Galtarviti LighthouseIceland2


  • A visible mark, such as a footprint, made or left by the passage of a person, animal, or thing.
  • Evidence or an indication of the former presence or existence of something; a vestige.
  • A path or trail that has been beaten out by the passage of animals or people.
  • The sum of the elements of the principal diagonal of a matrix.

To trace

  • to make an impression or imprinting of (a design, pattern, etc.)
  • to go back in history, ancestry, or origin

My father Cornelius Scott was an avid tracer. He loved to make the perfect connection . For  him it was a rite of passage . I guess I have inherited that trait and am sure I can track it all the way backs through my ancestral lineage – people who weave connections together to make sense of the world. I used to think this was a particular aspect of Irish culture – working out who people were, where they were from and what they were made of.

Tracing can take the form of an Olympic sport in rural Ireland – I was informed once “ I’ll tell you exactly who you are” by a very determined stranger. Della – the inimitable landlady of The Royal Oak in Kilmainham was able to track down my vital statistics with applomb.

The Trace usually starts with a few leading questions and then loops and spirals through timelines throwing up a few ancestral red herrings until it is unanimously agreed that you actually are who you claim to be. It can be very unsettling if you have a few skeletons in the closet and the trace is carried out publically.

We live on a small little island and I guess it’s a way of working out what tribe we belong to – a way to establish connection from one soul to another. It happens in Iceland too.

The thing is I am pretty into the whole tracing business myself – making the connections, introducing people and wildly surfing the various degrees of separation. The Steve Jobs Stanford commencement address from 2005 was an epiphany for me – it revealed an obsessive tracing of patterns and connections that all made sense when placed together. This is what makes me come alive……

Call it obsessive dot joining but it took me to Iceland in 2009 and I haven’t stopped tracing crazy patterns since. Monks, Lighthouses, Geese, Swans, Volcanic Ash, Sagas, Vikings, Musicians, Artists, Economists, Politicians, Fish, Mayors, Spirals, Loops, Knitting, Folklore, National Assembly’s, Booms, Busts and beyond.

This is what the ireland : iceland project is all about – connections, dot joining and tracing. I wish my father was here to be part of it although I am sure he is masterminding the whole operation from the stars.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”  Steve Jobs