Episode 4 - Lilies, Glengariff, and a Little Politics

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February 20, 2006

We are sitting here outside on the sunniest day we have seen yet. Spring has begun in Ireland, and this is a shock to our systems, so accustomed as we are to the eight-month winters of Vermont (though it sounds like winter in VT sucks right now—sorry). Yesterday, we went for a walk and saw tulips beginning to bud, and the yard is filling up with small purple flowers—those little signs of spring that come up around June back home. So Bobby and I spent the morning clearing up the yard, moving piles of brush and cleaning lilies that have needed such treatment for the past five years. There are lilies (I think that’s what they are, anyway: daylilies) everywhere, growing out of the old stone wall separating our yard from the road and in little patches all over the lawn. Bobby also spent the morning burying part of the horse.

So now that the sun is shining and we have our little car, we are ready to commence roaming these hills, but starting out slowly just to make sure that the little thing can handle it. Yesterday, we went to Glengariff, which is 17 kilometers up the coast, and a little town of not much consequence (tho I did buy a hat, and it’s lovely). The town actually looks like something of the old west, with its rows of old buildings backed by great, craggy, dusty mountains. There are palm trees too, and you actually see them nearly everywhere. It’s so strange that this chilly little country seems in many ways tropical. It’s as if Wyoming, Vermont and Costa Rica all chipped in design plans.

Anyway, yesterday’s excursion went well, tho it almost seems like they just forgot 5th gear, as she does not like to go even close to fast. Speaking of which, the speed limit on our road—our tiny, windy, hilly and narrow road—is 80 kilometers per hour. That’s 50 miles per hour! It is insane, truly, and we seem to be the only ones who think so, as it is common for others to pass right by, even those who have a big L plastered on the back, a sign that they are still new drivers. Yikes!

We have yet to spend an evening in town, tho we do spend many days there. The internet café where we spend the most time is a little place called Organico, and it reminds us both very much of VT, and specifically Stone Soup (you can see the place in one of the photos). Hopefully, as we become more certain of the integrity of the car, we will check out the pubs, meet some folks, and have some interesting discussions. I am very ignorant about the politics of this country and would like to learn more, but the newspapers seem to focus more on global issues and TV stars than anything local.

Certainly, tho, the political situation here, exclusive of the obvious situation in Northern Ireland, is entirely different from that over in the States. Indeed, this is one of the most beautiful things about this place. The tension and animosity coming from all sides in the US, so thick you feel like you can’t see through it sometimes, simply does not exist here. There is anger, to be sure, but it’s not always on the tips of their tongues. If you ask, tho, they will unapologetically tell you that Bush is not only an obvious and shameless moron, but also, in the words of neighbor Tim, “a real dickhead, like”. Here, they hear about the casualties in Iraq regardless of who the dead are; to these people, civilians’ lives count just as much as American soldiers’. Imagine! Yes, it is another world over here, and it is one where I could stay forever. Ah, but if it weren’t for you folks back home…and my dog…