Molly & Steve's Trip to Ireland - 2023

You're Very Welcome Here



Travel is an excellent means to learn new things, and Ireland is one of the best places to travel. We have been home for a few weeks now, and we are still savoring the best memories - meeting a cousin and "closing the circle" after nearly 170 years since our ancestors were together; grappling with the image of starving people packed in the hold of a sailing vessel for weeks because that is a better option than staying in their homeland; pondering the reasons the Neolithic people dragged rocks and soil for hundreds of kilometers to build something that has lasted more than 5,000 years; tasting oysters fresh from the waters off the coast of Donegal; seeing the Mountains of Mourne; climbing on the rocks of the Giant's Causeway; struggling to understand the ugliness of the Troubles; experiencing the kindness of strangers.

In hindsight, I think it was fitting that we made this trip during the Lenten season, for learning about Bloody Sunday in the place where the tragedy occurred has left me with many questions to ponder. It was humbling to hear the gratitude with which survivors spoke about the influence of American diplomacy in effecting the Good Friday Agreement. I don't think very many Americans realize what an important role President Clinton played in bringing violence to an end, and even if they had known about it at the time, they quickly forgot about it as the scandals of his presidency played out. The Irish haven't forgotten about it.

I am struggling to comprehend the ability of the victims of the Troubles - on both sides - to embrace hope and forgiveness. They recognize that they are mutually bound to one another and that a peaceful coexistence depends on revealing the truth of the past. The details of the past are so painful. But those committed to a peaceful future are also committed to revealing the truth. From my perspective, the obstacles seem insurmountable. Yet someone who ran from the bullets of the state shooting its own citizens expresses optimism for his country. How does one find such grace?

When it comes to Ireland, it seems that one trip merely plants the seeds for a future journey. I hope that your reading about our trip will nuture the roots that will someday bloom into your own trip to the land of a hundred thousand welcomes.


So fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate'er befall,
And gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

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This page was last edited on 11-Sep-2023

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