Little lamsy divey
Trip Start Aug 25, 2011
47Trip End Sep 26, 2012
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But now I just wait to be picked up for rehearsal. I have a load of laundry on the floor, but I don’t want anything to do with it, so I’ll just avoid it and wish it away. I’m more excited for tonight, when my little brother arrives to Limerick. I haven’t seen my family since August – that’s a long, long time. Gonna show him how to run around town on a Saturday night, Irish style.
So instead of doing anything productive right now, I will just write my blog. A lot has happened since I last left you, on my bus ride up to Dublin. Yeah, I always say that, don’t I? But this time I really mean it. Even though my last post was only two weeks ago, I went to the Dublin Fleadh, moved into a new house, visited a farm, and turned in a super huge hunk of a thesis.
The Dublin Fleadh. I had no idea what to expect. Here’s what I knew – competitions. But the internet was not so trusty this time around, and all I knew is that the fleadh was in Malahide, a little seaside suburb of Dublin. I found the DART to train into town and exited 30 minutes later in a quiet neighborhood, far from Dublin crowds. I asked the man sitting behind the glass where the fleadh might be. He had no clue what I was talking about. My solution? Walk. I didn’t know where it was, nor what time it was on, nor anything else. I walked until I found a gorgeous hotel with eight year old looking girls wearing wedding dresses. Huh? Oh well, no bother, not of interest to me, I had a fleadh to get to! So I spoke with reception. They didn’t have a clue, either, but then one girl asked me if that had anything to do with music in the pubs last night. She said there would be pub music again this night, and she is sure that is the fleadh. Yes, I tell her, the pub music is a part of the fleadh, but there is another part and could you please help me find it? She searched the trusty web and found me the schedule and printed it out. 2011. Sigh. Another girl took over, saying she had a bit more of a clue because yesterday someone came by asking the same thing. Finally, she found the spot- the Malahide Community School, told me that all that was happening tonight was a concert on the green, and pointed me in the right direction. Concert? Tonight? What happened to the competitions I was supposed to see? Is this trip a bust? I thanked her and marched down to the community school anyhow, and thank heavens stuff was going on! Kids everywhere! Running around, playing with their friends, tooting on instruments. I found it! I found it! Today were group competitions. Tomorrow was singing. But of course I would come on wrong day. It’s their fault for not having info. But I could learn enough from watching the groups, so I settled in like a loner creeper watching other people’s children play. Now, imagine this. You attend your younger sibling’s elementary band concert. You sit through it, cringing on the inside because the clarinets are squeaky and no player is in tune. Now, turn it into Irish music. There you have it, the Irish music version of an elementary band concert, squeaky flutes and all! I watched several, some not so bad, some just painful, some kinda fun. And then I had enough, so I left. The weather outside was oh so fine and I was at the beach!
Off I went, through beautiful neighborhoods filled with rich folk homes. Into the icecream shop for indulgence. And out to the water to take a nice relaxing nap while soaking in some sun. But what is that noise I hear? Who are all these people? I hear Highland bagpipes coming closer, closer, hardly a peaceful instrument. Soon I see a tweenager type boy walking through the crowd, tooting on the pipes, followed by children carrying big boats. They looked like scouts, and later I found out they were from the youth yacht club. Re: Rich Kids. They ceremoniously placed the boats in the water and had a bunch of speeches and things. I watched, dumbfounded, then at last gained my senses and ran away.
Malahide is a tiny town with just two main streets, so after a lounge on more peaceful beach rocks and after walking down the streets about 30 times each, I grabbed the DART to head back to town and meet my friend, my (now old) housemate’s girlfriend.
We decided to pass the night by calling up one of her friends and sitting at a quiet pub just off O’Connell street. Surprisingly, even though the pub was quite central, not a tourist was in sight. It’s amazing how tourists really do keep to just one spot. In any heavily touristed city, chances are you will find a simple local haven just around the bend. We sat there from just after 6pm until when they kicked us out at about 1:30am. What?? 7 hours????? Where did the time go? The way the pub told us they were closing was by playing "Time to say goodbye” very loudly on the background music. Tricky, they are.
