It’s not Just Paris, You Know

The beautiful thing about our world is that different cities, lifestyles, set of circumstances inspire different people. I’ve never been overly fond of Paris. I couldn’t get my head around the traffic, the noise, the grime and the aloofness of the city to appreciate the parts that woo so many people. The art and the history and the architecture is inspiring but it’s much too metropolitan for me. The Lido was spectacular, shopping was on a whole other level and for a 12 year old, nothing is better than milk and chocolate croissants for breakfast. But Paris just never did it for me.

Then there’s Tuscany. Perhaps if I have experienced the rolling hills and the luxuriously simple lifestyle there I’d see the appeal but Italy has never held the fascination it has for others. Italy is a lovely vacation but I’m never overly inspired as I bask under the sun or slurp up a spaghetti strand. I wish this wasn’t the case; I’d love to be easily inspired by where ever I am. Perhaps I am and I’m just too busy enjoying those brief moments in France and Italy that encourage my affection for where I am at the moment.

I’m sure by now you’re getting tired of hearing about Dublin but Ireland does it for me. I never thought of Ireland as being overly influential when it comes to literature. Since then I’ve learned better. The Irish are known for their story telling. We weave together fact and fiction, blending them until you have no choice but to go along with the tale. The Irish language is beautiful, the descriptions used in every day conversation are routine. Even the questions are a delight.

Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?     How are you?

Ta mé go maith, go raibh maith agat.     I’m well, thank you.

Cén chraoi a bfhuil tú féin?     How are you, yourself?

Íontach, buíochas le dia.     Great, thank God. 

You’ll never guess who was a pugilist in university. Pace yourself- it’s easy to have too many pints of Guinness and drams of Jameson. (It’s a little embarrassing how excited I was to win this shirt. It was the highlight for my little inner nerd…)

For a small country with a tiny population, the creativity, imagination and talent is staggering. Here is a scant list of some of the authors from the Emerald Isle:

James Joyce: Dubliners, Ulysses

Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels

Oscar Wilde: portrait of Dorian Gray

W.B. Yeats- poetry

George Bernard Shaw: Pygmalion  

Bram Stoker: Dracula

Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot

Then there are the contemporary writer such as Celia Ahern (P.S. I Love You). 

The beautiful thing about our world is that there is one corner for every person that is their spot. For those lucky few, it will be their native country but for most of us, we will find a place in our travels that makes us feel like we’ve come home. Sharing this perspective with others is what makes art so magnificent. I don’t want to miss out on what other places have to offer; I want to be able to appreciate the treasures each destination has to offer. I want to open a book and feel like I’m strolling down a cobblestone road in Seville or waking up next to a lover in Buenos Aires. I want to enjoy others’ passions and see the world through their eyes.

Maybe one day I’ll know Dublin well enough to set a story there or maybe I’ll find a small town or village in Co. Kerry or Co. Donegal to base my story on. Perhaps I’ll stick to some place closer to home and use Cobh, Skibbereen, or Baltimore for my story. My family’s history is long and proud.

An O’Driscoll castle on Sherkin Island