Celtic Currents in the Western Tradition

by bria4123 on February 3, 2012

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The Celtic and Germanic traditions are often left out of Western Civ studies. But they comprise its third leg, along with the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions. We’ll peek at the Celtic world here the Celtic way, with a merry heart. Glass of stout optional.

My friend John Seto, from the California Council For The Humanities, noted the precarious angle of the ladder in the above photo I took on the Aran Islands. It’s Irish logic: passion over practicality. Follow your impulse first, and think later. Am I joking? It’s followed in politics too. Come inside for a story, but don’t trip on the way.

About 10 years ago I read in the San Francisco Chronicle that the national government in Dublin was trying to lower the blood alcohol level people could legally drive with. Too many drunk-driving accidents were happening.

Many of the good folks in Dublin were in an uproar, and they staged a demonstration. The government offered them hospitality by giving them an open house. The hosts started to serve drinks, but had to throw the demonstrators out because they were beginning to damage the building.

I still have a hard time believing the story, and I didn’t save the article, so I can’t tell you the author’s name.

I never witnessed any destructiveness in Ireland. Just lots of loud singing (though there’s an old saying: Is this a private fight, or can anyone get in it?). Many people sang in streets and hotel lobbies. America doesn’t have anything like traditional Irish music because all demographic groups enjoy it–rich and poor, urban and rural, old and young. Ireland is politically divided, but musically united. She has also spawned a lot of great rock artists. The great guitarist Rory Gallagher is one of my favorites.

Mary Murray Delaney, in Of Irish Ways, wrote that the Irish don’t drink as much as most people think they do, but it seems like they tipple because they’re drunk to begin with.

Ireland Forever!

 

 

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