photo: Madawaska, Maine
About: I'm Jen. I live a few miles outside of Boston. I do web work for a non-profit during the day.
This web page has been in all sorts of forms since 1994 when I first wrote HTML in emacs on a Unix terminal at BU. Now I prefer BBEdit on my Mac. I'm never quite sure why I'm doing this
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July 22, 2008
Writing from the past - first trip to Ireland
It was 8 years ago today that I flew across the Atlantic for the first time and eventually made my way to Ireland.
Found this bit that I wrote from an internet cafe in Galway on an old cd and am posting it with some updates in italics.
My trip is almost over. No good. We're in Galway city. I'm in love with Doolin, on the coast of Clare.
We rented a car in Dublin. Hilary and I went to the airport and picked it up. We did ok until I tried to pull up to my left side to pick up Kelly and Kathy at the hostel (Kinlay House - Lord Edward St in Dublin). I scraped the hell out of one of the hubcaps. It was loose so I kicked it back on; it was a cheap plastic one. We piled into the Opel and off we went. Somewhere near the Guinness Brewery the hubcap flew into the air and almost decapitated a nice woman who called me a "stupid girl." Ah well. The hubcap went into the trunk.
We drove to some small town in Kildare and had lunch at a pub. We ended the day in Cashel, Co. Tipperary. I drove past a sign for Roscrea, which if my memory serves me right is where my cousins lived for a bit (I was right and 6 years later I was to spend a week in Roscrea with my cousins). Kind of exciting! We stayed at a hostel there and hung out at the local pub. I drank Coke and ate cheese and onion crisps. A young boy set up keyboards and wowed the crowd with American country tunes. It was odd. everyone sang all of the words--we were in the young kids pub. (I remember hearing them whisper "they're Americans" when we walked in) At home he would've been laughed out of the place, but this was so sweet. Afterward the pub turned into a disco in the back, but we walked home.
The next day Hilary tried to buy shoes from Joe Ddargan at his cluttered sport shop in Cashel. He couldn't find the left shoe so we walked along. We were in a market buying some food when little old Joe Dargan came hobbling in looking for Hilary-he found the shoe! So she bought them for 20 pounds.
We toured a small museum on some woman's property (It had things like a bunch of a nun's hair and pictures of dead men in a field!) and then jumped back in the car. This time it was Kathy driving and... well, lets just say we encountered a busy funeral somewhere in Limerick. Kathy almost took out the side mirrors of 2 cars. She smacked one hard, but the fella just smiled--it was already broken, you see. The second one wasn't hurt so we drove on. This left side driving is hard to maneuver.
After a bit of a ride we stumbled into Doolin. After a few attempts at b&bs we got 2 rooms in Bridie Shannon's house--2 doors away from Gus O'Connor's pub. Aw, Bridie was excellent. 12 pounds a night and Irish breakfast in the morning. That night we walked down to the beach--Ii sat on a rock, ate a scone and did some writing while the others explored. Hilary soon went to bed and the other 2 and myself sat outside O'Connors. We befriended a young drunken fella called Markus + his two friends Philip and John John. We spent the rest of the night with them. Once inside O'Connors--the guys inside played 'Dirty Old Town' and I sang along--thrilled to hear it. Kelly and John John did some irish step dancing and Markus impressed us all with his drunken crudeness. Philip is a graphic designer from Dublin so he and I chatted for a good hour. He uses Macs like me. He was in Doolin to do some surfing and then drive down the coast to Kerry for some more surfing. He told us about a dolphin in Doolin that had been hanging out near a cave under the cliffs.By the end of the night we had a plan to meet them at noon to swim with the dolphin.
Breakfast with Bridie was nice except I opened my mouth and told her where we were off to. "Ah," she said, "that's a grave yard and that dolphin is nothing but an animal!" Ii told her who Ii was going with and she lowered her eyes and said "ah" a few more times and that "closed mouths catch no flies" and that i shouldn't go.
We went anyway.
Philip led us to a dirt road which we walked down until we hit a barbed wire fence. We climbed that and then practically slid down a grass/mud hill. We reached the cliffs and I was amazed. It made the New England coast look boring. My god, it was beautiful. Kathy, Kelly, and Hilary borrowed 3 wetsuits--there were only 3, I said go ahead--and jumped in. It was cold and drizzly, but they stayed in until the dolphin came. Wow. You can't even imagine. There were loads of Irish boys smoking weed and saying things I couldn't understand. They were diving off of cliffs 70 feet in the air. We videotaped a lot of it. Afterward it was another meal of fish and chips at O'Connor's and a few hours with the boys in the pub. We had a whole crew--Adrian, Murty, Markus, Philip, John John, Paul, and a couple more; they all looked the same to me after a while. This is the friendliest place Ii've ever been. I''ve had more conversations with random strangers who just walked up to me to chat. We sadly said goodbye and took off for Galway.
We got into Galway city around 8:30pm, found a cheap room in a hostel and ran off to see Shane MacGowan play at a local theatre. The show was amazing. He played Dirty Old Town, A Pair of Brown Eyes, oh just every song I could want to hear. Hhe was surely trashed -- had a pint and a cigarette with him at all times. We left just short of the end and went to Fibber Magee's in the city centre. Some more coke and crisps for me and pints for my friends. I hated our hostel. We slept in a room with 7 other people--loud Swiss people.
This morning I'm suffering with a killer sore throat, but have trekked all around Galway. What a great little city. We need to take off soon for the closest we can get to Dublin without being in the city (we ended up in Malahide). Tomorrow we fly to London and then home.
I don't recall... I don't think i've written about it, but we visited the Rrock of Cashel in Tipperary. The sun was setting--we were on a hill surrounded by cows and buildings that were hundreds and hundreds of years old. The sky was the bluest I've ever seen. It was unreal.
I'm feeling sleepy and I'm to meet Hilary in the park up the road soon. i'd like to fall asleep. Maybe I'm hungry, too. I had the best apple pie with cream for lunch. There's more to say, but I'll end here. Be home tomorrow night. I'll be exhausted, no doubt. I need to come back to this place.
So 8 years later and I'm very grateful that I've made it back twice since and happy to have been reminded, by finding a random cd of writing, that it was 8 years ago today that I flew the farthest I'd ever flown.
Posted by Jen on July 22, 2008