Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ireland is Old

I don't think here in the US we understand what OLD is. The United States is 238 years old. Columbus found America 522 years ago. 

It took over 140 years to build the Duomo in Florence (Italy). One building. It took 49 years to carve the doors of its Baptistery. It was completed in 1436. Before North America had even been discovered (by the Europeans). 340 years before the United States became an independent country. And the Duomo is still standing.
I don't know anything about the Pyramids, but my guess is, they're older. And they're still standing too. 

My point is, Boston, I love you, but you're a baby. 

Driving around Ireland, I was struck by how old everything is, and I feel this way every time I go to Europe. Here, in this country, we'll never understand and appreciate history, because we have none. Buildings we build today, won't be here in 340 years. 
At first, when we'd see the ruins of a crumbling castle we'd rush to pull the cameras out, "ohmygod, a castle!". By the end of the week, it was a non-enthused pointing, "there's something old." Not that we didn't appreciate and admire it, it was just everywhere. Ireland is living amidst their history.

17th Century Churches are now bars, Dower Houses are hotels, and Castles can be wine museums.

It's amazing to watch Europeans function amongst these buildings without their jaws dropping every time they turn a corner. These buildings are just normal, they're just there. They've always been there, and they probably always will.*

We'll never be as old as Europe. And because we don't build for generations, we'll never be as cool. 

*I understand that many of these buildings wouldn't be standing without conservation efforts. The point is, they're worth saving, and they recognize this enough to do so, without simplu bull-dozing city hall and starting over. 

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