Lads from Germany – made welcome in a remote Celtic community. Celts and Germans were once neighbours and friends, when they lived along the banks of the Rhine and the Rhone – and we can be so again.

Philipp and Sascha (with his scarf)

The leader of the ‘The Living Communities’ cultural group, Liam, showed me his pristine, untamed Ireland. In the northwest of Mayo, we made our way between the rolling green hills and rugged, steep cliffs. Then we went by the Céide Fields, as they are known, one of the island’s stone-age heritage sites and over Achill Island to Westport, a cozy little town with typical Irish pubs.

Even more impressive than the stunning beauty of Nature in the Green Island are the Irish themselves. Tom Hennigan made us most welcome, when visiting his exhibition. He told us, as we partook of his tea and homemade scones, about agriculture and social life in Mayo. The highlight of the trip, however, was meeting Treasa and Uinsíonn. Both live in Ceathrú Thaidhg, a small Gaelic community, far away from the main roads, They speak Irish and they surely love their homeland. They will readily speak of the centuries-old bond between the Irish and German cultures. They invited us to get to know their Real Ireland – a truly moving experience for me!

It was my good fortune to experience an introductory ecotour. Despite my previous trips to Ireland, many new aspects of the Green Island were now brought to my attention. These included e.g. a leisurely stroll through Hennigan’s Heritage Centre in Killasser, the warm welcome extended to me in Ceathrú Thaidhg, a trip to Ballycroy National Park and a journey, in the footsteps of Heinrich Böll, to Achill Island.

Many fine impressions of the holiday remain. First, the incredible landscape – a pleasure for the eye, the lungs and the soul. It could not be more natural! Second, the Gaelic history and culture shown so lovingly. The cultural centres are full of the heart and soul of the local people. Third, comes my contact with the people whose warmth, open-mindedness and sincerity are second to none. Here the ‘céad míle fáilte’ (one-hundred-thousand welcomes) is meant and lived. 

For me it is clear – I will be back.