Ah Ireland, a country the size of Indiana, and with the population of New York City. And one of the most green and beautiful places in the whole world. No wonder they call it the Emerald Isle. Ann and I went on a sentimental journey to Ireland for our 40th anniversary last month. Sentimental not because we had been there before, even while living in England for 3 years. No we went because we had been told again and again how wonderful and magical the place was– the land of Riverdance, Van Morrison, U2, Joyce, Yeats, Wilde, Beckett, and Swift, to mention but a few. But there is another reason we went— we live in Irish America, which is to say the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. What characterizes the Bluegrass? Limestone fences without mortar built by Irish stone masons, fourteen Irish whiskey distilleries, otherwise known as bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, a development of Irish balladry and folk music, the first Catholic cathedral west of the Alleghenies in Bardstown, and then there are all the horses, horse farms, jockeys. During and after the potato famine in 1845-49, thousands upon thousands of Irish folks moved to American, and many of them wanting green rolling hills in a basically rural state, like Ireland, landed and stayed in Kentucky. Going to Kentucky was like staying home for the Irish, only with better weather and no coastline.
Ann and I chose to take a survey tour of both Ireland and Northern Ireland and it was a big ole Irish blessing. But I think you’ll see why soon enough. For now, grab a Guinness and meditate on this scene.