“And when that voice starts to whisper
Moana, you’ve come so far
Do you know who you are?”
Identity. It’s something we all struggle with at some point. Moana’s realization and acceptance of her individuality was a turning point in the film. Viewers are filled with excitement and joy for her. The audience feels satisfied that the confusion surrounding Moana’s selfhood has resolved. Believe it or not, her confusion is similar to that of the Irish people’s on national identity.
The Irish experienced a harsh recession years ago which led to parents anglicizing their children. On a site visit to Croke Park, we spoke with the GAA about how the Irish rediscovered and embraced their national identity. The GAA’s formation encouraged Irish citizens to remember their traditions, speak Gaelic, and play Gaelic sports. The result? The strong and proud heritage we know now today.
After four days in Dublin, I can say with certainty that the Irish are passionate, sarcastic, outgoing, flexible, and supportive. Their pride and passion is reiterated with every visit we go on. For example, Pearse Lyons is a distillery created solely to save a landmark and remembers the 100,000 souls buried in the cemetery on site. Sarcasm bleeds through in their humor during everyday interactions. The Irish love to talk to our group; one countryman even stopped on the street to play a song for us before we left for dinner. Flexibility is seen in their approach to life and planning; today for example, there was a last minute change to the itinerary and Darren hardly flinched. Finally, at their roots (the most intense identity factor) Irish support one another. On today’s tour of Croke Park, it was mentioned that there is no shortage of volunteers for the stadium and people will go to great lengths to make sure everyone is safe.
My perception of myself is fluid. An Irish heritage, red hair, originating from Philadelphia/America, a sister, a daughter, a runner, a Supply Chain and BIS major, a world-traveler, and a Christian — these all contribute to my personal identity. Some of this will never change, and others will come and go. What is most important on my list for my personal identity will certainly shift as I join the workforce, get married, and go through other major life events. At the moment, I feel very connected to my Irish heritage. I feel as though I’ve discovered a part of myself I never knew. Reconnecting to my roots was one of my goals during this trip, and four days in, I am so much closer than I ever imagined.