Many Irish Americans feel a deep, spiritual connection to Ireland, my homeland and the birthplace of our ancestors. This affinity intrigues me.
What amazes me most is that many American’s ancestors left Ireland because of dire poverty and starvation. Yet despite the difficulties of their lives in Ireland, they brought a great love of their homeland with them to the United States.
I think there are few groups of immigrants in America, who feel so deeply linked to their homeland by nostalgic memories. This spiritual, mystical connection has been passed down through the generations.
Fond Memories of Irish Relatives:
In my twenty something years living in the US, many American friends recounted fond memories of their Irish grandparents or great-grandparents.
They attribute their deep admiration to a warmth, wit, turn-of-phrase, or generally pleasant outlook on life.
They describe their Irish ancestors with words like
... and of course a few hot-tempered Irish predecessors were recalled.
But no matter which words friends choose to recall their Irish forebears, I've always been struck by the love, admiration, and pride these friends feel, when talking about their Irish heritage.
Irish American's pride in their Irish cultural inheritance, is further reinforced by comments left by readers on some of my writings.
What Is It About The Old Country That Calls To Us?
In November 2012 I featured a guest post on the topic of Celtic Religion. It generated some wonderful, thought-provoking comments. One reader asked:
"What do you think it is, that all of us of Irish descent,
many of whom have never been there,
or are now generations from our ancestors
who left the old country, are so attracted to?"
-Question By Spencer
This question generated some very interesting responses. So interesting, I thought they deserved a blog post all of their own. Here are some responses from other readers:
"It not an attraction, it’s an anchor in a spinning universe. And it matters little that some of the ‘stuff’ is twee beyond words (little people). Some of the stuff downright physically painful( Irish dance). Some crazy. But it is mostly genius, loyal and ancient, all with grit and gumption. And part of you."
- Response By Vince
"After visiting Ireland in 2011, I would have to agree with you on it being an anchor, Vince. It’s an anchor that has a constant pull on me and I really want to return. It also haunts everything I do and enjoy!"
- Response by Chris
"My Grandad- whose Dad was Irish- was my absolute favorite person in the world. Since he passed away, everything Irish has taken his place in my heart as #1. So basically a love of our relatives, of our families, and a desire to know more about who we are and where we come from is what I think attracts us most."
- Response By Aimee
I believe part of the attraction is an instinctual desire to honor all of God’s creation. After so much time of modern human disrespect and delusions of controlling the Mother Earth and her inhabitants that balance is longed for. We have ventured so far from what feeds us both physically and spiritually."
- Response By Penny
A big thank you to everyone for their wonderful responses. These heart-warming, heartfelt, and personal responses to this question truly impress me. Readers, sharing their stories and family experiences, make my heart sing.
Some stories are sad and bring a tear to my eye, some make my heart overflow with emotion and Irish pride, and some are simply beautiful memories that inspire us, simply by being shared.
They reinforce the idea that Irish Americans feel drawn to the land of their ancestors, perhaps for a spiritual reason, or maybe it's just our genetic coding, that cannot be ignored.
And so today I am asking you to join in this conversation and tell us why Ireland is your "anchor in a spinning universe."
A special thank you to Vince for his insightful comment and for coining such a magnificent phrase, when he declared Ireland to be "our anchor in a spinning universe".
Feel free to add your two cents worth in the comments below. Answers have been added to this post over the years, and this conversation continues many years after the first publication of this post.
Read the many comments below to explore what it means to be Irish American, and gain an understanding of the deep seated connection you may feel to the Emerald Isle. There are lovely stories to uncover in the comment section.
Here's to furthering our understanding of the Irish American experience through our online dialog on all things Irish and Irish American.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
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