Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Favorite Place in the Whole Wide World

Okay, maybe not THE favorite, but certainly ONE of the places I could just spend eternity. The other day, we visited Trinity College Library where the main attraction is the Book of Kells, but I feel like the Long Room always trumps it. And this time they had an excellent exhibit on the origins of the detective story called "The Body in the Library." Book heaven.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Conversation in Dingle

So here is a conversation between one of my colleagues (C) and an older drunken Irish person (DIP) while we were buying chocolate at the Centra grocery store in Dingle. My colleague's dialogue has been omitted because it hardly matters:

DIP: From America you are, aren't you. What part?
C: .....
DIP: I've been to North Carolina. Horrible, horrible place North Carolina. They have a swamp there.
C: .....
DIP: I've been to New York nine times. Nine times. And Chicago. And Pittsburgh.
C: .....
DIP: Have you been to San Francisco?
C: .....
DIP: I want to go to San Francisco before I die. St. Patrick's cathedral. Market St.
C: .....
DIP: (with increasing volume) Go to San Francisco and die. Go to San Francisco and die. Go to San Francisco and die.
C: .....

(Pictured: a statue of Fungi the dolphin who plays in the harbor at Dingle. Not pictured: drunken Irish person, death, or San Francisco)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Aran Islands Were Beautiful But...

There was a guy with a giant, stuffed red giraffe in the pub. Sad how that is the detail that comes to mind when I'm writing this brief post, while this girl loudly tries to pick up the hostel desk guy because she gave up her job, flew to Ireland for an Irishman, and he, the Irishman, today, the day she arrived, told her that he's decided to get back with his ex-girlfriend. Lessons from travel: 1. Bring an stuffed animal to a pub and you'll be the life of the party. 2. Don't leave your job for an Irishman.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shall We Sligo?

So, I'm in Sligo. Land of Yeats. His epitaph: Cast a cold Eye/ On Life, on Death/ Horseman, pass by. Horseman, you should probably also pass by our hotel about which you should know:

  1. Has no hot water.
  2. Which makes sense since most of the rooms don't have heat.
  3. Each room key opens all rooms.
  4. The owners operate an illegal all-hours pub downstairs, where they have hen parties or at least a gaggle of girls singing Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" at 4:15 in the morning.
  5. They serve a nice breakfast while still cleaning up the broken glass from the bar fight from previous night.
  6. Traditional Irish music sessions include the "Johnny Cash" song "Hurt."
  7. When we tell locals where we stay, they just laugh in an odd way.
My dear, horseman, pass by.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Celtic Cuisine

So I am done with the semester and now preparing for the Ireland trek, much like Star Trek, but in Ireland, not the stars, and with no aliens or pointy ears, except for the faeries. Though some of the students going on the study tour are weird.

In the prep class, we teach them about the Celts. In Dora Jane Hamblin's "Once Maligned, Celts Are Now Touted as the First Europeans," we learn that they were "Wild and woolly...from their notable head and body hair." As you will no doubt remember from my bloging about it over a year ago, my family lore is that we are that genetic stew Scotch-Irish. But clearly from Hamblin's definition I must be some part Celt and if that weren't enough: "They [the woolly Celts] never went in for what the Romans called 'city eating,' that is, elaborate sauces and spices." We all know how I feel about condiments! I have found my people. And they are dead.