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Yesterday we said goodbye to Inis Mor. Sad face :(. I can’t believe I fell in love with the Aran Islands. I guess I thought it would be nice… I didn’t suspect it would be so good for my soul. We had not been on the mainland for more than a few hours when I caught myself longing for the rolling fields, the sounds of waves lapping and crashing against the cliffs, and the breezes blowing away any cares. This morning I sit at a picnic table in the hostel courtyard, wishing I were sitting in my spot on the stone fence back in Aran.

Yesterday we went to see some Irish boats, Currachs and hookers. We even saw one in the process of being built as part of a community building activity. Jim was delighted, the girls more reticent at the prospect originally. In a moment of genius or kismet, the seaman sent his young (20 something) son, Connell, to direct the tour. That certainly improved the attention and attitude of the collective. Within minutes frowns turned upside down, and a contagious wave of giggles spread. Directly, the girls engaged in the activity and began asking questions.

The experience I have had so far tells me that studying intercultural communication works easily, but the conjoined aspects I find compelling are identity and narrative. I would probably develop this framework more if I were to lead this trip again. My first Gaelic word was sceal … Story. We are narrative creatures, but no more so is this true than in Eire. Some stories are political, some economic, or cultural, but they are all deeply personal and connect natives to a well spring of identity. And the stories they inherit from their ancestors are fraught with violence, territorialism, and survival. Also stories infused with humor and passion. Storytellers function easily here. Just ask Jim.

Jon McCort from northern ireland said “we don’t learn violence, we inherit it,” …this sentiment was echoed in Tony’s words… “when the conflict arises, the flags come out.” There is a sense that anyone on this island has come from a long tradition of fighting.

It’s time to prep for a meeting. We will be reviewing journals, talking about the next couple days and reviewing what we have learned so far. I will try to remain in the present moment, a challenge since stepping foot off the ferry. Even though we are still on the bay, the only sounds I hear now are city sounds. People, construction, cars. My mind keeps drifting back to the pastoral landscape and the sounds of the sea.

Slan agus Bennacht.

We will be home in two weeks…

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