Ireland Calling Grannia

I think we got took.  First of all pop is not pop in Ireland.  It is “minerals”.   We sat in a pub to rest and get a cold drink.  The atmosphere was great.  The server was jovial.  The food was good.  The pop (minerals are rocks) was cold and we needed it.  We sat there for awhile in the old creaky building and kept the computer on in case we could connect with anyone from home.  When I asked the server if they had any desserts he said “just me”.   I was pleasantly and very surprised.  So much so I asked him to repeat it.  Then he said other than himself the only thing they had for dessert was Guinness.   I had to pass.   I was driving.   Okay, that’s a lie.  I just don’t drink.   When we were given  the bill it was reasonably priced for the food.    The pop though was 16 euros.  That comes out to about $20.   For a few glasses of pop.  Probably 10 or 12 ounce glasses.  And no, we did not have shots of gold to drink with it.  Straight up pop.   Light on the ice.

I am going to protest and refuse to drink any more pop in Ireland.  I’m sticking to tea.  Well, except for the pop sitting by my side as I write this.  But later, I’ll protest.

The first half of the day was taking my brother’s daughter to all kinds of fun Galway spots.  The pedestrian mall on Quay street and about twenty other streets is always fun.  It is also confusing.  They change names of the streets every block it seems.  The walkways, malls, cafes and shops were packed with people.  Irish people, Canadians wanting to be Irish, Koreans wanting to be Irish, Germans wanting to be Irish, Polish wanting to be Irish, Indians wanting to be Irish.  And of course us, who are Irish.  There was music in the air.  Literally, as every fifty feet or so there was a different musician(s) playing instruments and/or singing.

One young man was playing his guitar and nearly screaming, trying to be louder than the duo singing about a hundred feet from him.  One man was wearing a tux and singing American tunes.  One man had a funky mohawk and was singing Karen Carpenter songs.  One girl played the tin whistle and then the pipes.  We heard a saxophone.  We saw banjo playing duos.  Two young boys were sitting in front of one store, one playing the guitar, both singing.  After one song the one not playing the guitar looked at his buddy and said “that was grand”.  There were fiddles or violins.  The youngest I saw looked to be about 13 and he was playing the guitar.  I hope his parents were close by watching him.  The oldest was probably in his sixties.  It was a lot of music in a very open arena.  It was very difficult to walk away from some of them.  The duo singing the older Irish tunes and rebel songs were my favorite.

The only way to try and describe the people today is….diverse.   I heard at least ten different languages.  I saw another gypsy.  She was sitting on a bridge with her back against the wall with her little paper cup in her hand.  She doesn’t even bother asking for money.  Just holds it there and talks to her self.  I spoke to her but kept moving.  But I spoke to everyone I passed “hi”, “how are you”, “good morning”, “good afternoon”.  Most of the Irish spoke to me, most Americans spoke to me, others looked at me like I had the proverbial horn growing out of my head.  I walked by the man carving the sleeping dog out of sand.  Which, by the way, was incredible.  But when he was done he was rolling a joint.  It could have been a cigarette.  But my story is more bohemian if he is standing in the midst of hundreds of people with a pile of sand he carted in and created a dog out of and rolling and lighting one up.

Then we had the pop scandal incident at a pub.  A nice pub.  The building was probably a couple of hundred years old.  The atmosphere was nice.  As I was leaving I noticed a couple of round tables with beer taps coming right out of the middle of the table.  Metered.  Metered beer taps.   Yeah, pull your self a cold one and run your tab.  Pretty nifty.  But I shall not return!!

Off to the home place.

I tried to sleep.  Could not.  I heard kids playing and cars going by the house.  It dawned on me that those were Irish kids and Irish cars so I got back up.

Our Ireland life is set now.  We spent the early evening visiting family.    Not all visitors to Ireland can say that you know, that they “have family” in Ireland.  Some people try to get away with it by saying their family “came from Ireland”.  I suspect half of them are liars and just wish they were Irish.  But we are the real O’McCoy’s.  Yes sirree we have family.  So went a visiting this evening.  When we left I told Chloe I wish I could pack up this cousin and put her in my pocket and take her every where.  She is vivid and bold and beautiful.  And she made us all laugh.  And feel natural and comfortable in her home.  Yes, family.

We then went to dinner.  Which was very good.  But the best part of my day.  The part that made my heart soar and touch America – was having free wi-fi at the restaurant and calling my children on Skype.   One child called the other.  The other came to the one child’s home.  They called me back.   And as I sat in Ireland, in a restaurant with my Ireland family, my darling little Queen appeared on the screen.

Let me tell you something.  As much as I love Ireland. As much as I wish I could live on Inishmore.  Wearing my Aran sweaters 80% of the year.  Drinking tea the correct and Irish way.  Eating scones and brown bread with marmalade.  Riding a bike from ruin to historical site to ruin.  Living the Irish way.  Developing my own Irish accent.   Writing from the place I love to learn about and be in.  I couldn’t do it.  Ireland has everything.

But her.

And I miss her.