The trip to the west of Ireland last weekend will definitely be one of the highlights of my time this semester. Before coming to Ireland, I knew that I wanted to visit Galway, and no trip to Ireland would be complete without seeing the Cliffs of Moher. Rather erroneously, I did not consider the Aran Islands before visiting, but that turned out to be my favorite part of the trip.
Inis Mor is different from the bits of Ireland I have seen so far. The obvious points are it is less populated, and therefore quieter, but it is also different because the main language is Irish. While the only language I am fluent in is English, I have always been interested in other languages and cultures. So I thought this aspect of the island’s culture was very interesting. I can only assume that part of the reasoning for this is the seclusion from the mainland. The influence of the British would have been less likely.
I think that listening to the language being spoken was beneficial. I remember sitting in the coffee shop next to the Spar talking with the woman – who I am sure we overwhelmed with business – one moment, and then her turning to another kid from the island and speaking with him in Irish. This is a part of Irish culture that people do not always consider.
I’m from a city in the U.S. that likes to hold on to its history in part because of the tourism industry it has built a portion of its economy on. It seemed to me that the people of Inis Mor benefit from tourism, but they hold on to their history and culture because it is actually a part of their daily life. They don’t benefit only economically.