Not long before my first astonishing experience in Ireland, my DNA report showed me that I am not, in fact, of Irish descent – I am primarily English. This was the first of four surprising gifts I’ve received in just three remarkable visits to Ireland.
Not long before my first astonishing experience in Ireland, my DNA report showed me that I am not, in fact, of Irish descent – I am primarily English. That was a surprise for me. I thought I was at least half Irish! And due to my other ignorance at the time, my English roots were just fine…until I visited Ireland and learned some facts – past and ongoing – about the atrocities the English have committed against the Irish. I kept my head down, listened, and learned a lot on that first trip. (DON’T TELL THEM I’M ENGLISH-AMERICAN!) I’ve never held any bias toward the Irish. I’ve always believed I was Irish, and my childhood friend, Tom Grogan is *very* Irish. And while I’ve never done anything to suppress or demean the Irish, my sorrow and shame around this history feel right and important. We all need to know the truth and accept our differences. The very survival of the human race requires our diversity. This kind of truth is hard to swallow, but *no* story can be wholly true when it is riddled with holes. I’m fixing a hole.
By the way, the west coast we explored was green, simple, and geologically fascinating. Stone-wall-lined plots of sheep-mown green-checkered rolling hills lined the narrow country roads, traveled safely by our cozy Mercedes tour bus. Ancient castles, each with its own sordid stories, stood crumbling here and there, often showing layers of architectural influence from conquerors through the centuries, or modern-day structures built right onto them. I remember one in a field across the street from a large golf course! I’ve come to love the Irish people even more, for their warmth, humility, kindness, and generosity – and their powerful traditional music and joyful dancing – especially considering their history of occupation, famine, plague, starvation, and the emigration of their strongest surviving children after the horrible potato famine decimated their population and economy. I know that you’ll love Ireland and the Irish people too. You don’t have to be Irish after all 🙂
If you want to learn about Ireland first-hand, as I have, join me with my musical co-hosts, Sloan Wainwright and Sue Riley on April 14–23. We will visit Counties Cork, Kerry, and Clare.
(Beautiful photo by my friend, Tom Grogan, on the tour in 2022)
There are a few seats left! https://www.inishfreetours.com/tours/april-18-27-sloan-wainwright/