trip with Cornerstone University. While there we visited St. Mark’s, an Anglican Church. We hiked Cave Hill. We went to Carrick-a-Rede, Giant’s Causeway, and Dunluce Castle on the North Coast. We went to Fibber Magee’s, a pub in Belfast . We went to Carrick Fergus Castle; visited the Shankill Road, Falls Road, and walk the Peace Wall.. We then went to Dublin for the day. The first stop was at Chester Beatty Library where I saw ancient biblical papyrus. We then went to the National Museum of Ireland where we learned about the Vikings coming to Ireland and the effects of 2000 years in a bog has on the body. After that we went to Trinity College to see the book of Kells. I spent most of the day though just wandering around Dublin and St. Stephen’s Green. We went to Newgrange in the Boyne Valley. We stopped at the Clonmacnoise Monastery. When went to Galway where I bought a sweater from The Sweater Shop. A few others and myself wandered and talked to local people. We talked to two women for a good hour about the “big” differences between American and Irish culture. While in Galway we stayed at Ross Castle. We went to the Cliffs of Moher for a day. We went to the Aran Islands and rode around on bikes. We finished the trip by going to Conne Mara.
First, a Brief Overview:
Throughout the 20th century the people of Ireland endured great hardships. Not only were there two World Wars but the people also dealt with the struggles of life on their island. In 1916 we saw Ireland’s attempt to over throw the crown. We then saw this play out into what became an 80-year civil war of sorts. Catholic and protestants killing each other in the name of Ireland or the crown. The event that ended or almost ended the struggles was The Good Friday Agreement. Now, Ireland is focused on reconciliation after the rough 20th century.