Living My Irish Dreamby Mary Catherine Brouder
- Update on the life of an American filmmaker in Dublin - the making of "A Mighty Man: The Father Gerry Roche Story"
- Spirits Were High Despite Weather at Electric Picnic 2011 - VIDEO
- A native daughter returns home to America - final column
- An American from The Bronx bids farewell to Ireland
- Brown Thomas reminds Dubliners of proud Irish culture this Christmas
. It is available for sale on DVD (please contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dear Rain: in spite of your exhaustive efforts this past weekend, the 2011 Electric Picnic festival was a smash hit.
Armed with galoshes and thick skin, an estimated thirty thousand people enjoyed three days and nights of outdoor music and arts activities on a 600-acre estate in Stradbally, Co. Laois.
Yet, this column seems to be the one I’ve had the most difficulty writing.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve known what I’ve had to write about since the day before my flight departed from Dublin, and I've been avoiding the truth that this is my last column.
Saying goodbye to things isn’t as easy as it looks. Anyone who has ever left home, even for five minutes, will tell you that.
While walking down the busy shopping district of Grafton Street, you’re more likely to hear a melancholy pan flute version of "Carrickfergus," or a squeaky busker’s violin solo of "Danny Boy” floating about the cold streets than one of those hackneyed, tiresomely cheerful Christmas songs.
I’ve seen the famed holiday displays in the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue, and experienced the madness of a midtown Macy’s run far too close to the big day, but this year, I found myself pausing to take in all of the beauty in this year’s Brown Thomas Christmas window display.
It was not without more than a hint of irony that I purchased Barbara Ehrenreich's book, “Nickel & Dimed” on my first day of catering work in 6 years. The book is a classic piece of first-person journalism: the author gives up the life she knows to work various minimum wage jobs around the United States and document her experiences.
I was buying the book so I could talk about it to the journalism students I teach one day a week; when I finished paying for it, I looked down and noticed that I held the book in one hand and my heavy, steel-toe non-slip work boots in a plastic bag in the other hand. I couldn’t help thinking, if I saw this scene in a book, I’d say it was positively contrived for dramatic effect.
Ehrenreich, a well-known writer with a PhD in Biology, worked as a house cleaner, waitress, and Walmart employee, in order to conduct a journalistic experiment. I was preparing to put my two degrees to use as a waitress out of sheer necessity.
The phrase has been playing over and over again in my mind, like a guitar lick you just can’t get out of your head.
For some reason, when you live away from home, holidays and birthdays seem to be the days on which you really take account of what you are doing with your life.
The CDC estimates that between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Here is my story about how the oft-mocked 'Yuppy Flu' changed me from a busy young freelance journalist into a bedridden shadow of my former self.
It started with one of those pesky, but temporary, stomach viruses that keep you within a safe distance of the family bathroom, exactly two years ago , around this time of year.
I knew it at the time: something just wasn't right afterwards. Everyone in my family had it and felt as good as new within 48 hours, but, despite going back to work after 2 days, I could feel that my body was still unwell for a full week.
I ignored it, figured I'd 'gotten a bad dose' of it, and moved on. And for two months, I was fine.
A few weeks ago, I attended an undergraduate graduation ceremony in Dublin. As the youngest of 5 siblings, I’ve been to my fair share of graduations, and I know what they’re usually like.
Somebody – sometimes someone famous – gets on a podium, lauds all of the youngsters for their efforts, and encourages them to “go forth” and triumph, as they have officially become equipped to “take on the world.” If there are other speakers, they pretty much all say the same thing: the world is your oyster, now get out your carving knives.
A few years ago, I found the secret to life while reporting at an Irish Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Bawnboy, Co. Cavan.
I saw a string of Buddhist prayer flags hanging from a clothesline that had the words “Om Mani Padme Hum” scrolled across different pieces of fabric, so I asked one of the residents living there what it meant.
When I was still in my mother’s womb, my older sister, then just 5 years old, was mowed down by a teenage drunk driver. Her skull was fractured, as was her entire pelvis and most of her ribs, and she suffered several injuries to her internal organs.
My sister spent months in the hospital, a year in a wheelchair, and many moons recovering. My mother, the most devoted of any mother I’ve ever witnessed, dedicated every second of those years to bringing her back to full health.
Our friend’s younger brother had lost his life overnight. He had been fighting cancer for the past year and a half, and after having two operations to remove tumors in his jaw and neck, subsequently receiving the news that the cancer had spread to his brain in the form of several inoperable brain tumors, as well as suffering a recent stroke, he lost his battle.
While watching images of Iraqi widows, and processing the contents of a simple text message, I couldn’t help but wonder just how cruel the world really has the audacity to be sometimes.
