Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ireland Inspiration

While growing up I used to have a bit of an obsession with Ireland. It was a country I really wanted to visit and I liked everything with a hint of Irishness: clovers, leprechauns, folk songs, celtic designs ... everything and anything with some green on it. And I was of course mesmerised by all the natural beauty to be found in Ireland. White cliffs, endless green fields, stranded villages and historical monuments, all seemed appealing to me. As the years passed by that obsession wore off and I was only reminded of it last month when I suddenly found myself on a plane with destination Dublin. It got me thinking of my teenage years and some of the reasons behind this fixation with Ireland and today I am sharing some of them with you, as a belated St Patrick's celebration of all things Irish.


BOOKS

One of the book I enjoyed most during my school days was Angela's Ashes. It is the autobiography of Frank McCourt, who reminisces his childhood and teenage years throughout the pages of the book. From his parents' first encounter and his birth in Brooklyn to the family return to Ireland, McCourt shares the penuries of his infant years and how the family, and especially his mother Angela, tried to get through the day without much luck or resources, while grieving for the loss of many a baby. I liked how McCourt relives his misfortunate chilhood candidly and tells the story of a traditional Ireland and its people. The book won a Pulitzer award and was later made into a film.


Later I was introduced to Marian Keyes, one of  Ireland's best-selling contemporary authors, and her novel This Charming Man is one of my absolute favourite books. The book entwines the stories of four women, all somehow related to the successful politician Paddy de Coarcy. This Charming Man tackles a topic as sensitive as domestic violence and it is as real as it gets - even if it's still a light chick-lit read and it made laugh as much as I cried. But yes, I cried while reading and sometimes I found it hard to get through the pages, as this is a topic close to my heart for personal reasons, but I did finish it and I can only recommend it.


Fotos via Wikipedia

FILM

I haven't seen many Irish or Irish-related films, maybe The Magdalene Sisters is the only one I've seen, I don't know. This film explores a very controversial issue of Ireland recent history, the Magdalene asylums and the abuses suffered by the girls who were sent to live and work there by their families or tutors. The film is loosely based on real life and tells the story of four girls who are sent to a Magdalene asylum for different reasons (two got pregnant out of marriage, another was raped by her cousin and the other one for flirting with boys). The film depicts the vexing treatment they endured during their stay at the laundry, where many women remained for life.

MUSIC

Moving on to happier things ... Ireland has a rich musical tradition, even today folk music is rather popular and many Irish bands make big abroad (U2 is probably the best example to this). Back in the 90s my favourite music group was The Corrs, also an Irish band. They were very successful during those years, especially in Spain, as well as in Ireland and the UK, and their first two albums sold millions of copies worldwide. So did their next two albums but their success begin to fizzle out and nowadays they're not much more than a memory. Forgiven not Forgotten and Talk on Corners are still two of my favourite albums ever and I like listening to them from time to time. Oh, and I guess they're also the reason why most clothes in my wardrobe were and still are black.

Another Irish band I liked for a short while was Westlife. Yes, those cute young guys who sang corny ballads - I was just 13 when they first became famous, so don't judge, and I actually got the chance to see them life in Tenerife back in 1998 or so. I didn't like them for long, though, and the only songs I remember from them are Swear It Again and Flying Without Wings.

DANCE

Here we come to one of the most typical Irish things you can see, or at least we're lead to believe so. The Riverdance. Oh, how I liked the Riverdance show and similars. I remember seeing it from a videotape and wanting to try and learn the steps, a hard work that was!  My best friend had also seen the show and wanted to learn to Irish dance as well but there was no possibility to do that in Tenerife. Anyway, that newly-found passion didn't last long either. Next thing I know, we had watched Bend it Like Beckham and decided that women football was the next cool thing to try. Plus it would get us a Keira Knightly body (again, don't judge, I was only a teenager and back then I thought Keira Knightly was a slim girl. Now I think she is a painfully skinny woman and should pile on some pounds). I still would like to see a Riverdance or Lord of the Dance show live someday.



Well, this is the end of my tour of all things Irish that occupied my mind during my teenage years.
Hope you enjoyed it!
Any more Ireland insipration to add? Anything wonderfully Irish I should know about?

Have a lovely Wednesday!

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12 comments:

  1. I took my first trip to Ireland a few years ago and absolutely fell in love! We stayed with some friends in this quaint, odd little farmhouse and the dad raised Irish Wolfhounds and there was no central heating (or radiators) so we just spent the nights huddled around the fire. It was so magical- I can't wait to get back!

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    1. Wow, that really sounds like a magical holiday! I was only recently to Dublin for the first time and I really liked it, even though there were no bonfires and I didn't make it to the countryside. I also want to go back so badly :)

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  2. Me encanta cómo escribe Frank McCourt. Yo tmb he leído " Las cenizas de Ángela" y "Lo es", que digamos, es como la segunda ( su vida adulta). Este que mencionas de Marian Keyes no lo he leído pero tmb es una autora con la que me he pasado ratos muy divertidos leyendo sus historias. Aunque si dices que trata de la violencia de género, no sé yo...a lo mejor no es tan divertido como los otros. Nos has traído unos preciosos " trocitos" de Irlanda .Bss, Irene:)

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    1. Uff, 'Lo es' lleva mucho años en mi lista de libros por leer y aún no lo he leído. Quizás debería de buscarlo en alguna librería y ponerme a ello :)
      Me alegro de que te haya gustado el post!

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  3. Amazing post! Would you like to follow each other?:)

    http://julesonthemoon.blogspot.it/

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  4. I enjoyed looking through this - and will look into reading some Marian Keyes as I have never read any of her books.

    I have been lucky enough to visit Ireland, although it was a slightly different experience from a normal holiday as I was dating a British soldier at the time (a long time ago now) and was in quite a tense area.

    I love the beauty of Ireland, the landscape, architecture and colours are wonderful ... it is a beautiful place!

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  5. This was so interesting Irene! The only thing I knew about was the River dancing. HaHaHa Those books look so interesting. It's kind of morbid, but I'm interested in seeing that movie too. I've been following an Irish beauty blogger and she did an interesting post on beauty brands from Ireland. It's definitely a country I want to know more about. Excellent post.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. I don't know any beauty brand from Ireland (not at leastthat I'm aware of) I should really leanr more about Ireland too.
      Well, I don't think it's really that morbid. The film is actually a good one, even though it's not so mainstream. I'd love to hear/read your thoughts on it!

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  6. Love this, Irene! I mean, you know that I have an obsession with Ireland as well. I have so many books about Ireland, I really need to travel there as soon as possible! And I will definitely check out these books! Thanks for the recommendations!

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  7. It 's inspiring how your fascination towards Ireland when you were younger opened doors for you to visit and experience it. I like the Corrs too and was just listening to U2s recent song that was playing on the radio. The film looks intriguing and hope to be able to watch Riverdance live one day. :)

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    1. I'm always happy to find more people who like The Corrs :) I've also been listening U2s new songs in the radio lately, they're good as well!
      I hope you get to watch Riverdance someday too hehe

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