13 June 2007

Random Irish musings

I've had no less than two Irish gents tell me my name ain't Irish. What the?!?! I guess since Haltigan is not as common as O'Leary I may appear less than legitimate. I assured them that both my entire, extended family AND the Irish government agree that I am indeed Irish and they seemed to accept that. It may have helped that I bought them each a pint at the same time.

Speaking of pints, I'm sure most have heard about the pub less than 100 meters from our apartment (that's about 100 yards for all you American suckers.) J. Grogans on Castle Market is one of the few places in Dublin that hasn't received a makeover for the benefit of either the tourists or the new E generation of Eurotrash (I say that with the GREATEST of affection, I aspire to be Eurotrash) In a neighborhood full of affluent shops, chic cafes, trendy pubs and upscale eateries - this place is still all grungy wood, sticky carpet, mishmashed furnishings, cramped and smelly bathrooms and the most random of shelf displays behind the bar. Aside from the requisite liquor bottles and cigarette packs, the shelf has some mail, circa 1987, a package of bandages, several pair of bifocals, a few spare brandy snifters, a half of loaf of bread, an abundance of scribbled notes, some art work and a picture of somebody's mother. Grogan's is half populated with mostly frumpy older men. Slovenly is the order of the day: gray hair desperately in need of cutting, baggy dirty jeans, moth-eaten sweaters, nicotine stained facial hair....

I love every inch of it.

Grogan's has lived up to its reputation as a favorite of artists, writers and just generally creative folks. I feel a bit overwhelmed, stimulated, in awe and unworthy all at the same time. Yet each time we go we strike up a conversation with the loveliest of people, some of whom later turned out to be celebrities of the Irish art world. Looking forward to more adventures there.

Life in the city center is vibrant and noisy. Not complaining - just observing. Most of the noise is a welcome reminder of the new excitement we've invited into our lives. The sound of people talking, laughing and going about the business of their lives is great. A late night scuffle, a romantic spat, tipsy laughter among a group of mates, a guy playing a horn outside our window...all this feels surreal and almost Disney-like. There are two aural items I could do without.
The first being high pitched store alarms going off.
Just about every night.
For a couple hours at a go.

The second thing is the trucks unloading and supplying said stores. Our window opens up on a lane behind a shopping center and everyone gets resupplied via idling diesel trucks right below us at around 6 am each morning.

We are adapting.
We are also sleeping in.

Today was our first day of rain so sleeping in didn't feel like such a guilty pleasure, instead it seemed sort of required. Aside from several short walks, including a trip to the market, we spent the day indoors. Waiting for UPS and lacrosse gear (it arrived - hooray!), catching up on laundry, tidying up, cooking lunch, then dinner. It was a nice breather from the breakneck pace of sight seeing, relaxing, exploring and vacationing we've been doing. ha ha ha.

Speaking of the market, like everything else, it's so unfamiliar that each trip is an adventure. I don't recognize most of the brands and the layout doesn't feel as instinctual to me as an American super market does. Wandering is half the fun, taking my time and deciding what to get. It's like working on a puzzle. Telling myself the whole time - I must be able to carry home all my purchases. One more item to add to the litany of daily reminders that I'm not in Kansas anymore.

Anywho - that's all for now. Hope I wasn't too chatty, sorry to bore if I was.

Cheers from the Emerald City.



Anonymous said...

ahhh, welcome to the world of only be able to buy what you can carry home. i know no other way of life.
i am so happy to hear your tales of american country mice adapting to european city. keep 'em coming! and i miss IMing with you. i'll keep looking for ya...

Fat American said...

Are you trying to shake the North American stigma to progress to Euro Trash? How fun!

Here is what you are leaving behind in your aspirations:


Catchy little ditty.

New York is the greatest if you can get someone to pay the rent.

Chris & Kelly said...

Aaaah, me Shirly. Not that you weren't already held in the highest of esteem by me and your bruddah, but we have a whole new respect for you, City mouse.


Colleen said...

You are probably sick of hearing this, but I love hearing about your adventures.
Maybe you'll be a famous writer someday hanging in the pub.

Becky said...

Ahhhh! I remember that Kelly! Trying to only buy what you can carry, hard for us Americans to get used to! I remember dropping plenty o' bags of goods walking down the streets of Florence.

I loved this post Kel, and I am so glad you are living life to the fullest.

Bandages? Mail from 1987? Did you read it? Was it from Griffin or Sabine? (Like how I threw that in there!!

Anonymous said...

Kelly, how funny you are. Your blogs are filled with rants of an actual writer going about her day. Lovely to read, not boring at the least. Made me laugh to think I would have to shop to carry home. I usually start in the market with a hand held basket and ALWAYS progress to the wagon. How would I possibly get along there? Are you going to arrive home with a sort of American/Irish Brogue? (sp) Eurotrash......ha ha ha tee-hee. love it.