It started on Saturday night, when I left my laser card in the card machine at a music venue where my friend’s band was performing. Somewhere between typing in the digits on a keypad, and hearing the first blast of the brass section, I left the darned thing behind me.
The following day(after going through two bags of garbage, piece by piece, and tearing up the house), I realized what had happened, and immediately contacted the venue to see if I could come pick up my card. But the woman on the phone referred me to a company that “takes care of that for us.” A company to deal with their lost items? How many people lose that many things?
Apparently a lot. Or at least enough to support a business. Meet WeFoundIt: a 3-month old startup whose business it is to reunite people with their lost items.
Take, for example, a Facebook group created this past Tuesday, “Petition – N21 Barnagh Road Layout” – aimed at drawing attention to a dangerous stretch of road between Abbeyfeale and Newcastle West, Co. Limerick.
“Four people were killed on this road in four weeks,” explains one of the petition’s co-founders , Brian Murphy, of Templeglantine, Co. Limerick.
I saw the little pouch dangling from a shelf in a local discount store, and I immediately decided to investigate what these bracelets are all about.
“Oh Shag Bands, you mean,” a teenager named Aoife tells me. “You wear them and if somebody snaps one, that means you have to do whatever the color means.”
Words to live by, indeed. A good beginning can make all the difference. Maybe sometimes, a good beginning is just possessing those old Irish phrases that will be there for us when we need them, along the way.
It started a few weeks ago on Dame Street in Dublin’s city center.
What was turning out to be one of those painfully quiet nights in a local pub took a turn for the extraordinary thanks to a jaunt to the bathroom. As my sister and I walked down the stairs to the basement toilets, a shock of steel drums, distinctively African rhythms and choral vocals seeped out from behind the door and instinctively set our hips and limbs a-moving. Almost involuntarily.
Still don’t know what Love means,Still don’t know what Love means.
No matter where you go in Dublin’s city center, and many large cities, you’ll almost always find people sitting on the street begging for their keep. There are the young runaways, the sullen addicts, and then there are Roma people, often referred to as gypsies.
Despite the fact that the Roma usually don’t exhibit addictions, have children with them, and maintain distinctly tidy appearances despite their meager means, it’s the Roma I hear my Irish friends and neighbors complaining about the most.
Since France officially began deporting hundreds of Roma families this week, I’ve taken part in more than a few interesting conversations. Several of my friends were, like me, horrified by the measure, but I was surprised to find that many people wholly supported the idea of involuntary deportations.
No matter where you go in Dublin’s city center, and many large cities, you’ll almost always find people sitting on the street begging for their keep. You’ll see young runaways, sullen addicts, and Roma people, often referred to as gypsies.
Despite the fact that the Roma usually don’t exhibit addictions, have children with them, and maintain distinctly tidy appearances despite their meager means, it’s always the Roma people I hear my Irish friends and neighbors complaining about.
As France officially began deporting hundreds of Roma families this week, I took part in more than a few interesting conversations about this blatantly discriminatory new policy. Several of my friends were, like me, horrified, but I was surprised to see how many people fiercely supported the measure.
It’s difficult to be a New Yorker in Ireland on the anniversary of September 11, 2001.
Especially this year, when the city has been caught up in sheer chaos over the proposal to build an Islamic center near the site of the devastation, and a crazed Floridian fame-seeker was threatening to burn copies of the Q’uran if its imam didn’t build the center elsewhere.
All I could think this week was, my city is in pieces right now. And I’m 3,000 miles away.
On the dark country road that leads the way to the Electric Picnic festival, the lights of a giant Ferris wheel peek out over trees and draw us towards them, like moths to flame.
I spent the weekend visiting psychics. Yep, mediums, portals to the other world, fortune tellers, mystics, – however you want to describe them – I visited two of these mysterious beings over the course of two days.
Before you turn to judge, let me give you my terrific justifications for spending good money and time to hear the thoughts of self-proclaimed witches.
I’d just met with a potential financier for a documentary film I’ve been working on with my sister, and after he viewed the product of our 8 months of hard labor, he had brushed it off with a few words.
"I don’t know how to say this... it’s just not what we’re looking for."
An edit room never felt so cold. I looked at the hundreds of soundbites on my Final Cut timeline scornfully, for not proving they were worth their salt. And down at my hands, for the same.
Combing through my email outbox, I count how many resumes I’ve sent out in the last few months. Forty-two, forty-eight, forty-nine; this month’s total hovers around fifty. I’m too tired to count beyond that depressing point.
The only message I’ve received in response is the philosophical one: Nobody wants to hire you!
I came to Ireland from New York City exactly a year ago. It was only supposed to be for a short visit, but like many before me, I fell in love with the land where my father and grandparents were raised, and decided to set up a life here. I’ll stay for a few months, I thought, depending on how well things go.