Saturday, November 24, 2007

The real Ireland

I think I experienced the real Ireland for the first time since being in Northern Ireland. Carrie and I accompanied our new Irish friend Aiden and his German friend Klaus to a pub in an Irish village called Castlewellan, near Dundrum, where authentic Irish music was being played. We were easily the youngest people in the pub and it was an obvious difference. The band played and played. The tunes were like something heard only in films. There was a banjo, guitar, Irish flute, and another instrument I could not distinguish. The voices of the band rang out true Irish tones of nationalism. There were a great many songs about immigration and America. Klaus plays the harmonica and decided to play a few songs with the band. By the end of the night the entire pub was in love with him. The culture was evident everywhere. The accents were markedly different, the tunes, the language (some people spoke Gaelic) the people, the Guinness. Klaus was begged to stay and sing many more songs. He was essentially a celebrity when by the time we left the pub, people were getting up to shake his hand. The music was incredible. I felt as close to Irish as I might ever get. The beat pulsed through our veins as we clapped along to the rhythmic beat, while singing happily along with those around us. It was a beautiful scene of culture I have only now been privileged enough to survey. We drove home beneath a blazing moon, listening to beautiful Irish bagpipes and pensively watching the dark outline of the Mournes as we rode past. It was a glorious night...
I felt as if I was seeing the other side of Ireland for the first time. It was not until tonight that I realized the entirety of my experience in this wonderful place has been secluded to the Protestant, Unionist side of Ireland. I was able to glimpse finally the Nationalist, Catholic Ireland which has been denied me these three months. I think unintentionally, our group has been dragged right into the middle of sectarianism and allowed only to experience what others wanted us to. I am saddened by this, but grateful for my brief glimpse...

6 comments:

danielle said...

I love you lauren and miss you. your words are always so beautiful and i rather enjoy reading your posts.
your words flow like a musical tune in my head. love it. wish i could write like you.
sad you weren't in siloam when i went to visit. i will be back next semester so i look forward to seeing you! lots of love.

Gabrielle said...

amazing. you should write a story based on this...?

J. Little said...

Sounds like fun! I'm glad you got to experience that.

tasha said...

i cannot wait to talk to you about this. what you experienced is very similar to my second to last day in ireland. i wonder if it was the same pub...

Tiffany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tiffany said...

this post made me yearn like no other to be there, or anywhere experiencing something similar...again. haha.