Ireland is calling. After twenty years of traveling back and forth to Africa to discover what it means to be connected to my ancestors, I'm finally journeying back to the land where so many of lineage raised families and dreamed dreams of a better life for their descendants.
My Nordic ancestors left their homelands for adventure and opportunity and settled in Ireland and Scotland. Vikings, Swedes, and Danes, filled with courage and a desire to explore unknown lands, ventured across the sea and found themselves creating new lives in Ireland. From there many would sail across the vast ocean again and begin new lives in America.
What drove our ancestors to leave the life they knew for new possibilities? There was no way to be certain of what awaited them. There was no easy access to friends and family who had made the trip before them. Perhaps they had received letters of encouragement from a relative but there was no guarantee.
Hope for a brighter future. That's what called. The promise land. Isn't that what we see throughout history? People emigrating to a place that holds promise for a brighter future?
Now I feel as if I have been called to return to the land where so many of my ancestors called "home." I want to stand on the land and feel her ancient rhythms. I want to feel in my bones what my ancestors felt. I want to stand on the wind swept coastline of Northern Ireland and look across to Scotland like so many of my ancestors must have done. I want the elements to whisper to me, bringing old stories and memories into my thoughts. I want to honor those who came before me and recall tales of old while creating new memories and new stories to be told to my descendants.
I found this lovely poem online. It says everything I've been dreaming and feeling. (http://www.thegatheringpoem.com)
“An Irish heart is inspiring Art”
by Brendan Kennelly
An Irish heart is inspiring art,
Calling home wakening ghosts….
On a misty morning, the ships sailed in
Gathering memories, gathering friends,
Like the air of a tune you know by ear,
The gathering of spirit from near and wide,
Gifting me music, flooding my veins,
Druid friendship oft-times Skypeship,
Home again, known again,
A whisper in the Atlantic wind….
Which Celtic line am I from?
Where is the source?
The small walled fields, the gathering hearts
Draw soul and song through time,
Invisible ties of love,
Gathering the scattering in oneness, though apart….
As poets depart for distant shores
we mourn the loss of words unwritten
To spread the whispers of ancient olds,
A people of difference
Extending the miles to retract generations,
I take a thread and pass it through
Rivers, mountains, heather and rocky coastlines,
Through many forms….
A yellow flower and stone fence nuzzling memory
As the wanderers gather
From places far flung,
Embracing all the isle…
So let the piper play and harpist’s fingers dance!
Celebrate with music and with tales
Of great love, of life and death,
Of the ones who were sore to leave Ireland’s shore
Give me the Liberties where I was raised,
And Kevin Street library for books so serene,
5,000 miles from my house to my home….
Gather now with those returning,
Breathing in a thousand years of soil and sea;
Magheroarty, Meenlaragh, Gortahork and Gweedore,
Skimming westward down the sacred mountain,
Each threads together our diaspora,
Across Shorelines, beyond boundaries,
peat bog, salmon race, love sown in my soul,
Riding the tide, Western Skies,
towards my home,
Meet me there, the place that knows,
where the grass meets the sea,
Raining grace across the generations,
The dead urge us on,
Irish hearts are inspiring Art,
A gathering: a global orchestra
by the Irish worldwide