Hannah O'Donnell

22. English Gradute. Londoner. Studying for an MA in Irish Studies.

Finally seeing a light at the end of this year long Masters tunnel. Writing is in full swing, Yeats is ma bitch. Never thought I’d say that…

Coming to the end of my Masters and it’s a bit of reflecting time…Its these two people pictured that inspired me to pursue such a ‘unique’ masters. I mean what am I actually going to do with an MA in Irish Studies? I remember being 4/5/6+ and sitting at my grandparents house at the weekends and just hearing stories about Ireland and the farm, the gate lodge and going to church on sundays on the cart driven by Bess the horse and the fairies…Especially Ebenezer who’d managed to make his way over the Irish sea to our back garden… How my Nana was schooled over there and she had to walk for miles…but ultimately it was the passion and the love they both filled their words and stories with when they told me about Ireland. About how even though they were really Londoners born and bred, Ireland was home. It was where they came from and were so fiercely proud of coming from. They were Irish, before they were English. Their friends from Church always used to tell me how Celtic I looked and I loved it, it gave me that minor connection to understanding what my Nana and Granddad loved so dearly. 

This last year has been one of the most testing of my life, I’ve balanced a full time Masters with a full time job I have not been a fan of, but in a week I would’ve done it. Written a thesis and handed it in, and it was all because of the passion and connection I felt to a heritage I was taught so much about, even though I’ve not really visited Ireland much…I still feel like in a way, it’s my home too. It’s where my paternal grandparents were from (sort of…) and where my maternal grandparents were from, and I never got to meet them. This tiny Island to the West of us, somehow makes me feel encompassed by so many histories that I am still learning so much of and for that, the exhaustion I feel right now is so worth it. 

"Ní neart go cur le chéile"

We have the limitations of dawn. They have the limitations of sunset.

—W.B.Yeats- ‘Hopes and Fears for Irish Literature’ 1892

Never forget, who you are and why you are here.

You are here for a purpose, even in the times that you feel that you are not.

Someone, somewhere needs you, yes. But the person who needs you most of all, is you.