Monday, May 23, 2011

Good-looking Scots aside.....

There is not one ugly man in Scotland.
Well, in Edinburgh anyway.

I’m serious.

I remember saying this to my husband as we sat sipping our stout in a pub on the Royal Mile in 2007.

(Me) “Have you noticed how good–looking the Scottish men are? …There’s not an ugly one in the lot.”
(Him – eyebrows raised)  “Um…I’m right here
(Me) “Yeah I know…. but seriously, have you noticed?”

The absolutely adorable bartender who had served us brought on this observation.  I should mention here that he was my daughter’s age so I wasn’t looking for myself. I remember wondering if Scotland was too far from Florida for me to suggest a meeting.

After that, I started noticing that pretty much every Scot – regardless of age- looked a bit like either Gerard Butler (P.S. I love you, 300) or Sean Connery.

This turned out to be more or less the theme of the rest of our trip. Good thing my husband was good natured and confident in our relationship.

Good-looking Scots aside – it was also during this trip that I started to really grasp the significance of having a Celtic heritage.

Granted – a Scottish heritage is uniquely different from an Irish heritage – and both the Scots and the Irish won’t hesitate to point that out to you if given 20 minutes over a good pour.

But you can’t walk through Edinburgh castle, stand in the middle of the room where Catherine, Queen of Scots gave birth to King James (yes, of the Bible – that King James) and not be overwhelmed by where you are standing and what those walls must have seen and heard over 500 or so years ago.  It’s not just overwhelming, it is a real ‘holy crap’ moment.

Scottish history is rich. Most of us are familiar with the story of William Wallace, made famous to ignorant Americans in the movie “Braveheart.”  When that movie came out suddenly every non-Celt felt a connection to the Scots and their long and desperate struggle to gain independence from years and years of usurpers. We all wanted to take up our battle-axes in their defense. That lasted…oh…maybe a few months while the movie was popular. Battle-axes are such heavy things after all.

But the heart-wrenching quest for Scottish Independence continues to wage battles in the hearts, minds and on the tongues of many a Scot to this day. And well it should. We Americans take our independence so lightly.

Can you even imagine being occupied by England today? 
Good Lord....…we would be wearing knickers and talking as though we had just eaten a giant dill pickle. (no offense to the British, I’m sure.)

So here I am heading to the other Celtic country…the one of my heritage. Again – a country whose citizens have received unsolicited favor from a monarchy and government whose border does not touch their own. (again - no offense to the British, I’m sure)

Irish history is as rich and tumultuous as Scotland’s.  And I look forward to having many significant moments while under the skies of Eire (Ireland).

I look forward to touching walls that, if they could talk, would paint pictures and tell stories of struggles and battles and peace. 

I look forward to walking on the hallowed ground in a circle of stones. 

I want to look at the moon in the night sky so that when I go back home and look upon the moon again – I will know I’m not that far away from where I come from.

I want to dance at a ceili. I want to have a real guiness. I want to kiss the cheek of an old Irish man.

I want my heritage to imprint itself upon my heart through the people and land of Ireland.

And I guess it would be okay if I had a few good-looking Irish men to look at as well. Just sayin…..