“I am of Ireland…Come dance with me in Ireland ” (William Butler Yeats)
One thing that there is plenty of in Ireland is the weather. We had Irish friends there that went from the east coast to the west coast area for a 10-day holiday one summer with four rather lively kids in tow and the best weather report they had during those days was – ‘some sunny spells‘! One must not get ill-humoured by the minor detail of the clime. Oh, no. Of the 23 summers that I was in Ireland only two were great the whole summer long; the one in the 1983 and the other in 1995. The rest can be best forgotten as they were nothing to write home about! Summer last year while I was there, was a mixed bag: the beaming sun, when it was absolutely sweltering, the heavy showers good few days, the chilled days when my hands, nose and so on, were numb with the cold, the lot really, par for the actual snow. The Irish humour comes in handy many a time in a day like this when the comment one hears is this: ‘Ah sure, tis all the four seasons in one day again!’ The Emerald Isle is emerald for this very reason and the gardens do flourish due to the weather. Here is My Picture Book of some of my photos that I took this summer.
Weather is the easiest and safest way to start a conversation with an Irishman or -woman as the wildly fluctuating nature of it gives one plenty of scope to comment this way or that way. One can forget the small talk on the politics and the workings of it, as that is a bit of a no-no, which I didn’t know at first in Ireland at my arrival there in 1980, for in any country where I had lived to that point, the politics was one of the best ways of starting a conversation. Once the chat is well on the way the Irish do feel very free to ask you: where do you live, where did you go to school and so on, even how much you earn if they think that you belong to the nation as this is their way of finding your ‘status.’ Once a person opens the mouth to speak, the background of the person* becomes clear as the sun to the other as the accent, the dialect one speaks, gives it away. The different regions in Ireland have vastly varied dialects which are typical to them: in Dublin area there are the inner city, the posher areas and all the in-betweens to be heard.
One time in returning back to Ireland – that is the link at Wikipedia called ‘Portal: Ireland – from a trip, I had to report my missing cases to the person in the Lost Luggage at the Dublin Airport and just ahead of me was this man from the Far East doing the same. Well, the poor man was so very flustered anyway, as the case was about his cases, that he hardly could say a word in English in the first place and then this Irish chap from the inner city with the thickest Dub-accent asks for the details from him – his name and address that is – which the Far Eastern man absolutely could not for his life fathom one bit. The clerk repeats the questions over and over again, but the mean thing he is, says them in this accent that even the natives have such great difficulty understanding, never mind a foreigner! I stepped in to help the man as I felt so very sorry for him and the queue was miles long and not getting any shorter with this kind of carry-on from the only worker on duty. I did say to the clerk that he should have the Dublin-English & English-Dublin dictionary there handy to point both ways as he is working with the non-speakers/non-comprehending ones of this dialect!
Tis for now again. Slán ( that is ‘Bye’), Riihele xx.
* The other clear clue to one’s status and the social standing is the way one is dressed and also where one lives in Ireland.
By me, taken on a train speeding along the coast from County Wicklow to County Wexford. Turned out quite all right. The foreground is a bog and the rain is going to come down lashing any minute.