Ireland in Autumn

Over the October Bank Holiday weekend, I was lucky enough to visit Cork with my housemate. Cork is a beautiful county and it was pretty fun to get to travel with someone who is actually Irish. She goes home most weekends, but as Cork is in the south of the country it is a fairly long journey from Dublin. She was itching to get off the train after only 3 hours and I was trying to imagine driving her 13 hours in the car home with me!  Perhaps we Americans have more patience than they get credit for.

My housemate is in the vet program here, sometimes it gets interesting when we decide to study and eat together… Her dad is also a vet and they have modern house in a small old village about 20 minutes from train station. It was wonderful to stay in a real home, so comfortable and welcoming. And… there were cook books to read so I got to indulge my newfound interest in cooking. Cork is the centre of the slow-food movement in Ireland and the cafe we went to in Cork City certainly felt more ‘foodie’ than most places I’ve been in Dublin. I went off on my own to explore the nearby Fota Island and its estate/gardens. As I left, the sun was shining and rain was falling. A rainbow appeared as I stood on a stone bridge over a tidal river by an estate with a martello tower and a 800 year old castle sight. Needless to say, I had a great time in Cork and can’t wait to go back. The family I stayed with were so thoughtful, even taking me to an Irish music session. My favourite part of the trip though was probably going out to the disco with my housemate and her friends from home. Every now and then when they’re home all her school friends meet up like this, I felt like a fly on the wall but had a great time!

Otherwise, Halloween was fairly quiet compared to what I’m used to in America. We went out but we were pretty much the only people dressed up. ALSO, my friend and I went to a book signing at Easons here with Neil Gaiman, and we got seats up front!!! Needless to say, I bought a few books. It was brilliant. I MET NEIL GAIMAN.

It’s been a busy month for travels! Last weekend, I also visited our family friends in Cavan.  Again, there’s nothing like being in a family home. It was wonderful being feasted and warmed up! They took me to the markets in Fermanagh- we drove along the twisting backgrounds for hours and suddenly ended up at a field full of market stalls. People have been trading here for years and there was even an old thatched cottage with a big wattle-and-daub fireplace for customers to warm up and have the tea after shopping. I think I was *technically* in the North again, but really I have no idea where we went and it was amazing. Later on, we went for a mushroom walk and there were untold kinds among the trees and lakes of Cavan!

Just now I am after walking home from a superb performance of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey put on by the phenomenal UCD Drama Society. It is misting out, just after a dribble. Droplets are everywhere, dripping off every leaf. I couldn’t help myself, I sipped a fat raindrop off one of the leaves. Streetlamps illuminated them, silver boughs like out of the twelve dancing princesses. No dancing slippers tonite. I must admit, I was a bit blue walking through all that black. There is a secret garden next to my apartment building. And at night, its gates are open. The roses this time of year are sparser than the hairs on an old mans head. Tonite the tall stone walls cast such deep shadows that every splatter made me jump.

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