Stories and storytelling are a important part of Irish culture. As one person told me, “If you have no story to tell, then what good are you here?” After all, stories are a part of our everyday lives and culture. There are many elements to a story: things we use to characterize a story, the places in which it took place, the people one has encountered, and the dialogue that took place. Stories can form new relationships or help make current ones stronger. They bring people together and build a community. Storytelling humanizes, it allows people to find similarities, and differences, and get to know one another in a personal and natural way. Stories are to be found throughout Ireland’s culture through their songs, poetry, dance, and history. An Irish community is based on storytelling and people getting to know one another. I realized just how interconnected Ireland’s culture is with story and song when I walked into Grace’s Pub.
Cloughjordan is a small and quiet village, where the locals know one another by name and visitors stick out like sore thumbs. One night we went to Grace’s Pub to take in the culture of live Irish music. The community that took place in this pub was beautiful. This live music was nothing like typical live music. These people were locals sitting around in a circle playing their instruments and making music simply because they love doing it. There were no crowds, stage, light, or performance taking place. It was simply people who do something with their community the established through playing music. One man told me, “the beauty of this is that even if there wasn’t one person in this pub to listen to them they would still be here playing. They just love to play.” When he said that I thought of field hockey and what it meant to me. It wasn’t the crowd at the games that made me want to play but the feeling I got when I played. Being a part of a team was a community, the girls I played with I loved because we were doing something we all loved, and doing it together makes the sport.
The Cloughjordan community was truly amazing. All of the locals respected one another and played to do something that they love; in a community they love. Throughout the night, one by one, someone would sing and have their little solo. Everyone playing would stop talking or playing, to pay attention to the person during their solo. The respect they had for one another built the sense of community. Their songs they shared were poems and stories passed down from Irish culture and literature. They used their community to keep the Cloughjordan community alive through their love for music and respect for one another.