Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sláinte! Is Éireannach Mé!

Cheers! I am Irish!  Yes, it is good to go away and play the ultimate tourist.  It is even better when you can walk away from your time abroad and say the at you gained / learned something from the experience.  This is part of the fun of traveling.  When we were in London, the concierge recommended that we use the underground and travel around like Londoners.  Great recommendation!  By the end of the day, we were able to get around and felt like part of the city.  The same followed through in Dublin.  Yes, we took tours, et cetera, and they were great resources as they all told of the vast history of Ireland.  I learned that while there has been an “Ireland” for over a thousand years, it has only been a “proper” country since 1922.  These are a people from Celtic origin, invaded by Normans, heavily influenced by the Vikings and subjugated by the English.  Did you know that at one time there were over 150 kingdoms in this land the size of Indiana?

On a more specific level, we went to see a storyteller one night.  As a member of Toastmasters International, I brought my interest in speaking with me.  She spoke for quite a long time, telling stories pulling from Ireland’s history, their folklore and general life.  It ends up that storytelling is part of the Irish culture.  There are many nights spent in front of the fire (or at a local pub) with friends and family taking turns telling their stories.  Where in the States, storytelling is something that few people are good at, here it is something that everyone is encourage to do.

I was not the only one to learn something about / from this rich culture, here are the thoughts of my fellow travelers…

Gab’s Weekly Thoughts:

I have always loved to travel because I can get to experience other cultures.  As you may know, I am very into music.  One of the great things about music is how you can find it anywhere.  Something that we learned about was how families make a point to share stories and songs with one another.  It is nice to know that there are some places that are still learning and teaching songs by rote (aurally), especially since today, many people only listen to iTunes or the radio.  After reading this, go share a story or song that you learned from someone else to keep this tradition alive!

Bec’s Weekly Thoughts:
One thing that I have always loved to do was travel. I love traveling so much that I have decided to major in travel-tourism and hospitality management, hoping that I will someday find a job where I get to travel. Going to Ireland and London and helping to plan out each day definitely reassured me that I have chosen the right major for me. Going to Ireland was one of the best experiences and I cannot wait to see where as life takes me.

Traveling is fun and so is learning from where you visit.  As our friend James pointed out to me, at the Gaelic Football Semi-finals yesterday, for him, he learns a lot about the people and their culture by how they act their sporting events.  We each have our own way that we can relate and should take the time and effort to do so.  It is a big world filled with many wonderful people and places.
It was good craic!