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The intangibles



There is much in history and (social) sciences that can be quantified and measured, and hence proper studies made and more than reasonable conclusions reached. I even dare to think of myself as a “cultural geographer” on indefinite hiatus, and often fantasise with putting together all the perceptual elements linking the Irish and Galician views, appropriation and use of space – the living territory – one of these days.

But then one hits the intangibles, that which cannot be perceived by the senses, impervious to analysis, impalpable, out of reach to mere humans perhaps. Yet they do exist.

Maybe someday I’ll manage to simply list (let alone systematising or rationalising anything) the countless shared elements in both countries, the plethora of personal experiences intuitively connecting the dots along the so-called Celtic Nations, the all too frequent moments of “you’ll have to take my word for it” because “jaysus bhoy, this is exactly the same where I come from, in a weird and almost creepy way and I can’t even start putting into words”. That sort of thing.

Bertie, you crook. Apart from the language barrier, you could be any of a thousand Galician politicians, and any of them could happily join the ranks of Fianna Fáil (or Fine Gael for that matter); nobody would notice. I knew you before I ever heard your name, and you will continue to run for our elections after you are dead. Just like giving directions in a most peculiar way, or messing with field markers, you are an intangible.

I honestly wish I could convey how Galicia and Ireland are joined at the hip on so many levels, through so many layers. It is so obvious and still so hard to verbalise it’s painful. You’ll have to take my word for it.

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