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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Johansen


Driving in Ireland can be a bit of a challenge, although I’ve always enjoyed it. Staying to the left is no problem, because the driver’s seat is on the right, so you just have to keep yourself in the middle of the road. Let your passenger worry about the hedges encroaching from the left.

No, the bigger problem is getting lost, even with a navigation system. The last one we had tried to steer us into the center of every small town we passed by – to shop, to go into the pubs, to help the Irish economy. So we stopped paying attention to it.

So we were lost in the southwest of Ireland, when I saw what at first I thought was a road sign for a town I knew – Athenry. But in truth, over 30 trips to Ireland, I’ve not actually been to Athenry.

It’s a town I know from a song, The Fields of Anthenry, which has become a theme song for Irish rugby.

If you know Irish history, you understand that the song is a rebel one, crying out against an Gorta mor, the great hunger, crying out against English oppression.

And if you think about it, you realize what Bob Marley realized in a very different situation: songs of freedom are redemption songs.

All we ever have, redemption songs.

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