Published: July 28th 2009July 26th 2009
Seen in a T-shirt shop
The Irish seem to love Obama, whose mother was of Irish heritage.
This will probably be my last post from Ireland, a somewhat random collection of comments and photos. I'm posting this just as, back in the States, Bob and the boys are leaving for Logan aiport, on their way to London!
Our students all left on Saturday, most home to the States, a few to travel a bit further in Ireland or the U.K. I have had a few days since then to just relax and explore Dublin.
Mike and I saw a fabulous production of Richard Sheridan’s The Rivals at the Abbey Theater. The Abbey is Ireland’s National Theater, founded by W.B. Yeats and others in 1904. The Rivals was written in 1775, and is a comedy about marriage prospects, somewhere in between Much Ado About Nothing and The Importance of Being Earnest. The acting, costume, and staging were all first rate.
I also saw a play called The Poor Mouth at a very small 66-seat theater. This was a two actor show, basically a satire on the kind of Irish language memoir and story that really dwells on the pain, misery, bad luck, and bad weather that is the fate of those who are from the west
Rainbow from Ha'penny Bridge
Frequent rainbow sightings are one benefit of having the weather so changeable. It is often raining and sunny at the same time!
of Ireland. The comedy was a little broad, but enjoyable.
One aspect of being in Ireland in July that I’ve become used to is that there are mobs of Italian teen-agers everywhere. We first encountered these groups staying on the campus of NUI-Galway with us, and there are more of them here in Dublin. Apparently, there is a tradition among the Italian, to send their children to Ireland for 2-3 weeks in the summer to learn English. (You wonder what sort of accent they end up with, don’t you?) They seem to be under-chaperoned, and they travel in large groups, blocking sidewalks and doorways. They seem to all wear tight jeans, glittery shoes, and lots of scarves. The boys wear tight jeans and t-shirts or soccer shirts.
Dublin's been bustling with lots of other visitors in the last few days, as the home town boys, U2, are in town for three concerts at Croke Park (80,000 people for each show.) I will not be attending, myself, but I've heard the sounds of the concerts from my window at Dublin City University. People from all over Europe are here for the show. Mike explained to me an element of
the Irish psyche called "begrudgery", which is basically the idea that people need to be kept humble. No one, least of all an Irish person, should be allowed to think themselves too important or great. Bono comes in for a lot of this attitude from the Irish, although you can sense real pride in his success and his good work, as well. A cab driver told us, in a somewhat mocking tone, that if you go to a U2 concert, you need to be prepared to listen to Bono ramble on about Africa for half an hour. He told us another story about a U2 concert:
Bono is on stage, clapping his hands every second or two, and he says "Every time I clap my hands, a child dies in Africa." Someone in the crowd yells out, "Well, then stop clapping your f___ing hands!"
I'll be sorry to leave Ireland, but I'm meeting my family at the Dublin airport early Wednesday morning, and we all fly to London for our holiday. I hope to enlist my boys' help continuing the blog from there. Thanks to all who've been reading and commenting!
One last encounter with the Irish
Our group at the Guinness Storehouse
Not an official field trip, but an established tradition is a visit to the Guinness Storehouse after the course exam is done. The Gravity Bar, seven stories up, has panoramic views of the city, and really excellent stout. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout......mmmmmm.
to relate. When we first go to Dublin, we shared our flat with a 76-year old gentleman, originally from Ireland, who had lived most of his life in Canada. (He left Ireland at age 16, as it turns out, with a companion named Joe Glennon! My sense is that it is a common surname in many areas of Ireland.) I got a lot of information about his life, in a very short time, and he apologized for telling me his whole life story. But when I said good bye, he said “God Bless You, Sara.” Then he added “I say that only out of habit, not out of sincerity.” (!) I think there's something very Irish about that.
And.....for those of you wondering, "What happened to the socks, Sara?" I have the announcement that I've just finished one pair of socks! Voila. These were not difficult, but the legs seemed to take forever, just knitting around and around. I am really happy with how they look and how they fit. I've already begun another pair...perhaps those will be done before we leave London.
There are more photos below