It's all too easy to take something for granted. For instance I once owned an amazing sheepskin coat, that I quickly became used to, yet only realised how much it truly meant to me when it was stolen from me in a club. Similarly, it can be easy to overlook just how brilliant a place Ireland can be. Sometimes it takes a fresh pair of eyes to remind us of ourselves.
The quirks and idiosyncrasies that make Ireland unique can often just melt into the background of daily life for people who live here, yet to a person simply visiting they can provoke a sense of wonder.
This was the experience of Liam Heneghan, an Irish Professor working for DePaul University in Chicago, who was visiting the country with a group of students on a study trip. He recounts how, sitting on the top deck of a Dublin Bus, heading from the airport, a Dublin lad sitting at the back suddenly began rapping. His students were instantly enthralled when they realised that, despite the questionable talents of their commuting MC, he was rapping Kendrick Lamar. They were astounded by the incongruity of the situation.
Prof. Heneghan realised that this sense of astonishment experienced by someone, at the seemingly quotidian and mundane aspects of a new place, doesn't yet have a word to describe it. So he gave it one, and, given he's a Professor, it's suitably mentally complex.
He explains that he came up with it from the Greek allo meaning “other,” and katapliktiko meaning “wonder”. If you would like to impress/get beaten up by your friends, depending on how your friends typically respond to breakdowns of etymology, then feel free to drop that hot nugget of info into casual conversation whenever you so wish.
Prof. Heneghan, has written a blog post detailing the full story behind his inspiration for the word, which you can check out here.