I have wanted to come to Ireland ever since I was in high school. I went through a powerful time when I knew that I no longer believed in the Christian tradition that I had been raised in, yet I longed for something Sacred to relate to. In my searches, I came across the Celtic and Druidic traditions of Ireland. I immediately felt a kinship. These were a people who recognized and worshiped the Sacred in the trees, the land, and the Solstices and Equinoxes. This was a tradition that saw the Sacred as an integral part of the Earth and Sun and Moon and Stars. Even the art and symbolgy seemed to speak to some long lost part of my soul. I uncovered the term “Anam Cara” which loosely translates to “Soul Friend Recognition,” which beautifully described the connection I had with certain people that seemed to defy description.
Of course, this is not to say that I believe in everything that I read and learned about these traditions, but rather that it felt closer to my soul’s home than the beliefs I had been raised with. I had been taught, “Worship the Creator NOT the Creation.” And yet, something inside of me had always known that there is absolutely no separation between the Creator and the Creation. Even in the Bible, the book that I had been raised reading said, “In the beginning there was darkness and void,” and then God which was that darkness and void created from itself life as we know it, which means that not only is Creation a gift FROM God, it is a gift OF Godself.
So coming across a Spiritual tradition that honored the Sacred in the natural world spoke to the very depths of me.
So after all these years, I find myself in this land that has called to me for so long.
This is not say that I have felt particularly called to Dublin, mind you, but this is where I landed–and the place from which I start my journey.
Tonight happened to be fabulous, though. We (being my Italian friend Milena and I) came across a wonderful restaurant called, “The Farm” serving predominantly locally and organic sourced ingredients. It being Ireland, most of the menu was meat and dairy based. Yet, their few vegan options were absolutely, mouth-wateringly delicious. Then we headed to a pub called “Cobblestone” that is listed in The Lonely Planet Guide to Ireland as an authentic pub to hear traditional Irish music. And indeed it was.
Of course, the story would not be complete without a crazy addition because I seem to always attract them. We grab our beers and head as close to the music as we can get considering how packed the pub is. And then, the absolutely most drunk guy in the bar gravitates to us as if pulled by a magnet of inescapable force. Slurring wonderfully, as only a completely innebriated Irish man can do, he asked us where we are from. I said, I am from the US and Milena is from Italy. He asked me, “Where in the US?” I told him from everywhere, but mostly California. And wouldn’t you know it, the most drunk man in the whole bar, had been to California. And not only had he been to California, but he had been to Humboldt County and to Garberville!!!!
He proceeds to go on telling stories of being busted for growing Marijuana. And then to top it off, he screws his face up into this distorted look and yells at the top of his lungs, “F*%!K George Bush!!!!!” The whole bar stops and turns looking at us. I wanted to yell out, “But we aren’t with this guy!” But, of course, nobody gave a damn, they just wanted him to shut up so they could hear the great Irish music that was being played in the corner. And so did I for that matter. I used the opportunity to tell the very drunk man that it was lovely talking to him, but I now wanted to listen to the music.
And so we did. The music was absolutely fantastic. And the drunk man tried to engage a couple more times in conversation, but somehow, I managed to get him to leave us alone so we could enjoy the music.
And then, the topper, was another man near us wearing a fabulous t-shirt that read, “I RECYCLE. I wore this shirt yesterday” with a big recycling symbol in the middle. I cracked up laughing and had a lovely conversation with this man who was sober enough to carry on a real conversation. Then, Miwe and I listened to one last song before we danced our way out of the pub and to the Public Transportation Train that took us part of the way back to the hotel, and we laughed and stumbled the rest of the way back.
And now, I sit in the hotel room reminiscing about a perfect evening as I get ready to prepare for bed and another day headed to the Sacred Hills of Tara.
Goodnight from the experience that is Ireland.