Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Emerald Isle

Ireland is a beautiful and fascanating country. It has a long history full of peace and war,famine and times of plenty. For about 800 years it was under British rule. Before that, in Roman times it was the home of tribes that were unfriendly to the romans. In the 400s a young man named Patrick was captured by some raiders from Ireland. He was in captivity for six years and then escaped to return to his parents. When he returned he began to study to become a priest. When he became one he returned to Ireland in about 432 to preach Christianity to the mostly pagan population. He succeeded in converting much of the population and Ireland has been a largely Catholic country since, withstanding the persecutions of England. In 1171 Ireland came into the control of England. It was not until 1921 that Ireland regained it's freedom. During the hundreds of years in between sometimes there was peace and sometimes not. Many times throughout their history Catholics were persecuted for their faith. In 1603 land was taken from the Catholics in Nothern Irealnd and given to protestants. There were many other times when things became difficult for the Catholics in Ireland and some times when things became difficult for everyone in Ireland, for instance the potato famine from 1845-1851. But Ireland survived and Irish dancing and music is popular. Ireland is beautiful, it's hills, castles and cliffs are gorgeous. Ireland has an added attraction for me, I am an Irish dancer and I would love to see the country of that dances origin. The people of Ireland are famed for being friendly and welcoming to visitors. On the whole it sounds a delghtful place to visit and I am anxious to visit there myself.

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