Galway Adventures

30 Sep

This past Thursday I had the opportunity to travel to the western wonderland of Galway on the coast of Ireland. The bus ride took us about three hours through the winding roads of the Irish countryside. The ride went by quickly though because the hills and mountains were so scenic.

My favorite place we visited was the island of Inis Mor. From our hostel in the heart of Galway, we took an hour bus ride and then another 45 minute ferry ride to the island. With a population of less than a thousand, Inis Mor has a small town feel. The people in all the local shops were all friendly and welcoming.

Aside from taking in the beautiful scenery, we also had the opportunity to learn some new interesting things about Ireland. For example, on Inis Mor, our guide took us to a grave yard which was hundreds of years old. It was here that he revealed to us the value that Irish people put on place of burial. Since ruins are so common in Ireland, they are a big part of the Catholic culture and landscape. The people of Ireland wish to be buried in place that has a connection to important history. He mentioned that mothers try from their child’s birth to get them spots in prestigious burial sites.

 

We also visited a monastery where we discussed the fusion of Christian and Pagan identity in Ireland. Carved in the stone of this ruin was the Irish word for “two canons” which symbolized the fusion between the two cultures. Another fusion of these two beliefs can be found in the Celtic cross. The t-shaped cross is clearly a symbol of Christ and the Christian religion. The circle, however, comes from pagan beliefs and represents their sun God. As a polytheistic society, the pagan people believed in more than one deity—the sun god being most supreme. When the Christian missionaries came to Ireland, the Irish did not understand the idea of one god. The missionaries then explained to them that their god—who came to earth in the form of Jesus Christ—was like the sun god: and so the Celtic cross was born.

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