Tag Archives: Culture of Ireland

The Scarred Country

Rushowen, a village, with a small population of about 875, lies tucked away between the undulating hills of the most beautiful countryside in Ireland. Its name is derived from a compilation of two Gaelic words, rush from rois meaning wood and abhainn meaning river, and reveals its natural environment. However, Rushowen was once a bustling town, a summer getaway for the gentry and nobility of the capital city, were as now finally it is left to slumber in forgetfulness. As I walk through the surrounding woodlands and hills I pass many great houses, some still inhabited, and ooze the history and arrogance of their past residents, while others remain just empty shells, ruins without souls, forming silent witnesses of their violent pasts. At one time Catholic gangs targeted these houses, and tried to burn them to the ground, hoping to deter other potential immigrant landowners. In fact, this area has always been in the middle of conflicts, ever since King Henry VIII converted Ireland to Protestantism and Catholics began to fight for their religious rights, equality and independence. However, they had to resort to extreme measures, risking their lives they tried to achieve better living conditions for themselves and their families. Traces of these bloody battles remain, and still dapple the countryside like painful scars.

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