Saturday, May 27, 2006

Rather than read all about Ireland before I went, I tried to go with the blank canvas and just see what is painted on it while I was there. Then I can go back after it's painted and find out more about where I was and what I was seeing. The internet makes that so easy.

Since Benji has been signing his emails with "Sláinte!" (pronounced Slawn-cha), I had to find out what it means. Cheers/good health/bottoms up, those were a few of the definitions I found. He uses another phrase, "Bhi craic agus ceol againn," that I still haven't found. I did find a forum that will translate, but haven't heard back from them, yet. He said there was no English equivalent, but it's similar to "A good time was had by all." I'd like to know what the experts say.

I also came across some information on the lace curtains I admired while there. "Lace curtain Irish" is now a derogatory term for the middle class or lower class with middle class pretensions. Might have known it would be something that appealed to me. My taste usually runs in the direction of the underprivileged. The skill of lace-making actually saved some families from starvation during the famine of the mid 1800's. Only the wealthy could afford the crocheted items. Hand made items that have been preserved since that time are very valuable. Now that it is mass produced, however, it is not considered in good taste by the wealthy.

I tried to figure out the routes we took by bus, train, and car, so I would know all the counties we went through. I thought I might buy a clutch pin for each one, and I got several, but I missed a few that I need to ask Benji to get before he leaves. Our bus went through Limerick, Tipperary, Offaly, Laois, Kildare, and Dublin counties. The train went through Dublin, Kildare, Offaly, and Galway. Best I can tell, we drove through Counties Down and Antrim. Did we ever get as far to the west as Derry? I'm not sure, but I think we did. I remember crossing a county line in a place that was not far from where the Vances settled, and he told me it was up the river/county line, some on one side, some on the other. I remember thinking they did the same thing in Mississippi, settled right on the Scott-Newton Co. line. The countryside there didn't look very different from where they lived here.

Just heard back from the translation forum, the phrase "Bhi craic agus ceol againn" means "we had fun and music."

Ben sent a rundown on his trip. We were in Dublin, not far from each other, on the 17th. Then they went south and we went north. On Sunday, we weren't far from each other, he went to the Giant's Causeway that afternoon, we had been at our B&B in Ballintoy until 11:00, not very far from there, we probably passed each other on the road. His trip was geared much more for adults than ours, but I wouldn't take anything for the time I got to spend with Pip and Phin and Bella. What precious children.

I've been reading about George Bernard Shaw and Jonathan Swift. I knew Shaw wrote Pygmalion and Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels, but remembered nothing else about them. The Harcourt Hotel, where we stayed in Dublin, was home to Shaw at one time. Jonathan Swift was born on the 30th of November, same as me. And C.S. Lewis was Irish. I'd forgotten that, if I ever knew it. There is so much information available on the internet about these guys, it would take a lifetime to study it all, but it's nice to have material like this at the click of a mouse.

1 comment:

Zoilus said...

Yes, we were in Co Derry for just an hour or two, but all that wandering we did in those towns/villages was in that vicinity of our ancestral homeplace. So sorry that we were the only ones who cared anything about seeing that admittedly mundane part of the North; I wish we'd decided earlier that we were going to keep the van another day. That way we just could've taken our time and lowered the stress level a great deal, I'm sure. Hindsight is always 20/20, as you know. Anyway, you ought to read some Shaw, esp his plays. I'd recommend for general reading, and esp. _John Bull's Other Island_ (viz, Eire). I'll have to send you a list of the counties when I get hold of a map and a free computer at home, but I'm sure with your side trip from and back to Shannon that you covered a majority of the 32 that exist.