An Irish impression

My son is getting married in the south of Ireland and I’ve travelled here.  To be with him and to support him on this happy occasion. I was warned of Irish hospitality which might see my health compromised with some serious drinking which I couldn’t refuse.

When I was young a lot of things were not spoken about as a mechanism to avoid dealing with life’s realities, and strangely, this has come back to me here.

The friend of the late Mr Coyle, Timber Merchant
The friend of the late Mr Coyle, Timber Merchant

I am cautious about first impressions but they exist, and only exist at first, so I kind of like them.  Since generations past avoided “talking about things” emotionally intelligent people have moved on, recognising that rational communication, coupled with a genuine desire for growth, can have significant benefits.  And let’s be real too: withholding communication from someone you care about, or who needs it from you, is simply abuse.

A man in Kilkenny asked us if we knew Mr Kylie of New Zealand, a wood merchant, who died two years ago from Cancer. After several attempts at understanding each other we established that it was actually a Mr Coyle and no, sadly we didn’t know him.  We can all joke and mock someone who attempts such a ritual with a foreigner.  But what a lovely expression of our deepest desire for connection.  I’ve tagged the man on Facebook as “The friend of the late Mr Coyle, Wood Merchant”.

Some of my ancestry is from the south of Ireland and it struck me tonight that some of what I had seen represented the best and worst of what little I know about human nature.  The friend of the late Mr Coyle, Wood Merchant was open, and genuinely sought a connection with folk from 20,000km away.  He got it.  And so did we.

But I’ve also seen the “don’t talk about it” brigade at work.  From the absurd – the number plate on my car with state-sanctioned delusion allowing it to use the number 131 instead of 13 for 2013, to avoid the unspoken misfortune of having 13,  to folk, who, well how can I put it, use silence as their primary tool for communication.  I’ve been thinking “What?” I’m torn between wondering whether they’re stuck in some bad Coronation Street episode or that a cheery demeanour is somehow threatening the economic and meteorological gloom!

I’m proud of my son Thomas and he’ll make a great husband, far better than me I’m sure.  It’s no wonder the friend of the late Mr Coyle, Wood Merchant spotted him in Kilkenny and engaged with him.

Ireland, like New Zealand is an Island nation, and my first impressions of the south are that many of the folk here could benefit from a dose of meaningful connection with another real world.  And here you won’t need to travel 29 hours to find it like I did.

Try Dublin, I’d suggest.  The two hours drive to another world.  A great place with an international sense of itself which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Friendly and engaging.  Like Thomas’ wedding will be I’m sure!

Stephen

ps It’s been too long between blogs I know!

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