Jeffrey A. Tolbert You can love a place and still feel overwhelmed by its strangeness, by its unlikeness to your own place. More than a decade ago I was an undergraduate studying abroad in Ireland, with little understanding of where I found myself and no appreciation for what a significant presence it would become in my own life. But I spent the next decade trying to return. Ireland became somewhat like a distant family member, a strange aunt whom I enjoy visiting but never quite understand. In "Genius Fabulae: The Irish Sense of Place," Patrick Sheeran wrote, "Death and destruction are linked to memory and place in Ireland by a deathless chain of names." For Sheeran, place implies death, an association made explicit by centuries of Irish tradition. Unnecessarily grim, perhaps, but there is truth in this claim. I lived in Dublin for a few months while doing research for my dissertation, and certainly, death is a presence in the city, with its bus tours celebrating sites of the Easter Rising, its bullet-ridden statues, and the massive Glasnevin Cemetery. But Sheeran's view--coming from the far side of the Celtic Tiger-- obscures decades of human living that, by definition,
New Hibernia Review – Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Published: Jul 29, 2016
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