There’s an old Irish saying: If you don’t use your power, it will leave you for someone who will. Ireland. ~ A Novel by Frank Delaney
It has been almost two years since we visited Ellis Island and hesitantly gazed east toward the Old World and all the secrets it had in store for us. We have learned so much about our past and our heritage. We have a clearer picture of where we came from, and more comfortable with the uncertainty of where we are going. The immigration stories we heard growing up have come to life on this journey but they would not have been complete for me without a stop in Ireland.
First on our itinerary was Cobh (Irish for Cove) on the southern coast in County Cork. Between 1815 and 1970 over three million people emigrated (people who leave a country or region to live in another one) from the port of Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration. As we stood by the statue of Annie Moore, the first immigrant (a person who comes to a country to live) to be processed after Ellis Island officially opened in 1892, we felt so far from home and so much closer, all in the same moment.
When I stood on “Heartbreak Pier” looking out over the ancient city of Cobh as the Atlantic beckoned in the distance, I realized something. I can remember every moment I surged with the conviction of my own power and every moment I stumbled in doubt. With absolute certainty, the greatest gifts revealed themselves to me when I believed in my own power. What a wonderful lesson to learn from my ancestors as we begin our westward movement, this time toward the New World, but with the wisdom of the Old World billowing our sails. Where we are going on this journey seems so much less important now than who we are becoming.