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Reflections from Ireland's Curator

Angry Birds over Guinness

Bernie Goldbach in Cashel | 412 words

THIS IS MY 18th St Patrick's Day in Ireland and the first one where I was asked to curate the location. I'm @ireland on Twitter for this glorious Saturday.

I wish I could have spent the day in Dublin because that's the site of the best parade. However, our family routines are ruled by a very verbal four-year-old (at right) and she wants to watch the parade at her level in the middle of Cashel where we live. So we will.

Every once and a while, I look back at Ireland through the eyes of a visitor. My American accent will always identify me as a blow-in and I will keep the core part of the accent since it's part of my identity. I've taken that American perspective into 18 Irish counties (one for every year of my stay in the Republic) and now think I'm able to make some helicopter observations.

First, Ireland is sinking. The depths of its debts are daunting and although there's a way out of the morass, the strategy involves years of austerity. Plus, the sea is swallowing more than 750 acres of Ireland each year.

Second, St Patrick's Day is part of the brand of Ireland and it's being leveraged in clever ways. It's more than wearing a pin that says "Kiss Me! I'm Irish!" I think the brand extends to the well-heeled diaspora on several continents and it extends to ancestral records that will help people find out who they really are.

And third, I've got my own favourite experiences:

  • Savoring fish and chips in Burdock's of Dublin.
  • Bumping into a friend while walking in the Grafton Street crowd.
  • Getting soaked in the salt spray of the Atlantic along the Mayo coast.
  • Living with new words like boot, come here to me, langers, jacks, bonnet, knees up and booook.
  • Selecting absolutely lovely takeaways from the English Market in Cork.
  • Walking on fresh wet Kilkenny marble.
  • Watching courtesy redefined by the doorman in the Merrion Hotel.
  • Listening to gravel crunch underfoot on the Path of the Dead at the Rock of Cashel.
  • Eating pasta at La Cucina in Limerick.

Now it's off to the open air of Cashel for another parade, then into our local for a welcom pint of Guinness.


Photo from one of my original photos found in my Flickr photostream.

Previously: "Visiting Ireland for St Patrick's Day" and "An American's View of St Patrick's Day in Ireland" (2009)

Bonus Link: "Reflecting on Ireland" by Dave Delaney, March 17, 2011.

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