An American girl in Dublinby Annie Tanner
- From the birthplace of Harry Potter to a maze of streets, a weekend in Edinburgh
- Can we talk? Frustration of dealing with the Irish inability to share
- Wet Wicklow weekends full of rolling hills and outdoor activity
- Honored and blessed, singing Handel's "Messiah" at the Clifden Arts Festival
- Launching into European travel, leaving Dublin to visit London and Great Missenden
Kev was working in Scotland for the week and I’ve wanted to go to Edinburgh all year, so I jumped at the opportunity to fly over and meet him there for the weekend, then take the train down to London together for the week. I was hyper-conscious of needing to get up so early on Friday (4:15am) that I got no sleep Thursday night. I had a great taxi driver to the airport, ate a nasty egg and cheese Burger King breakfast sandwich, and walked up to my gate just as they announced boarding.
IrishCentral's "Why can't we ask for help?" week, focusing on mental health awareness, has gotten me thinking about something that I’ve struggled with as an American trying to fit into Irish culture and habits this year. It’s something that I’ve started describing as “existing in the emotional middle ground.”
As a mass generalization, I think Americans tend to share more of their personal lives with their larger social group than Irish people do. I think we wear our hearts on our sleeves a bit more, and we celebrate the good things more loudly and lament the bad things more dramatically. For better or for worse.
I think one of the best things about Dublin is that CountyWicklow is right next door. “The Garden County,” full of rolling hills, sandy beaches, nice towns, and lots of outdoor activity potential, has been a major weekend destination for me over the years I’ve spent visiting and living in Dublin. Here are two recent weekends I spent there.
Last spring I auditioned for a choir here in Dublin. I only got to go to a few of their rehearsals before we broke for the summer, but when we started back up in early September, we began preparing to sing Handel’s "Messiah" in the Clifden Arts Festival.
Sadly for us, but sadder for the jockeys, Saturday really felt like the first day of winter: it was cold and wet and cloudy and altogether dismal all day. That didn’t seem to stop any of the women competing for Best Dressed however! And, thinking back on it, the height of the heels and the hemlines of the skirts and the delicacy of the hats and fascinators did sprinkle a little bit more life into the grey day. Despite my very best efforts, I'm ashamed to say I did not win.
Oh, it’s been a while. The crazy hours at work have finished, kids are back in school, and summer is gone. I thought that being out of the educational system would mean that September no longer felt like the beginning of the year to me, but it absolutely does, and particularly right now as my day-to-day life is in the process of changing quite a bit.
corny now, but I also want to mention that I felt very aware of how lucky I was all night. Lying in a field watching a meteor shower in Ireland? Pretty amazing as a young woman from a foreign country that basically idolizes this place. So many American college students come to Ireland to study abroad every year, many of them really wanting the "real" experience - to befriend natives and get to see wonderful things without being tourists - but, just as anyone does when put anywhere foreign, many end up only spending time with other Americans, and entertaining themselves the same way they would back on campus. I know that I'm having the experience they hope to have, and it takes special moments like Monday night to remind me not to take that for granted.
I have been working a huge amount of hours at work the last two or three weeks due to school book end-of-summer madness - I worked 16 days in a row, had two off, and am now in the middle of a 12 day stint. I am tired, I am not getting anything done in the evenings, I am a little bit cranky. All that was OK last week though, because I was looking forward to a very special outing on Friday after work: I bought Kev and myself tickets to Riverdance! Deedle-ee-ay-di-ay!
It's playing at the Gaiety Theater all summer, and I finally got my act together and booked two of the second-cheapest seats (35 euros each), which put us in the third or fourth row of the highest seating area.
It is now August – as always, the summer is just shooting on by. The heat wave finally broke here, and today was actually downright chilly. In New England, August is the hottest and muggiest month of the year, but in Ireland, August is already looking towards fall. I’m much more of a jeans and a jacket type of gal rather than shorts and tank tops though, and I get sunburned after about three minutes in light, so I’m definitely not complaining.
It is hot in Dublin! Not just sunny, not just cloudless, but properly hot. It’s great! And this Irish “heatwave of the decade” (mid 80s Fahrenheit I'd say) is sooo preferable to the heatwave going on at home at the moment (mid 90s and very very humid). As you can imagine, everyone here is delighted but slightly uncomfortable since normally an Irish summer would be lucky to have two or three days like this sprinkled across June and July rather than a solid week of it in one go.
I had the day off on Monday, and I had some [more] American house guests [again!], so I woke them up with some lovely brown bread from the Bretzel Bakery and all the toppings I could come up with from my cupboard and fridge. (Cheddar, Ballymaloe relish, fresh basil from my exciting new basil plant, honey, butter, peanut butter, and jam.)
After feasting – we didn’t even sit, just ate over the cutting boards in the kitchen – I took them into town to get on the DART for a day out!
Anyone want anything from the States?
(Although any country that gives you the choice "rice or chips?" when ordering Chinese food is the country for me.)
While it may not have a world-renowned culinary tradition, it does have a whole slew of Irish-made food products easily found in any grocery store that I have come to love.
What a woman. What a museum!
(Good luck this weekend Mom!)