2013 in Ireland will be different -- the gloom is replaced with optimism. This year all of those who left, all who claim Irish ancestry and all who love Irish culture have been invited back for The Gathering -- the world's ultimate homecoming, running from Galway to Dublin, Cork to Londonderry in Northern Ireland. The Gathering is not an event. It's a year-long series of events and happenings developed by the Irish government.
If no longer -- thank goodness -- the geo-political cockpit of Europe (caught between rival ideologies in the civil war era), Spain cannot be dismissed as a periphery or marginal country out of step with the European project. Spain has all the features of a highly efficient and accountable country, from its ability to produce majority governments from both the respectable left and right, its elaborate system of federalism, and its increased multicultural identity.
Denis is a bona fide shepherd. His life revolves around three things: sheep, dogs and family. The family phone is always ringing with people asking for his help. Though he is a true teacher, it is easy to imagine that he is just as happy being completely alone, on the moors, in the forests, not explaining anything.