Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ireland Tour: The Early Days

Well, folks, I've now been in Ireland for three full days, and since I have Internet access now and may never again, I figured I'd better write something sooner rather than later. So here you have it: everything I've learned about Ireland in just under 72 hours.

Lesson #1: Doors can be (and, in the case of Ireland, are) an art form. From the houses I've seen so far, I think most people put more effort into the design and upkeep of their front doors than they do the upkeep of the entire rest of their lives. There have been green doors, purple doors, hot pink doors, even two striped doors, which really just seemed like overkill. Clearly, in this country, non-creative people are not allowed.

Lesson #2: The stereotype of 'creepy toothless Irish dude with heavy brogue who sits at the bar and hits on girls' is real and takes a human form in a man named David, whom we met last night at the pub. (Yes we went out on Wednesday. And also Tuesday. YOLO.) (Also, recall that the drinking age here is 18; none of this is illegal; please no one revoke my scholarship.) This man literally had no front teeth. I'm fairly certain he was sitting at the bar for the entire time we were there. Strangely, he knows exactly where Indiana is. I was more than a little creeped out by David.

Lesson #3, as taught by the principal of St. Louis Primary School, Dublin: Notre Dame is in Idaho.

Lesson #3B: In Ireland, toothless bar creeps know American geography, and elementary school principals do not. I am concerned for this country.

Lesson #4: Hostels. Are. The. Sketchiest. Supposedly, the hostel we stayed in in Dublin was, by hostel standards, pretty luxurious. When we arrived, half of our rooms were not ready. The free wifi only worked in the lobby (#firstworldproblems). I spent most of today thinking my cell phone had been stolen by one of the front desk clerks/cleaning guys who, while attractive, were highly shady. (For the record, it's not lost. I found it in my suitcase where two-days-younger me had apparently tried to hide it from current me.) You had to press the 'faucet' every six seconds or so to keep the water on in the shower, and each time, you risked the water coming out at an absolute trickle.The exception to this sketchiness was the hostel cafe, The Bald Barista. Not only was this cafe lovely, but it also had an actual bald barista! The complete lack of irony thrills me! The rest of the hostel, however, did not. Hostels suck.

Lesson #5: Irish countryside >>>>> Dublin

Lesson #6: In direct opposition to hostels, host families are the best thing in the world. My host parents for the night, Peter and Phil (who is a woman, by the way) are 'semi-retired', liberal playwrights. Their house is completely adorable, and their neighborhood is as perfect as Privet Drive with the joy and cuteness of Sesame Street. After our concert tonight, their neighbor and the two Folk Choir boys she's hosting came over for tea and desserts. They made us cupcakes with sprinkles and smiley faces on them. And just when I started to think that P-Squared - as I've been affectionately calling them since just now when I made it up - surely cannot be real and must simply be cyborgs crafted by the cute factory, they wowed us with over an hour of lively discussion about Irish history and more knowledge of American politics than I ever had, and I'm an American Studies major. I love these people. If I could convince them to adopt me, I would probably never return to the US ever again.

Lesson #7: Small-town Irish priests should never be given the last word at a concert, because they will talk for 15 minutes. We learned this lesson firsthand at the concert tonight. Father Willie (not making this up), we love you. But had you said 'Oh and one more thing' one more time, the Teach Bhride-ers in the front row would have actually died from laughing so hard, and I would eventually have lost the ability to stand on my blistered, sore feet and simply collapsed in a heap on the altar.

Lesson #8: The human nose is simply not meant to be in close proximity to a bus-aisle floor. And on a related note...

Lesson #8B: Angels can, in fact, get nosebleeds.

At this point, since the clock on this computer reads '00:46,' I suppose I had better go to bed. Keep your eyes peeled for another post soon, hopefully, and if you don't see one, be prepared for a monster post once I get back. May the road rise to meet you, readers, and may you always stay with host families and not in hostels.

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