“Real craft is born of necessity, forged in adversity, and perfected over generations.” These words were spoken to me regarding the wonderfully crafted Smithwicks, an exquisite, ruby-red ale famously brewed in the historic town of Kilkenny. Albeit these wise words were spoken from a 21st century holographic depicting a 12th century monk, they ring true nonetheless. This quote has stuck with me and has made me reflect on the crafts that have come to fruition in my short time here in Ireland.
A personal favorite craft of mine is what some call the “gift of gab”, and there is no better place to be for this. Lost in the Dublin train station? No worries, reach out to the older couple to your left. Not only did they point me to the right direction, they gave me a brief history of their colorful life, including their best times in the U.S and all the right places to go throughout Ireland. Wandering about the medieval sections of Kilkenny? Spark a conversation with a local guide, he/she will tell you things that you can’t find in a little tourist handout. Wether it’s a quick haircut with the local barber, a few hours next to an elderly couple listening to traditional Irish music, or refusing to look at Google Maps and just asking for directions, easy conversation is a rich experience and a great way to connect with locals.
Another craft that has been so vital in my life is, of course, the game of basketball. While I haven’t quite perfected it, this craft has brought me much joy in the little time I have been here. I have taken this game for granted. Admittedly, sometimes I have viewed basketball as trivial work or a grueling chore, but I know this is the wrong way to look at such a wonderful game. My craft has allowed me to connect with very many people in the community, be regarded as a leader on the court, looked up to as a coach and mentor, and is a great conversation starter in times of some seemingly uncomfortable small talk.
I look forward to expanding on the crafts that have taken me this far and eager to begin new crafts that this country is bound to bestow upon me