History on Display

23 Jul

While I was walking through the Irish History Museum, at first glance there was nothing that called out to me or moved me. Everything seemed a bit bland. While I was there, I don’t think the impact of just how old these items were really hit me. I passed by shoes made out of a single patch of leather, cups made of stone, medical supplies made of string; what seemed to me as impractical was really the beginning of modern thought and innovation. It wasn’t until I got home that I thought “wow, Irish history dates back much much farther back than America’s.” Another realization was that this was a typical American response to not feel anything. American is a culture of a thousand different cultures, albeit forgotten culture. Like I mentioned in my paper, many people of my generation in America are in an identity crisis, stuck between identifying as Americans or calling ourselves by what our roots are leaving us to have no real strong ties to any of our roots with our past. However, here in Ireland there is a sense of pride about being Ireland and rightfully so. Each Irish item in this museum represented a step in Irish culture, a step in innovation and forward thinking. I thought about that shoe that I stared at with a blank look, and then I thought about the person who made it. Chances are this person made it long before Americans came to be, and long before any one else was wearing shoes like that. It made me think of the long line of problems, whether it being something simple such as needing a thicker and impermeable material to walk through the cold winter ground, to the incredibly complex, and how the Irish were forced to innovate time and time again. I think this represents the Irish mentality. The people here are tough and don’t take things for granted, but at the same time they are warm and welcoming knowing that so many have struggled greatly to provide the Ireland they live into today. At the same time I believe America’s lack of history that defines us to a degree. Maybe that’s why America gets the reputation as being selfish, entitled, and lazy! (no one REALLY thinks that do they?)

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