Ireland, Politics and the feeling of Home

Is it possible for a place to call to you? To leave such an indelible imprint in your soul that you choke back tears just thinking about it?

sheep farm

#askingforafriend

I’m not sure exactly when it happened but I was sucked in by the smell of it. The mist, the grass, the peat smoke, the green of it all. When standing on the shore in Waterville, staring at the ocean, I begin to realize I didn’t want to leave.

ring of kerry 2

That’s where it gets complicated. 

For several years, I have thought in earnest about leaving my country. The most recent Presidential campaign has only served to catapult that idea. Growing up in Europe, my idea of paying taxes means the result is great programs and it is something I could never really articulate to those around me. I have never really fit in here even among those who shared my political opinion. My experience of those theories in practice made me “feel” these issues deeply.

Fast forward to November 8, 2016. I cried every day for a month. I still cry sometimes. I weep for the destruction of our institutions and the fact that civility and professionalism aren’t honored. It is all-encompassing and heartbreaking for someone who studied and worked in politics as long as I have.

It won’t likely ever return to the same way it was. 

ring of kerry

Feeling Ireland deeply in my bones and hearing of the election of their first gay Prime Minister gave me pause. Here is a country rooted deeply in religion yet progressive. Isn’t that what we strive for? We should be able to honor everyone’s background and learn from all of them while still doing what’s best and most inclusive for the largest part of the population.

I might have found my new home. 

Coming home to the mess we have in Congress just further pushes me away. I don’t want to live in a place that hates who I am, who my children are, who seeks to take away from the poor. Who will it make us as people if we submit to that? Before you tell me I need to stay and work and fight, I do that. I have been doing that for 20 years in politics. I have walked blocks, served in positions and faithfully voted. I can continue to do that without being physically being here all the time. (Check out Democrats Abroad.)  The truth is that for a short, beautiful time, Ireland made me feel like I belonged there more than my own country does.

So now the hard part. 

The planning and plotting starts. A return trip in the Spring maybe? How will I learn to drive #overthere  ? Talk about stressful! Where will I live? What will I miss? Who knows…but I look forward to dreaming a lot, researching a little and getting busy making it happen.

barney the horse

For your trip, I have ideas!

There are many places you can visit. Many places you can stay but I would like to suggest to you that you stay in the Killarney area. It is just magical and I mean that in all seriousness. If you take a spin in a Killarney Jaunting Car, give Barney a kiss from me! Do not forget to sign up for a Ring of Kerry tour because you won’t believe how beautiful it will look and how amazing it smells. Tell them Michelle sent you!