In The Glen: Miriam in Ireland, 2017

In The Glen: Miriam in Ireland, 2017

Despite my best intentions, I didn’t actually succeed in writing and scheduling posts to cover my trip to Ireland. I managed one — and that posted while I still had reliable WiFi, whereas now it’s in distinctly short supply. So, that didn’t quite work out as planned. 

Due to the aforementioned lack of internet, this’ll be a short post, and I’ll have to give detailed updates at a later stage.

I’m currently in Glencolumbkille, having made the seemingly interminable bus journey from Dublin to Donegal and then, after wandering the length and breadth of Donegal Town for a day, a shorter bus journey out here to the back end of nowhere. It’s very beautiful, but hilly; although I haven’t opted for the hillwalking option, I’ve still been getting quite the workout. 

So far, the weather has been unexpectedly nice, which has been great for appreciating the scenery. It’s supposed to change tomorrow, though, at which point I’ll be very sad about having ripped one of the only two pairs of trousers I brought with me. 

The Irish classes haven’t been too difficult in and of themselves, but the course itself has been quite overwhelming. The introductory talk on the first night was predominantly in Irish with some — but not all — of it also translates into English. The same had been true of other talks and workshops, and of course, whenever people talk to me in Irish I just totally blank, even if they’re only asking me my name (which is about the only question I know how to answer). 

In the afternoons I’ve been doing set dancing. I thought about opting for the tin whistle workshop, but it’s aimed at beginners, so I probably wouldn’t get much out of it. I’ve been playing a fair bit in the pub, with my trusty egg shakers to carry me through when I don’t know the tunes enough to play on whistle. I’ve even sung a couple of times, though I need to learn the words to some more songs if I’m going to make a habit of it. 

The set dancing (which is a bit like céilí in Irish dancing but you use your heels a lot more and the footwork tends to be simpler) is going pretty well. I’ve tended to dance the men’s parts, as there aren’t enough men to go around and I don’t mind doing it. Plus it means I don’t have to hold hands with men so much, which is a plus in my view. That said, I did end up somehow switching to the woman’s part halfway through a dance earlier, which seems like an apt metaphor for my life: only I’d manage to change gender partway through a set dance… 

It’s tiring, though, and added to the late nights down the pub and the fact I didn’t really sleep at all in Dublin means I’m totally exhausted. I’m planning to skip the session at the pub tonight and get an early night, because I need it. A few people have tried to convince me to come, but I think if I get one more late night I’ll never quite recover from it. 

Anyway, there’s a comedy night about to start so I need to get going. I have no idea if it’s going to be in English or in Irish, so I’ve positioned myself near the door so that I can surreptitiously leave if it turns out to be completely incomprehensible. 

Hopefully, I’ll get some reliable internet before too long and will be able to blog more consistently, but if not, just imagine me struggling up hills and playing music in pubs half the night, and that won’t be too inaccurate. 

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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