We taxied back to my friend’s house, just outside of town but probably not terribly safe to walk at night and got a good night’s sleep. The next morning we cooked a little sausage and eggs breakfast and went for a coffee. She was going to join some other friends for a walk in the park, but I left her, needing to return to Limerick for some packing. First, I went to this awful pub to use my food voucher from UL and had a little disagreement on what that voucher meant. Girl tried to charge me 13 euros for my stew and cake, when the voucher said nothing of the sort, but just that I got food and cake. She said, 13 euros is cheaper than what it would be without the voucher. A woman behind me in line started arguing with her, saying that I was right. I thought to myself, well that is just silly. If I am to pay 13 euros, AFTER I already bought that **** voucher from UL, I may as well just grab a sandwich from Spar. But at last, manager woman came by and said I’m fine, and I went off to eat my not so great stew. Why did my food and experience seem so much better when I used the voucher with my Aussie housemate last semester? Oh well, it was still cheap.
When I got home, I realized I had too many things to move to the new house with just my few suitcases, so I decided to pack up one, wheel it over to the new place, and unload its contents in my new room, then return to Thomond for the next couple of nights. Meanwhile, my housemate was in town winning money. Yes, he won 200 euros for some bet on football, so he and his friend were out having a grand time drinking away. This meant that, naturally, they started to call me, and call me, and call me. “Carrie, where are you? Come to town with us! Don’t come to town! Stay in Thomond! What are you doing in town? Why are you going to the new place? Carrie, where are you? Come to town! We’ll meet you at the new place!” and so on. That last bit gave me a slight heart attack. I was in my room of my future house and one of my new housemates, who I just met right then, was sitting on the couch sipping tea, looking quite peaceful. Thank goodness my friends hadn’t a clue where I lived! So I told them plain and simple, “No, you will destroy the peace,” found them, and brought them back to Thomond safely. The next morning my housemate thanked me for not letting him embarrass himself by letting him cause ruckus at the new place. We had a little laugh and imagined the scenario.
Skip past the week when I wrote like mad. Skip to moving day, Thursday. All sorts of emotions, sad and excited. On Wednesday night, I made some lovely enchiladas as a final dinner, packed until I was too tired to go on, and continued in the morning. My way of packing was just throwing everything willy nilly into those squishy bags and cramming them into my suitcases. How did my stuff grow so much? I brought all the stuff over to the new place via my friend’s mom’s car, dropped off my bags, saw loads of people in and out at the place (mayhem!) because the house owner and his brother were running off to Dublin and the other housemate’s friends were there enjoying pints, and I was in and out with my bags. (mayhem!). I returned to Thomond, had a good clean, sat in my now eerily empty room, and gazed out my window. I bid adieu to my housemate, the one who’s been there the whole time, and left. First I visited my two Arkansas friends, who I wouldn’t see before they moved back home, and hung for a few hours. Then, before it got too dark, I grabbed my bike, my last remaining belonging, and cycled into town, ready to start a new chapter of my time in Ireland.
But wait! My new chapter only lasted one night! I moved in, started playing with some bags, figuring out what should go where, and chatted with the people visiting my new housemate. They invited me out with them, but I had to boogy in my room. It looked as if a tornado hit! So work work work, tidy tidy tidy. The next day, tidy tidy part two. I thought I was good to go, but my room is so small and I realized I had one other bag of clothes (mayhem!) so I had to unload and reload, working some magic to get everything into its right place. Then I found a bus to Killarney, leaving the house for a few nights and not really settling in that I had moved, yet.
