Visit to Ireland July 2011

At the end of May my father and I took a two week trip to Western Ireland. It was the first time that either of us had visited Ireland, and although many things were expected, I learned a lot more about the country and felt something of the unique spirit of the place. After reading about and seeing places connected with the history of Ireland I understood much more clearly why the Irish want to separate themselves from English culture to perhaps recover something of the unique Celtic culture which the English had taken such efforts to destroy. And yet – at the same time the life of Ireland is so bound up with a thousand years of English occupation. The very positive reception that Queen Elizabeth received when she visited (while we were there) was and example of the ambiguity of feeling. It is a much more complex story than I ever understood before.
Another, rather more superficial realization, was that the structure and atmosphere of bars in the US are based on Irish bars and not English pubs, and that the new houses that seem to have sprung up everywhere are very big – again like houses in the US.
My appreciation of Ireland and the Irish was greatly enhanced by that short visit.