In Northern Ireland the Troubles Still Bubble Beneath the Peace

13 – 15 August 2015 (Days 81 – 83) Thursday 13 August 4pm, Connect Hostel, Derry Small cities, I should only visit small cities. It’s 4pm, I’ve done the lot and feel I’ve given everything it’s due. It’s been a gorgeous and sunny day. I started things off revisiting the Guildhall – where President Clinton spoke in 1995, a trip I worked and wrote of in my last blog post. Derry isn’t as much changed as I’d expected. It still has a working class, slightly hard-done-by air but with more tourists and tourism-related businesses. There are new cultural institutions and …

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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 …

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Poetry, Light, Ice Cream and Friendship on a Beaut Irish Summer Day: Monday 10 August 2015 (Day 78)

11:20 am – The Gourmet Store Café, Kilkenny We are finally getting a run of sunny and warm days. Cornelia says this sort of day is exactly what one hopes for when thinking of an Irish summer’s day. 7:30 pm – Zuni Café I’m feeling like a local. I know where everything is and I run into people I know on the street. At the café this morning Hazel, Cornelia’s right-hand gal, passed by with Robert Pinsky. He’s just arrived from Boston and they were looking for an Irish SIM card for him but said they’d come back for coffee. …

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Shifting Attitude, Celebrating Art at the Arts Festival: Saturday 8 August 2015 (Day 76)

Saturday 8 August, 6:30 pm – Langston House Hotel (Kilkenny) Attitude. It’s really a bit about attitude. I’m here. Doing this. Be here. Do this. I’ll sort the rest as it comes. I’ve made decisions which, now made, are as they will be. I’ll be in Ireland until 22 August. Deal with it. Enjoy it. So, I’ve had a pretty full day with the festival. I helped Cornelia with this and that before completing a 3 ½ hour shift at Cleary Connolly’s Meta-Perceptual Helmets – which was actually quite good. I met the artists. They are former architects. The project is …

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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 …

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Not the Dublin I First Visited – Mostly for the Best, But Not All: Thursday 6 August 2015 (Day 74)

Thursday 6 August 12:40 pm – Umi Falafel I fear I’ve been pretending to be a normal tourist – more flush, short-term. I’ve been getting coffees, eating out, paying entrance fees for museums. I’m a little scared to add it up and convert it into Australian dollars. This morning I was meant to join a free walking tour of the city but the crowd was large and the guide too bubbly for my mood so I wandered off before we even got going. Instead I visited the Chester Beatty Library. Admission was free and they have a pretty interesting collection of …

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Coffees and Jews in Dublin: Wednesday 5 August 2015 (Day 73)

11:50 am Wednesday 5 August – Kaph A lot – Dublin reminds me of Melbourne a lot. Maybe because they are both river cities with dubious weather. But they have Sydney’s pedestrian-crossing system, though, same buttons, same sound – which is strange. This is the café suggested by Baz – it is not like Melbourne. They call a macchiato and ‘noisette’ (I guess it’s the French name for the same thing) and it’s meh – a little thin and bitter. So, the bitter is like Melbourne but … you know, not so nice. (The music is good, though). Speaking of …

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Quiet Domestic Day for Thinking About What’s Next: Monday 3 August 2015 (Day 71)

Monday 3 August, 2:07 pm – Flanders Cross It was rainy and blowy all night; clear, if gusty, this morning. I’ve been for a good hour’s walk: quiet, peaceful, a bit of exercise, head clearing. I was thinking of where to go next, how to get on with it. I’ve made no decisions but I feel a little clearer in my mind. How am I feeling? The cold is slowly clearing itself – but I’m still coughing. And I’m definitely feeling a need for a bit of physical contact with a male of the species. Last night I thought I …

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At the Graiguenamanagh Tinnahinch Regatta: Sunday 2 August 2015 (Day 70)

We had lunch at the Step House Hotel in Borris then visited the Graiguenamanagh Tinnahinch Regatta. The regatta entailed, mostly, young people who looked very cold for having spent time in the Borris River while swimming, splashing, diving, etc. There was a brass band with an average age in their late 60s, an excitable announcer I couldn’t understand, cheering friends and family, and a photographer from the local paper to record the lot. It was really charming. We finished the day with 99s and I felt a part of this quiet country Irish lifestyle.

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Such a pleasant and full day: Saturday 1 August 2015 (Day 69)

Saturday 1 August I worry I’m not paying enough attention to the details lately and will have less to say, in the blog, in the book, when I get here. I fear that I’m not engaging as much as I was at the beginning of my journey. Today I went for a bicycle ride with Jerry (whom I recently met at the shop with the door to the pub ) – he’s Scottish and married to Helena, an architect and friend/colleague of Cornelia. The day was dry but chilly and the ride was lovely. The roads are unmarked and it …

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