After being in Ireland for some time now, I still have trouble at times grappling with how modern the country is. From an outsider’s standpoint, Ireland is mostly famous for its folklore, woolen exports, and scenery, but I am becoming more and more aware of Ireland’s identity today.
Ireland’s international reputation changed drastically in the past century. The country gained global recognition during the formation of the Republic of Ireland in 1922, and even more attention during the Trouble Times concerning Northern Ireland in the last half century. At these times, it was proven that Ireland was not just a small stopping point for passing ships anymore, but a country to finally be acknowledged. This reputation was further strengthened during the Celtic Tiger at the turn of the century, when Ireland experienced an economic boom, and attracted investors and companies from all over the world to do business on the small, yet prosperous, island.
My personal idea of Ireland was changed during my trip to the National Museum. I strolled along the rows of ancient tools by the native Irish and saw the bog bodies of the people who once prospered here, yet everything seemed mundane to me, as if I had seen it all before somehow. Strangely enough, it was the exhibit about ancient Egypt that made me more conscious of Ireland and its rich history. As I stood in the quiet museum, I was suddenly aware of my own identity within Ireland. Here I was, an American, studying and living in an Irish city, gazing upon Egyptian artifacts. In that moment I marveled about the interconnectivity that we enjoy in our world today, and Ireland’s part in it. Everything that I have learned about Ireland came together in that moment for me. The centuries of development and oppression, followed by rebellion and advancements has made Ireland into the unique country it is today, a country that participates in worldly issues and contributes to the sharing of cultures across the globe.