My (now old) housemate’s girlfriend invited me over to her family’s house for the weekend. She lives in Dublin now, but she often returns to visit her parents. This day was extra special, because her sister was turning 30. I got a farm visit and a party, all in one! Her farm was an hour from Killarney, which had the closest cinema. The closest little town is a place called Caherciveen, which is off the maps except that it is on the Ring of Kerry. A little strange seeing tourist buses drive right past the town, with not one interest, eager to visit the next site. We drove down a windy country road, with just one lane so that cars have to stop and pull over when other cars come the opposite direction. If I were driving these lanes, I’d drive about 2 miles per hour. But the locals, they clipped along at a jolly good pace, making my hair stand on end in fear of my life. And the view, oh the view! She lives in a little house overlooking the ocean, the Dingle Peninsula across the water. And what happens on farms in the Spring? Babies! The farms were filled with baby lambs, baby colts, baby donkeys, baby calves. I pushed aside the sad truth that these sweet faced frolicking baaaaaing critters were destined to be the main ingredient in my shepherd’s pie a few years down the road. The highlights of the trip: 1. Being stuffed silly by my friend’s mom, who was the typical farmer’s wife baking pies and cooking potatoes and always offering me food, 2. Decorating a pub with balloons, just like a cool kid, 3. Watching my friend’s dad call over all his sheep by hollering “BAAA BAAA” so that I could see them all. Just imagine hundreds of sheep running over from all corners of the farm, plus a cow that wanted to join the fun, all baaaing in return. It was hilarious. Sheep r dum, and 4. Hiking to the top of a hill behind my friend’s house and drinking from the lake at the top, untouched by any pollution. I didn’t get sick, which just proves its freshness. I haven’t breathed air that fresh in ages, probably not since I hung out in the Alps 2 years ago (was it really that long?). I liked the farm life. People are friendly, down here. We couldn't pass a car without stopping for a conversation. People say hello when you walk by. We were invited into someone's home and had a full tour and conversation as my friend caught the family up on her life. And everybody asks, "Did you hear the coockoo?" Yes, I did hear the coockoo.
I didn’t want to leave so soon, but I was anxious to get more work done and super anxious to finally relax in my new house. This place is marvelous! It’s across the River Shannon from King John’s Castle, which was built in 1200AD. I hear St. Mary’s church bells every day, which was built in 1168 (or something). To do my groceries or cycle to campus, I have to go past said church and castle. Our house is in the line of fire of tourists, which always offers a plethora of entertainment. We are next door to two pubs, one with live bluegrass every Thursday, one with nice outdoor seating. And my new housemates are great, too. They both work at the Academy – the guy who owns the house is the resident photographer, and the guy renting the room across from me is a guitar teacher. They are hoots, too. Whenever I meet their friends and say I just moved in, their friends always ask if I am prepared. 'Tis a good sign.
So besides getting acclimated to the new place and working on my thesis, little more blog-worthy events happened between move in and now. I went to Glenstal Abbey for the first time on Thursday for rehearsal. Beautiful grounds, beautiful day. We walked around for about an hour and enjoyed tea, as you do when you visit an abbey that used to be a castle on a warm, sunny day. Then, blog worthy note! It got hot! In Ireland! Hot and humid! WHAT IS HAPPENING???!!!!!! As in, uncomfortably hot and humid. Not as bad as Italy or Germany, but still, quite out of the ordinary. Guys were walking around town shirtless, as they do when they don’t know what this uncomfortable feeling is. I had a couple of cylces to get from point A to point B and felt as if I would die. The evenings are quite lovely, though. I finally went out with the new housemates to enjoy a pint in outdoor seating at a place called the Locke Bar. Then they weren’t ready to return home, yet, so off we went to, guess where, COSTELLO’S. I found more people who end up at that sticky place! They found some friends there, and said friends, which included a past Academy guitar teacher, a recent Academy PhD graduate, and a homeless man (at least so he seemed. I still can’t figure out who that guy was), followed us back to the house for a night of more spontaneous fun. Until I went to sleep. Who knows how long the other people stayed, but when I woke up, I would never have known, the place was all tidied up.
But wait! It’s almost 3! I must get ready for our camera rehearsal at Glenstal. Tata for now, and I shall write again, soon enough.