While on my way to Ireland from the mainland, I stopped in at Britain. While there, I got into a conversation with an Englishman who asked where I was traveling. I told him and he immediately said, “It’s called Ireland because Irishmen are usually angry.”
Now I didn’t want to go to a place where everyone is angry. However I knew that Ireland functioned as a country in most ways and I doubted that everyone could be angry all their waking hours and still get everything done.
I realized that I was getting angry at this Englishman for telling me this. Imagine the astounding amount of racism it took to paint a whole nation as angry. This slow boil of anger was with me and it felt like it would be there for a long time.
Then I realized I was angry so if Ireland was angry, I would fit right in. So I continued on my trek.
When I landed on Ireland I was first greeted by a smiling face. That lifted my angry fog for a moment when I realized the Englishman was full of it. I said “I’m so happy to see your smiling face! I was practically told in Britain that this was Angry Land.”
Her smile fell and she said, “I hope that was an Irish national that told you this.”
“No. A racist Englishman.” My anger fog began to settle in again. I told her what I had been told.
My Englishman encounter preceded me as I traveled through Ireland. Everywhere I went there were angry Irishmen insulting the British. “How dare they name us as a bad stereotype! Down with England!” was a common refrain I heard.
Finally I asked to meet someone who wasn’t angry and finally I was taken to the serene Patrick O’ Mulligee. I talked to him for a few minutes and was suitably impressed by his serenity.
“It’s nice to see proof that this isn’t angry land,” I told him.
“I find the story that Englishman told you almost comical.”
“How do you keep your serenity about the situation?”
“I just think of what I am going to tell the first Englishman I see.”
“And what’s that?”
“I’ll just say that the name of England in Gaelic is Shit Land.”
“Shetland? That’s hardly an insult. Shetland islanders are supposed to be a proud breed.”
“No! Shitland, shitland!”
“There’s nothing wrong with Shetland.”
O’Mulligee got louder and his face turned red and purplish. He screamed, “SHITLAND!” a few more times but with his accent all I heard was “SHETLAND!”
I was sorry that I had come to Ireland. Patrick O’Mulligee and that girl had only lasted a couple minutes before getting angry. As much as I hated to admit it, that Englishman had been right. I suspect I will never visit Ireland again. Even though it is green.