Jon Anleitner ’14 – During our last day in Ireland, we were faced with the task of picking at least one place Dublin to write about. I wanted to go somewhere that was not only going to be educational, but a site that would offer a unique perspective into history. Darius 14’ and I finally decided to go to the National Museum of Ireland to see some extraordinary remains of history. While there, we saw a display of the Bog Bodies, which featured two Iron Age bodies, Old Croghan Man and Clonycavan Man. These bodies were preserved in the bogs of Ireland and date back 2,300 years until their discovery in 2003.
The Bog bodies were so fascinating to see because of how well preserved they were. As I was looking at them, I could still see the creases and veins in the hands of the Bog bodies. The face of one of the Iron Age humans still held facial features that showed how the man looked when he was alive. Scholars suggest that these men were high status individuals who were wealthy and held power. Another theory proposes that these preserved human beings were sacrificed to the gods to ensure that there would be a good harvest the following season.
Ireland’s most contemporary poet, Seamus Heaney, wrote a number of poems inspired by bog bodies. It is sad that he died a couple of days ago, but his inspiration for writing poems of the bog bodies shows the significance they had in his writing. I enjoyed the exhibition of the Bog bodies, and I suggest to anyone who wishes to visit Ireland to go see them.
As I was flying back to America from Ireland, I thought about some of the conversations that I had with the locals. One man that I talked with asked me what are some of the major issues in America. I thought, well, racism still exists, but it is not as bad as it used to be. I told him that in the United States, we are becoming more open about what people can do and have. In response, the man told me that in Ireland, racism is not a problem there but religion is. He continued and stated that there is still religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics. Before he said this, I thought that religious conflict in Europe did not exist like it did many years ago. It was hard for me to understand the religious tension that still exists in Ireland because I have never felt discriminated against for my beliefs. While I was heading back to the States, not only did I gain more of an appreciation for my culture, but also the pleasure that we have to practice our beliefs without religious intolerance.
I am blessed to be a citizen of the United of the States and student of Wabash College. I hope that every Wabash student gets to go on at least one immersion trip before their career ends at Wabash. I think it is very important to the Liberal Arts education that Wabash students go explore another country to see how different it can be in other places. I have had the pleasure of visiting Ireland, and I look forward to seeing some other great countries around the globe!