The trip to Ireland was absolutely unforgettable. On the plane, I tried to figure out the most amazing Irish experience, only to find it impossible. I was shocked at the postcard-like scenery and the clean air, impressed by the chorus of the morning birds, and touched by the friendly people of the country Ireland. However, I suppose that it was the unity of the Irish people and their cherishing of the history that gave me a lasting impression.
This is a mostly mentioned phrase by tour guides and in all kinds of leaflets in Ireland. By putting tourists into a specific background, the historical sites seem to be more magnificent, being given a magical charm. And now, I invite you to go on a tour to the magical kingdom, a place with the most beautiful scenery and friendliest people—a real fairyland. If you may follow me, let your imagination in the air and here we go!
The history into our own...
the hay house
The UCC campus was a startling beautiful place. Flowers of all colors, rosy red, indigo blue, orangey pink, shone brightly under the clear sunlight at dusk. I kept wondering if I was in one of these postcards. All was too dreamy. We went through a historic corridor, stopping from time to time to touch the roughly carved stone by ancient inhabitants of Ireland. When I saw sunlight shining through the wooden door just ahead of me, I thought I was ready to meet another neat college view.
It did not come. Instead, there stood a muddy little house, shabby and tired-looking, its hay roof quivering in the wind. It was a house from the history, where Irish people who suffered from the famine lived in the past. I must say that the house is preserved really well. I could even imagine what a dreadful feeling it was to be stuck in this tiny house with an empty stomach. The abandoned house looks like hallow eyes, staring at the fairy land-like campus, the large letters of "remembrance" carved into its stumpy walls.
"It is most certainly a team sport and a community sport", so said our coach at the Gaelic football field. “Each player, even players at the very top, do not transfer to other teams. They are not paid either, devoting much of their time to the sport as they do. So, it's necessary for them to get jobs."
It's quite hard to understand why someone will give up their lives for a sport if it isn't in Ireland. The word “Gaelic" is certainly more than a word. It is of a memory and of a nation. Doing sports is such a brilliant way to establish the bund among all citizens, which is full of life and excitement, joy and tears.
Irish is beautiful. I came across the language through a unique installation at the Museum of Irish Literature. It was soft yet powerful, and I thought the language as Latin because it seemed to load a bundle of history on its shoulders. The soft poem rhymed perfectly, and my urge to learn the language was aroused again. The language reminded me of the slow ancient-Chinese poems my mother sang to me when I was a tiny baby.
I know that the language used to be dead and forbidden. Now it comes to me more vigorous than ever. I could see signs written in Irish on the streets. I could see a whole school building with Irish as its official language. I could see books written or translated into Irish in bookstores. Just like the Gaelic games, Irish people preserved their nation and their culture through the language. Otherwise, the Irish world would be silent with no words to hear and poems to sing，and I am thankful as a foreigner to be able to enjoy the country on its native cultural grounds.
Sound and music seem to go hand in hand. So are dance and laughter，poems and novels，the smell of freshly baked bread. Music is usually regarded as beauty, thus I see everything beautiful as music.
I heard more music than ever during my visit：the especially vigorous ones, also the calm and deep ones. I saw the tap dance, so lively and powerful. It is a fighter's dance: “no one would stand in my way of pursuing happiness!" I saw the silent street at dusk, the shop signs here and there shone with the words “pure" and "Irish". The signs also seem to read: “I am Irish; thus, I am proud."
The feelings, amazingly powerful, seem to share great similarities with the Chinese culture. The countries both suffered. And after years of reflection and rejuvenation, we finally found ourselves in our history. By accepting the past, we are now ready to meet the future.
we hence from history into eternity.
Pictures. Pictures on windows. Pictures on walls. Leaflets, paintings, sign boards, sculptures. Colours and innovation are everywhere. This is my first impression when entering the huge and fantastic school Colaiste and Gaecolaiste Choilm. There is a huge art room with dreamy wooden tables splashed with paint of all colours. There are giant leaflets hung from the ceiling painted by students. The school is just like a city which is diverted, colorful and original.
I went to the Glucksman Gallary. In the exhibition “a quiet mutiny”, clay was shaped into fragile statues. Ordinary objects were magically recreated and reinvented through the change of environment and the surrounding atmosphere.
And all kinds of shop windows and little houses beside the streets，of the same function, but each expressed their individual personality. The harmony among them formed a united but unique beauty.
The Irish love their writers. I saw a long row of leaflets introducing the famous Irish writers at the Embassy of Ireland in China. I visited the museum of literature in Dublin. I saw mugs with writers’ faces painted，at the souvenir shop of the University of Trinity.
Setbacks build a man. A turbulent history can always make amazing writers. They were the light shine through the dark times, and deserve to be cherished.
There are great Irish writers in the modern times as well. The bookstores are filled with people picking out the latest issue. There are small poems to read before one goes to bed and heavy novels to read with a cup of coffee at night. Literature is now flourishing in the country, which is so precious in this digital world.
Proudness of both the country’s past and present—that is certainly the most touching part.
At the end of this article, I’d like to say a big thank you to Mr. Barrett, Dennis, who showed us around the city and introduced us to the Cork city council officials; Jacqui and Siubhan who led us through an amazing tour; all the other teachers and students who made all the efforts to ensure our fantastic experience in Ireland; and most importantly, the Cork city government and Mr. Deputy Mayor of Cork. Thank you again!
I would never forget the amazing experience in Ireland and I am sure to relive the memories in my sweetest dreams.