I mentioned on my favorite moments post a few days ago that I grew up very Irish. Long story short, my maternal grandmother’s father was straight from Ireland and upon his deathbed, the family found out that he had in fact had another family back in Ireland that no one knew about, including 2 half sisters to my grandmother and many more relatives. In short, this revelation created a life long bond to Ireland for my Grandma, including many trips back to visit family as well as taking her kids (my mom, aunts and uncles) to see where we were from.
I grew up hearing all the stories about Ireland and about our family there (many relatives and second cousins of mine still reside there and throughout the UK). “The Irish” as we’d call them, came to visit us in the States a handful of times and I always knew that there was a strong connection between myself and the Irish isle. The Irish connection has always run deep; my family grew up eating lamb at family dinners and I have numerous memories of showing up at my Grandma’s house on St. Patrick’s Day with her all decked out in Irish shamrocks. To say the least, the Irish in me has always weighed out over all my other heritage. And perhaps its because I got the pale Irish skin, the reddish tint to my hair and a love of rain, I’ve always fancied myself Irish, more than anything else.
So when Nick and I decided that our next trip should be to Ireland, my family (i.e. my Grandma) was beyond excited that we’d get to experience the “mother-land” so to speak. Because Ireland has such a strong relevance to my family and to me, I was hopeful but unsure of how I would feel about the country when there. I knew I’d like it, something in me just knew that, but I didn’t expect to fall so deeply in love with it as I did.
Ireland for me was like home. It felt right and it felt real and sort of suspended in time and space. Through all my travels, there is something inside of me that connects to a place. I have an immediate feeling when I arrive somewhere new and it’s a feeling that I truly can’t explain. It’s a feeling I get in Paris, the feeling I got in the middle of Iceland and wandering the streets of London. It’s a feeling that connects me to a place and without that feeling, that’s all it is, just a place. With it, it’s magic.
I got that feeling in Ireland and somewhere deep inside me, my time spent there this trip connected me deeply to my roots and my heritage. I felt Irish walking about Dublin and driving through the country sides of the Northern Coast.
But even more than that, more than how I felt about the country was how it reacted toward me and toward Nick. It was the welcome we got, the feeling of family, the energy of Dublin, the music pouring out of every crack of that city. It was the lights sparkling and the cold crisp air. It was the green fields upon green fields and the perfectly gray sky. It was the waitress that sat down at our table with us our first meal there, drawing all over our map of Dublin telling us where to go. It was the Irishman going about his day that stopped to take a photo of us on one of Dublin’s many bridges. It was the afternoon drinking Irish tea and having a snack of Irish soda bread. It was the sheep roaming the fields and the rocky cliffs jutting out over a rocky sea.
It was and is Ireland, there is no way else to put it.
So I guess in the end, Ireland for me has always been more than just a place but it took my own trip there to connect myself to the land that I extend from. Ireland is now my heritage for more reasons than one and seeing it with my own eyes made me fall more in love with it than I thought I ever would. As I wrote in one of my Instagrams on the trip there, Ireland truly stole my traveler’s heart.