Are you yearning for Ireland this St. Patrick’s Day? For the intense green that heals your heart the minute your eyes catch sight of Éire’s shimmering landscape? You’re in good company.
The Irish are great yearners. I think that’s one of their homeland’s appeals. When I’m in Ireland, my soul feels a kinship with those who long for reunion with the Home that seems just a bit closer in the Emerald Isle’s numinous atmosphere.
Somehow the music, the language, the people’s innate hospitality all make it easier to be open, vulnerable—to let the land, the sea, the sky lift you to a place your soul knows because she’s naturally inclined to their rhythms.
The late, Irish poet-philosopher John O’Donohue said the soul is shy. In the West of Ireland, which is still more wild than tame, the soul feels safer to show herself as the tender, yet courageous being she is.
A traveler can miss the wildness by sticking to the tourist sights. Still, I’m a firm believer that everyone should see them. Stand in line at Trinity College for the Book of Kells. Go shopping on Dublin’s Grafton Street. Kiss the Blarney Stone. Feel the staggering power of the Cliffs of Moher.
Yet, if you want to truly know the Emerald Isle, be a pilgrim. Let go your oars like the medieval monks who ventured into the Unknown. Cast your hopes and dreams upon the water. And let the Wild Atlantic crash against your misconceptions of who you thought you were.
Spirits of the ancients still live in Éire if you’re willing to slow your pace and listen for their voices in the wind, in the antiphon of waves lacing up on sandy shores or noisily hurling themselves against rugged, primordial cliffs.