Tag Archives: ireland

Riding the Waves

I forced myself out for a walk yesterday even though the weather was being particularly indecisive. It went from sunny blue skies to windy dark grey to pelting rain in mere minutes. As I headed up the street, raindrops began to appear, slowly at first like the initial deliberate bursts of popcorn, then hard and fast and loud. No, I muttered silently. Please don’t. Then I realised that my resistance, my pleading and cursing, wasn’t going to stop the rain from falling. It was just going to make me feel miserable.

Desiring something to be different from the way it is brings us out of alignment with reality, which naturally creates unhappiness and frustration. So I looked up and said, Do what you have to do. I shrugged off thoughts of Everything’s going to get so wet, dumped them on the ground beside me and walked away, eyes scrunched and hair matted against my face.

I felt a strange sense of elation. A Fuck you world mixed with Bring it. I wanted to punch the air and sprint past sheep and shriek along to Ellie Goulding’s Halcyon.

You know that point when you understand that you are powerless? That life will continue to roll no matter what reservations you might have. That moment when you simply give up. And in that instant, you feel oddly powerful. Free. Like you’re riding the waves instead of swimming against them. It’s exhilarating.

My lower back is still stiff and painful but now, instead of struggling against it, I’m leaning into it. I’ve stopped the hard-core gym sessions and started doing gentler exercises at home. I discovered a Pilates studio in Newbridge and attended it for the first time this morning. A man approached me about a new yoga class he’s setting up next week. And I’m getting out in the fresh air and daylight for invigorating walks in the Irish weather.

As I neared home, the sky cleared. I gazed at enormous tree trunks, orange berries and smiling daffodils, and I nodded: Yes, all is well.

Check out this lady making the most of her time waiting for a bus. It brings to mind the following poem:

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
                                                         Love like you’ll never be hurt,
                                          Sing like there’s nobody listening,
                                     And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Foreign feeling familiar

After 11 days abroad and one epic night in Dublin, I had lots of things to get done. Instead, I took myself for a long walk in the Curragh drizzle. As I walked past tall purple and white thistles and gently yodeling sheep, I felt as much gratitude, peace and awe as I had in the Biarritz waves or in the chic Frenchness of St Jean de Luz or as I’d sat on a Bilbao mountain listening to The Cure. I was 10 minutes from home and these Kildare plains felt as foreign to me as Singapore or Guatemala and as familiar as the smells of hill walking in Donegal or childhood caravaning in Kerry.

Tiny globes of water perched upon each blade of grass like translucent peas of promise. They were perfect yet fragile as a whisper. From a distance, they looked like candyfloss or clusters of fairies. I turned my face up to the mist and it felt like I was walking into soft ocean spray. My feet became wetter and wetter as I swung them into those miniscule aquatic spheres.

Stuff we do be sayin in Ireland

Us Irish definitely have the gift of the gab. Here’s what we do be sayin…

I met a friend for a night out over the Christmas. She looked me up and down before stating: “Look at you all trendy! With your black shoes.”

The other night in the pub, a cute (but drunk) guy bounded over to me. “Do you have a boyfriend?” he bellowed. Why waste time on small talk?

An old friend is always hilariously mixing up phrases. Recently, she told me that she thinks her neighbour cheats on his wife. She added, “He has a rotating eye.”

Another girl I know has a similar problem. With expressions, not randy neighbours. She was giving out about something and complained: “Now, that’s below the biscuit!”

One of the girls lamented that she still doesn’t feel like a grown-up because she hasn’t settled down or bought a house or had a child. I piped up, “I’m the exact same!” She retorted, “At least you’re divorced!”

And here are a few oft-heard sentences…

Pass the butter. Will ya have tea? Any goss? Are ye right there folks, please! The country’s fucked! Ah sure, it’ll be grand. Not a bother!

By the way, “how’re ya?” is a greeting, not a question. We don’t really want to know.

And surely we’re the country with the most synonyms for the word “drunk”. We get hammered, polluted, plastered, pissed, langered, ossified, baloobas, twisted, fluthered, paralytic, unconscious, slaughtered. Should we be worried? Ah sure, feck it! Will we have another? And one for the road…

The Crime’s The Punishment?

I just watched the season finale of Love/Hate, a hard-hitting Irish drama. I couldn’t believe my reaction when the credits began to roll. I admit that it had been difficult to watch at times but it was such an honest and thought-provoking portrayal of Dublin criminals that it had gripped me right around the jugular. This programme got me thinking in a way I’d never thought possible.

Throughout the series, the viewers got to know, and like, the characters. We watched them progress from naive young adults to violent gang members, desperate drug addicts, prostitutes and murderers.

We all hear the news about massive drug seizures and gang shootings. And it doesn’t have much of an impact on us. We’re just grateful that we’re not involved. We condemn these “low-lives” for choosing such a depraved existence. But what we fail to consider, and what this brilliant drama has demonstrated, is that life is never simply black or white.

The pretty girl, with so much potential, is putting herself in danger to work as a prostitute because she would do anything to get the drugs she’s so dependent upon. The corrupt policeman, who’s being paid by the fearsome gang leader, is too terrified to put a stop to it because his children have been threatened. The young man, who’s already taken the lives of two human beings, cannot look at himself in the mirror. He thinks that if he does this one last job, he’ll be left alone. They all dream of one day walking away from this hideous way of living.

Most of these people would never have willingly chosen to do the things they are now doing. As children, they too had hoped for love and success and happiness. But circumstances have forced them into this. Of course, I don’t condone their behaviour. The taking of a life is especially difficult to comprehend or forgive. But now I understand that we are all just trying to survive this challenging world we live in. And everyone, everyone, has their reasons.