Tag Archives: Kilkenny Arts Festival

In Ireland They Offer Chips with Your Chinese Food: Tuesday 11 August 2015 (Day 79)

9:10 pm: A Chinese Restaurant, Kilkenny

I may regret this but I’m so hungry. I’ve ordered sweet and sour chicken – it’s like battered and fried balls of chicken in the usual flouro sauce. It’s Ireland: I had the choice of rice or chips.

Being here, in Kilkenny, is becoming normal. I run into familiar people on the street. I know my way around town really well. After a couple of months on the road, of being someplace new every day, every hour, this is nice – this being of a place and part of a community.

I slept in this morning and woke to find Jim practicing in the loungeroom, for his gig tonight. I booked my bus ticket from Dublin to Belfast but failed to do the same for the train on to Derry because Northern Irish Rail’s website is shit.

Jim and I drove into Kilkenny. While he was looking for parking I spotted Cornelia at the Gourmet Café so I jumped out to see her. She was just off – I had a sandwich and coffee and solved a crossword challenge two blokes were having – by changing ‘interior’ to ‘internal’.

I was stuck in the queue as Jim began playing in the Luminarium but Mali, our friend with the crew there, spotted me and brought me in the back door.

Look who's playing in the Luminarium.
Look who’s playing in the Luminarium.

It was a mighty strange gig but Jim enjoyed himself – he should have had an amp as the sound just didn’t carry. He played mandolin and guitar. Cornelia was there for a time. And a lot of children. Unrestrained small children.

Mali said, “The Irish have so many children.” Jim played Say Your Prayers and I sang along, tunelessly, as I do. It turns out one of my favourite songs he plays is  Albatross by Fleetwood Mac. I’d heard him do it many times before but hadn’t realised it was a cover. It’s really calming and lovely.

Walking back to the Gourmet we passed a group of kids tossing a hurling ball around in the castle grounds, among them a Sudanese teenager as agile and fluid with his hurly as any of his paler skinned mates. It was beautiful.

I helped out around town this afternoon and caught part of The Gloaming’s show at the Cathedral. Amazing music played to a packed house.

Be Here Now, Be Here Now, Repeat: Friday 7 August 2015 (Day 75)

Kilkenny and County Carlow:

What am I thinking? Why am I here?

I feel like the trip has come off the rails a little bit and that I’m stuck in Kilkenny-ish. The ish being stuck-ish.

I feel like maybe I’m spending more time in Ireland than I need to. Though it is pleasant and relatively cheap and filling non-Schengen time. And I’m making decisions and having realisations.

I’ve  gotten an hour’s work done today and otherwise just been … in a town I was bored with after the first hour a week ago. I feel I’ve made mistakes that have me here – to an Irish bog. I want to magically be back on the Continent and pedalling on to a next destination. And I feel like I can’t expedite that process, having said ‘yes’ to helping, and ‘yes’ to wanting to wait for Jim, and having made plans for the North, and have booked my ferry. It would all be fine if I was also having days like I had in Florence – productive.

I spent some time working at the volunteer office this arvo. If I can get on the WiFi there – just put some music in my ears, then, maybe tomorrow, Sunday, Monday I can really crank through some work. That might make me feel better. Now I feel … anxious, bored, tired (I’ve lost my cyclist’s sleep pattern and cyclist’s sleepiness and I’m not sleeping well), thirsty too – of course, and just wanting things to clarify again. I’m out of my zone – I want to be back in it.

Tonight, I did a volunteer shift as an usher at DruidShakespeare’s full-cycle of Richard II, Henry IV (Parts 1 & 2) and Henry V. It was a long and very chilly night – the production is on in the courtyard of the Castle Yard. They split the telling over two nights. I didn’t stay for the whole show tonight – once the audience was seated after the last break I was free to go – and I did because it was really cold. I hope to get back and watch some of the second half before the festival is over.

Overall, I thought it was a good and engaging production – their twist was that most of the traditionally male roles were played by women and this worked fine but for one of the main actresses who, um, just had an annoying voice and way of speaking. It was overdone, over-acted, and pulled me out of the story.

That said, it was a cool thing to see and it was fun being part of a team and having colleagues again.

So I continue to battle between thinking I need to be working and planning and trying to simply be and enjoy it.

This is (another) test of my commitment to, and ability to, BE HERE NOW.

Yes, I have work to do – writing, photo editing, planning – but I need to BE HERE NOW. Enjoy the festival, embrace it.