“Unlike the Celtic tribes living in Western Europe and England, the Celts in Ireland were never conquered by the Romans. This gives Ireland a cultural continuity and uniqueness rare in Europe,” says Rick Steves, author of the guidebook Ireland 2016.
To be sure, the rugged green island has endured way more than its share of misfortunes over the epochs. But an enduringly fascinating history, coupled with a return to prosperity not seen in centuries — largely due to software development, embedded in Ireland’s rise as a “knowledge economy” — keeps the country culturally front-and-center.
Getting a jump on St. Patrick’s Day doings, the Rev. Marcus Losack, a priest with the Church of Ireland (a branch of Anglicanism), will appear at St. James Episcopal Church in Hendersonville on February 6 and at First Congregational United Church of Christ on February 7 to offer public workshops on Celtic spirituality and history. With his shaggy beard and affable grin, Rev. Losack looks engaging and approachable, as though he just got off the Appalachian trail and is on his way to the pub for pint. He is the author of two books, Glendalough: A Celtic Pilgrimage, and Rediscovering Saint Patrick: A New History of Origins.
Feb 6: St. James Episcopal Church, Hendersonville, 828-693-9351; Feb. 7, First Congregational United Church of Christ, 692-8630.