My first impression of Ireland is ‘wild’. Not wild as in cool, but almost feral, though that might be a bit too strong. Everything man-made in Ireland, from its buildings, to its sidewalks, to its urban landscape is constantly being reclaimed by nature. Reclaimed, or maybe absorbed is the right word. There’s a harmony in effect, between humanity and this vast land that it has inhabited for thousands of years. I completely understand why myth and cultural knowledge is so prevalent here. And it is beautiful. If Montana is ‘untamed’ then Ireland is ‘wild’.
But metaphysical ramblings aside, Ireland is grand. They say that here – grand, instead of good or great. For all that they say Western Europe is similar to America in terms of world view, there are some noticeable differences. Not that that’s a bad thing, its just fun to stop and realize once in a while that you’re in a foreign country. For me, who, before this, had never been outside the United States and Canada, I like to be reminded everyday that I’m a world away. It puts things in perspective.
University College Cork is still a college though. I still go to classes, meet up with friends, study, write essays. But there are some fun differences. For one, the student government is a lot more present here. Apparently campaigns are really big. Not just elections, but campaigns to get things changed. It can be something serious like the fight for marriage equality to something silly, like trying to get the Cadbury Wispa candybar reinstated (they succeeded by the way and everyone here is really proud of that fact). In Montana, no matter how much Americans are very proud of their 1st Amendment right to assemble and petition however they like, we don’t do things like that. I remember one instance in my time at UM when there was an actual assembly to students to protest something. Maybe it says something about our attitudes towards protesters. I don’t know and I cannot judge on this, but I think the difference is something that might be worth looking into, especially for us in GLI.
I really love it here though, especially the archaeology. There’s just so much of it! And the Archaeology Department is grand with good people. All in all, I’m really glad I’m in Cork, Ireland.