Photographer's Note

I don't think there's any point in being Irish if you don't know that the world is going to break your heart eventually.

~ U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan upon hearing of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Whether Sen. Moynihan is correct or not, it's hard to dispute that Ireland has certainly seen more than its fair share of heartache and suffering. This beautiful and desolate spot, Doo Lough, is the site of one of the more famous and tragic events of the Great Famine. I'll go into it in more detail in a future post of this area. Needless to say, this relatively untouched landscape is fairly common in western Ireland, the result of centuries of emigration caused by the Famine and repression in general.

However, one of the few positive developments in the world in recent years, in my opinion, is the apparently lasting resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the explosive economic expansion that Ireland has experienced in the past 10 or 15 years. From being the poorest country in western Europe just 25 years ago, the Republic of Ireland has become wealthier per capita than the UK, Germany, Italy, or France, with per capita GDP on par with the United States. From being a long-time net exporter of its people, Ireland was until the global recession one of the most desirable places in Europe for immigrants to flock to. I didn't think I'd see that kind of progress in my lifetime, let alone the short time that it's occurred. I hope that Sen. Moynihan's statement no longer applies to the future of Ireland.

This isn't meant as a political statement--just an expression of my admiration for the Irish to be able to effect positive change in their country, and to do it so quickly. I loved all of my Europe trip, but the people of Ireland were my favorite--generous, friendly, humorous, and just enjoyable to be around.

One of the few times in Ireland that we got heavily rained on, though it only lasted about 20 minutes. It was clearing up at this point.

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Additional Photos by Clark Monson (cdmonson) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 383 W: 51 N: 1013] (5272)
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