In 1986 my family and I toured the British Isles. I was expecting to be moved emotionally when we drove around Ireland…the land of my ancestors…and I was. In County Clare I was reduced to tears when I saw the fields… as far as the eye could see, bordered with waist high rock fences…put there by the starving Irish peasants, working for a penny a day. When I told the Irish I was of Irish ancestry, they would grab me by the shoulders, pull me close, look into my eyes and say “You’ve come back!” Such was their grief at the loss of millions of emigrants due to the potato famine.
What took me by complete surprise, however, was how moved I was by the somber Scottish Highlands….the lakes deep in the mountains. There is a majesty about them that has stayed with me. And I still remember standing knee deep in the purple heather of Culloden…the historic battlefield where the Scots lost to the British. You could almost hear the roar of battle, echoing in the wind.
The black Edinburgh Castle perched on the hill also echoed with Scottish lore…as told to us by the tour guide in his thick brogh. It was there where I learned the Scots have long memories… for treason (the Campbell clan) and losses of their culture…the royal Stone of Scone…which was removed to England (since returned I think).
Edinburgh CastleI wish the Scottish well, whatever their decision. In the end, it is their will that should reign.