Monday, August 12, 2013

If we had blogs in 1998: Oh my god, it's Kilkenny!

So for whatever reason in the last Ireland post, I said I didn't cover the trip to Kilkenny or the rest of Ireland. That was wrong. I left the journal at home and for whatever reason thought that was it. It wasn't by a longshot. There are pages and pages of my final days in Ireland on that trip.

I'm really sad that I have few memories of anything that happened in this post. Most everything in this journal I can fire up the old memory neurons and reconstruct the memories. For these events, though, no spark.

This post floors me in parts. All of that naivety in the first semester, all of the trivial musings of a kid have been put behind. There's actually evidence of learning here. I even mention Ireland getting EU structural funds that is leading to economic improvement, and this is before I ever took an EU course. I find the intellectual development fascinating to see.

As usual, spelling, grammatical, and factual errors have been preserved.


Thursday night - I made it to Kilkenny (pronounced kill Kenny, as in South Park.) This morning I dragged myself out of bed at 7:30 and went downstairs for an Irish breakfast (it's wonderful to have real breakfast!) What this means is that it consisted of the more familiar American breakfast of eggs. I'd never say that now, because I love European breakfasts. Eggs, too, but would never call one kind of breakfast "real." Went to the bus station - took the 8:45 to Blarney. It was raining and blah. The castle was cool, but the stone was ridiculous. The view was great, and there were very few tourists, much to my liking. In fact, the only other people there were a really nice couple who tried to get me to kiss the slimy stone. Maybe if it had been sunny and dry, but it was puddly wet. I spent too much time there, however, as I missed the 9:45 bus & the next one was at 12:05. So I didn't get to go to Cobh, which I'm kind of disappointed, because I wanted to go to the titanic/emmigration museum. The emmigration part would have been very helpful for my book. Instead, I had to wander around in the rain. I stopped in the tourist office to look at the same old touristy junk I had seen in all the other places. I only went in to get out of the rain, but I quickly found boredom and left soon after entering. Then I went to the Woolen Mills-we-should-have-a-sign-that-says-only-for-rich-people-outlet, spent two minutes there, saw I couldn't afford anything there (and the employees saw it too - not even a hi - in fact, only snotty looks).

After my two minutes, I went to Supervalu, bought a real Diet Coke and a personal size Baily's 14-grams-of-fat Haagen Daas and ate it under the bus stop shelter even though the bus didn't come for another two hours. Then I decided to wait for the Blarney Stone restaurant to open at 10:30am, like Let's Go says. Once again Let's Go failed me (though it's gotten me places this week), because at 10:45am, it still wasn't open. I went to the cafe above supervalu instead, ordering the soup of the day, which happened to be cabbage soup, and a real diet coke. I was so glad I was having real Irish food. I took my time and then figured out the schedule for the day. I actually did a lot of staring at the pages because I was trying to kill time. It didn't go by as slowly as I had predicted, mostly because I spent 45 minutes at that cafe, to eat a bowl of soup and drink two real Diet Cokes. (Having all this real Diet Coke has caused me great problems - I have to go to the bathroom every half hour, if not sooner.) I left the cafe at 11:30 and stood outside listening to Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad until, and even on, the bus. Incredible song. Incredible group. Anyway, my Cobh trip shot, I went to the train station to figure out how to get to Kilkenny. I was pleased to find that I could get there without going through Waterford, though I had an hour layover in Kildare and also had to switch trains in Mallow (where the train was late and I, of course, had to go to the bathroom).

Ireland is in the EU to get its funds, and they are putting those funds to use - everywhere they are improving the lines, I guess to prepare for the upcoming hurricane of tourists that are going to destroy everything in their paths, including Ireland's calm distance from global culture meltdown. Wow. I'm blown away by this insight. Seriously. Just stopped to tell Chris about it. Yes, it's cynical language, but one of the things I found impressive about the smaller towns of Ireland is that they felt like Ireland without the invasive McDonald's/Global Corporate Species taking over the culture. In Ireland these days, bartenders are as likely to be Polish as they are Irish. The difference here is that I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing as I would have back then. I'm glad I was here to see Ireland and not a bunch of hotdog stands and two pound cokes. I don't know what this means. I wonder how bad it is in the summer. Obviously Blarney exists as a town because of their fortune of having a slimy stone to make money off of non-adventurous tourists. The place had a complete absence of character, not unlike Cork, which obviously thrives on the fads of mainland Europe, judging by the shops and the filth of he air, and its number of non-Catholic churches. I have no idea what this means, either.

