The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by W.B. Yeats -- An Irishman
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, And live alone in the bee-loud glade. And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet's wings. I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, I hear it in the deep heart's core.
In uncertain times, I gather beautiful things – including this poem.
I have never been to Ireland, but I like to dream about those green hills, what might be tucked away in valleys and corners. It is hard to speak about something that feels so familiar, and yet every feeling and thought is just that – a dream. An assumption. Imbedded information based on previous judgments, known stereotypes, or some history lesson I did not fully understand or remember correctly.
This is an important awareness to have, now more than ever: What are these assumptions, and where do they originate from? And how can we challenge them? It is easy to blanket cultures with a broad definition or assumption, but it is not right. The rich diversity of our world and of the human experience is why I keep coming back to this project. Humanity, to me, is constantly evolving, and my relationship to humanity is deepening. It’s exciting. It is why I continue to think globally, and why I call others to try a dish or two for themselves.
What can more equalizing than food? We all need it, and we all like it. About once a week, I chose to step out of my comfort zone, out of my culture, to experience another. This small, simple act echoes within me a deeper call. A call to seek connection and openness, instead of fear and apathy.
I learned from Ireland, through a dish, that simplicity is always timeless. That stew always warms the body and soul, even through difficult times. Ireland has seen such times, and the food was rationed, repetitive, and uninspiring. In the 19th century, diets were reduced to potatoes and milk due to extreme poverty. These hard times still echoes in the humble dishes used to define the cuisine culture of Ireland, including Irish Stew.
You may have had Irish Stew before, at an Irish pub with a Guinness or whiskey in hand. I recommend trying something like this for yourself instead of a restaurant version. Though probably delicious, restaurants would make this quaint, hearty dish into something very elaborate and complex. This recipe is more authentic, affirming the perseverance of this small, but proud, nation.
- lamb shoulder
- Salt and pepper
- vegetable oil
- chicken, veal or beef broth (or water) (I used homemade chicken broth)
- fresh thyme
- russet potatoes
S: “Tasted good. Needed some salt.”
T: “Make your own broth, and consider what kind of broth you’d like beforehand; I used a lighter chicken broth, but added bacon to the pot for little oomph. A beef broth would be dark and delicious, too.”
- The capital of Ireland is Dublin
- The official languages of Ireland are Irish and English
- Ireland was home to four winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in the 20th century, including George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney
- Writer James Joyce, though not a NPP winner, was another significant figure of the 20th century, and is celebrated annually in Ireland on June 16th, also known as “Bloomsday”
- Ireland was also home to prominent scientists and explorers, including Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (discovered the approximate location of South Magnetic Pole), Robert Boyle (known for the formation of Boyle’s Law), & William Thomson, aka Lord Kelvin, whom the temperature unit “Kelvin” is named after
- Irish whiskey dominated the global market at the beginning of the 20th century, producing 90% of the world’s whiskey. This fell to a scant 2% in the 1930s after the Prohibition era in the US and the tariffs placed on whiskey through the Anglo-Irish Trade War