It was a lovely dinner of six hours and delicious food with neighbors from what I have come to call the Gort Glen. Felim had prepared fish shepherds pie and a salad of greens and flowers fresh from their garden. Through bottles of Chardonnay and pots of tea and coffee we wandered through all manner of conversation.
It was impossible not to talk about the travesty being played out in Gaza. And that talk turned to local protests at Shannon Airport. So many US troop planes stop there for refueling as they head to Afghanistan and the Middle East folks here consider the airstrip to be something of a US subsidiary base. They also suspect the planes may be carrying weaponry which would be against all peace accords but Irish officials dance around all questioning saying they are not allowed to comment because of some diplomatic agreement. Recently a friend of those gathered around the dinner table had scaled the airport fence intending to have a closer look at those planes. But she instead had a closer look at a police facility.
The talk that night wasn’t all political but much of it was. And much of it included comment about the US, our policies and actions. How could it not? We are such a dominant force in this world. When Felim and Aisling were getting ready for bed after we all wandered home Aisling suddenly reflected on how much of the dinner conversation included criticism of America. “And here with Judith being an American!” To which Felim quickly replied, “Ah, but there’s a mistake there. Judith is really Irish.” He hadn’t thought about it before making that declaration. But when I saw them the next day he was very excited to share his conclusion with me. “You’re Irish!” he said, throwing his hands in the air. Perhaps the nicest thing anyone has said to me on this Ireland journey.