Dublin is in stark contrast to Cork. Dublin is the biggest city in Ireland, its capital, its big city motif going on. Dublin's air suffocates one's lungs as motor vehicle exhaust rips through the oxygen molecules, sending O's scattering in all directions. Dublin has its run down neighborhood (neighbourhood) I'm glad I never lost my amusement with British u's north of the Liffy (North & South of the River), which may make one wonder how I could love the city so much. Dublin has pick pockets on O'Connell Bridge, hungry children, and drunken punks speaking gibberish to the walls of its buildings. I am not so blind as to be unable to see these problems, problems shared, indeed much worse, in other big cities. But big, when compared to other big cities, Dublin is not. 400,000 people live here, half under 25 due to Trinity & CU Dublin. Guinness keg trucks make their rounds as postmen do. The place is full of historical landmarks, untouched by the horrors of two world wars, though spiritually affected by war with its greedy colonizer next door. Literary greats - many of them - have been inspired by the city's character. I'm going tomorrow.

But today, what happened today? When I got to the train station I found that I had two more hours to kill (total = 4, enough time that I could have gone to Cobh (pronounced Cove). So I stuffed my ever growing pack into a locker and walked for an hour around Cork, then waited for my train. Nothing interesting happened except on the train from Kildare to Kilkenny I sat across from this guy with a broken arm for whom I opened his coffee. He had french fries and I got some because they smelled good. And you got a lot for only a pound. Of course, they weren't fries, they were chips. I had fish & chips for dinner last night. I got them take away and brought them back to the hostel while this strange guy (looked like Rick Hageman) stared at me the whole time. I ended up reading all night, finishing the famine book - incredibly sad; I almost started to cry. I was really down yesterday and this morning too, but I feel fine now. Which reminds me - when I was taking the bus back from Dingle, looking out at the mountains and the water, the Titanic song came on and I couldn't help it - I started crying. Oh god. *rolls eyes* I almost started bawling. I don't think I'll ever forget that feeling. If my eyes weren't so dried out I would probably have tears just thinking about this moment. The truth is, I do remember this. It wasn't that horrible song that did it. I was thinking about all the people who had to leave their country because of British oppression and all the people who starved to death while the British ate all the food. Just think of how many places on Earth the British left a mess. We were smart to revolt before it was too late. I think all the real diet coke is dehydrating me. Probably. I've peed all the water out of my system. Lovely. I should stick with the Tropicana Pure Premium.

Anyway, back to Kilkenny at 8pm, finding a hostel despite the fact there are no street signs in this town, and sitting here writing pages after barely covering a page from yesterday, when I did more, I think. I have a great song title - Walking Under Ladders. Too bad I'm not in the mood for poetry. I never am anymore. Probably because I suck. Truth. I'll stick to prose.

Dublin tomorrow :) then home :)


Today's events: got up at 8am, should have been later. Saw some medival stuff in Kilkenny - Black Abbey, St. Mary's Cathedral, St. Canice's Cathedral, and Kilkenny Castle, which I was upset about because I didn't get to go in. The tour was full. I'll have to go back there some day. Took the 11:40 to Dublin. Love this city. Today reinforced that thought. I got here at 1:30, walked for four hours straight, found our St. Paddy's hostel (15-20 min walk) then just walked - found a Planet Hollywood that wasn't here in August. Temple Bar - found the Kitchen. Bono's club. Temple Bar is awesome. Bar district, very touristy. I can't wait to bring Andrea & Emilee. For St. Patrick's Day weekend. Walked down Grafton Street shopping street - walked the Liffy. The river.

The most interesting things have happened in the past couple hours. I took my shower, sat down to write in the journal, then this guy comes in. He says his name is Andrew, but then everyone calls him Eddy. I guess he's lived in Dublin for awhile, though he's Canadian, and he's been in Amsterdam for several weeks or months, who knows which is true? So we're going to this jazz cafe, so I thought, but he decides he just wants to have a pint in a nearby pub. A Norweigen girl came with us, and we both talked about what an idiot this guy is. I have a pint, she has a coffee, then we hurry out of there. Then I meet a guy named Daren, 27, who is very nice. We're both annoyed by Eddy. He's laying on the top bunk so he can't see us laughing at him. What an idiot. I wish he would pass out. I hope he's this annoying only because he's drunk. Otherwise I feel sorry for Dubliners.

I forgot to mention that while I was in Kilkenny, I had an Irish breakfast at a cafe which had an extremely nice woman as its owner. Very charming, very friendly. Anyway, about Dublin. I'm sad I'm leaving tomorrow, but looking forward to coming back in a couple of weeks. I'm so tired now. I have to get up really early tomorrow, so I guess I'll go to bed now.

No comments:

Post a Comment