When I was growing up in a small town smack bang in the middle of Ireland, without even knowing it I was surround and immersed by a culture that people from around the world look at with intrigue, curiosity and mystery.
At a young age I never truly understood how special it was just being Irish, growing up within the Irish culture and almost taking it for granted. It was just the way it was.
From playing Traditional Irish Sport, being in a house surrounded by Irish Music ,sitting in school attempting to learn the Language and just the daily sub-conscience act of being Irish. It wasn’t anything we had to try to be, We just are. It is just part of us from that first breath.
I was lucky enough to travel a little as a teenager, not the romantic vision of worldwide wanderlust but more a chance to experience new cultures by simply stepping across the pond to our neighbours in the UK. Here I remember walking down Wembley High Street in London by myself, a fresh faced 15 year old from the bogs of Irelands Midlands, looking around and realising I was the only pale freckled face I could see. Here within that moment I had that swell of emotion, excitement of the new adventure and new culture I was experiencing but what stood out was the burning pride within this young 15 year old frame. I had learned of Irish history in school, the stories of Irishmen traveling around the world in search of a better life, adventure, wealth, knowledge or simply "for the craic”. Here I was with a heightened sense of nationality and pride of where I have come from. I was only a few hours away from my home town, but to me this was another world, even if this world had seen many an Irishman throughout the years but for me, at 15, I was an Irish Explorer.
National pride is something that is instilled within every Irish son and daughter. From our school history books, to the songs we sing at family occasions, to sporting events, every platform we gain a sense of history, culture and place within the world. Now it is probably true that we grow up with a very idealistic view of our roots, of the down trodden small little island that fought back to reclaim itself, spread its people (for both good and bad reasons) across the world and become one of the greatest international communities in the world.
We as a country and a culture have our demons, our dark secrets that we rather not think about. But we also have huge pride for our small little Atlantic home, warts and all. We know we are not perfect, but lets face it, as a people, Us Irish are pretty Close.
And as I get older, as I explore our own culture and what it means to be Irish, I see our historic culture, I see our stereotyped culture and I watch our new modern Irish culture. I explore, learn and study all of these in equal measure and I feel that same emotion as that young 15 year old boy from 15 years ago….
Pride, Passion, Excitement and a Desire…
A Desire to share The Country, The Counties, The Clans and The Culture that I love with the rest of the World.