Our walking tour guide began Galway's history with a special nod to Pádraic Ó Conaire—born in Galway in 1882—a writer and ally of the Irish language and independence. His statue is situated in the main square; due to politics, it has been revered and ridiculed, moved several times, and once beheaded. Despite everything it has overcome since its establishment the statue has persevered. Like Ireland itself, Pádraic has endured a lot, yet remains robust and undefeated.
Speaking of enduring individuals, while we traveled in Ireland, Sinead O'Connor died. Coincidentally, I was listening to her memoir in her own voice: this experience felt so bittersweet, like a surprise gift I didn't deserve, and a poignant reminder of how much art means to me personally but also stirs and sustains us all.
I feel compelled to share something from her memoir, Rememberings. She explained that when her career ended after SNL, she felt free! The music industry suppressed that she was a protest singer so they could market her as a pop star. She aimed to use her unparalleled voice to spread light through songs, but also shed light on darkness—a darkness she experienced personally as did so many in Ireland but a darkness no one wanted to acknowledge at the time—abuse, racism, greed. Her words: “They broke my heart and they killed me, but I didn't die. They tried to bury me, they didn't realize I was a seed.” Indeed.