This wave of Irish nostalgia that I am experiencing could not be dispelled in one post because I really wanted to share some slightly more personal experiences, knowledge and images with you.
The images below reflect this ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Claddagh, as well as some classic Galway daily life and culture.
Galway City is one of the hot Irish tourist attractions. What draws me to it, are the similarities it bears with Cape Town. Some of those being that it is regarded as the cultural centre of Ireland; it is a beautiful coastal city, filled to the brim with tourists in the summer. Most touching of all their cultural history in similarity to Cape Town’s District Six, is The Claddagh District.
The Claddagh is a stretch of land on the seaside port area of Galway, where a very tightly knit group of fisherman and their families settled. The Celtic language and traditions were guarded by them. But without going into too much depth, the similarity to District Six in Cape Town is the fact that there was a time in Galway’s history that the powers that be decided to “do away” with the Claddagh Village. In so doing, the culture and memories of that vital sector of Galway was eroded.
Good news though – like District Six, the folly of history’s ways are being rectified, with renewed interest and development in The Claddagh. It is a desirable, upmarket district to live in, with the architecture of the buildings/houses paying homage to a lost culture.
I raise my glass to St. Paddy for keeping the Irish alive in our hearts on at least one day of the year – internationally. Who would have thought such a small nation, could impact the world so powerfully, what with most global cities who know what is good for them, having at least one Irish Pub. Even in desert cities such as Dubai, we experienced the ‘Irish Village’. (Can you believe it – they even export this ‘Village’ to one of the most prestigious annual events in Dubai – The Dubai Horse Race. And more people are rocking in the village, than there are watching the actual race – I saw this with mine own eyes.)
St. Paddy’s Day (as the Irish commonly refer to it) has brought on a wave of nostalgia in our office, taking us back to the years 2005 – 2008 and 2010. These were the years when we were fortunate and privileged enough to be appointed by one of Ireland’s progressive developers and hoteliers, O’Reilly & Associates, as the Interior Designers & Decorators for some of their hotel projects.
We took hold of the opportunity of showcasing and exporting to Ireland both SA design talent and locally produced products – hard and soft finishes. It was a very exciting time for our company and our base of suppliers.
But more so, it was exciting to become closely involved with the Irish people, their gorgeous country and their culture. This same culture includes a great deal of talking, drinking, socializing and generosity. Having spent so much time there, I adopted some of their language clichés, which were just so expressive to me.
Talking of those parties, despite the Irish economy being so badly hit by the Global Recession (one of the first countries to be deeply touched by the slump) I have absolutely no doubt that the tradition of celebrating St. Paddy’s Day with a hearty get together in some party form, will be the order of the Day – with Guinness in hand. (One thing I could not take to try as I did).
Indulge our nostalgic wave just a little today by allowing us to share some images of our Irish Hotel Projects with you…
HAPPY ST PADDY’S DAY CELEBRATION to all our Irish friends we were privileged to meet during our time in Ireland, a place and its people that remain close to my heart.