at last! the final installment!
i just couldn’t end the irish series without
a reflection on lessons learned and enjoyed.
i am a teacher after all, and a great advocate of ‘hands-on learning.
if you seem to have lost your way, virtually everything around you is green and beautiful, or the road appears to be ending, you can always turn around as many times as you need to or ask for advice and people will be more than willing to help you, but know that you may not have any idea what they said, that it is all subject to local interpretation, may have no bearing on your reality, and may quite possibly lead you on an even more roundabout way to your actual destination, but you will find many things along the way that are very cool and unexpected, and you will eventually somehow arrive where you meant to be. (irish miracle)
“it’s just over the hill”
“just go a about a mile and a bit.”
“go back that way, over a hill, then another hill, and turn left at the pub.”
“go right, then right again. and straight.”
“aye. you are out of your way.”
“look for the really old, big church and turn by the pub.”
“ach.” – (and a finger point)
“look for a gray barn, then 3 green doors, a big white rock, then turn and go down the road for a while, and go into the stone lot, but don’t forget to shut the gate.”
“you’re in the middle of a bike race, at a dead end, just turn around and go back up the hill.”
“there’s a caravan park up there and go around the turn and turn again and look for a field and go about 5 kilometers or so and then turn and you’ll see it.”
“you’ll see a roundabout, but it’s not a real one, just wee, but go around it anyway and go left at the second turn.”
“do you want to go the scenic route or the other way?”
gps, maps and written directions, friendship, and memories will not help in any way. distance/travel time will appear way smaller on a map. along the way, you will quite naturally incorporate the local lingo/slang into your vocabulary. laughter is very important and never plan on being somewhere at any certain time.
“it’s saying ‘keep straight’, but which way do you think is straight, ‘right or left’?”
“would it kill them to have a sign?”
“re-routing, can’t keep up with us.”
“what does this say?”
“do you remember anything that gobshite said?”
“how many miles are equal to kilometers again?”
“can you read that irish sign?”
“i thought YOU were the one who understood what he was saying.”
“just don’t talk right now.”
“aw, feck it. let’s just stop at this pub.”
if a ‘road’ appears to be too narrow to be a real road, or to accommodate more than one car, a tractor, two bikes, or three animals at the same time, it probably is, but will somehow work. (another irish miracle)
there is a direct correlation between the number of bags of crisps you will consume and the length of your car journey. it’s simple math, really –
if you decide to stop to take a picture way up high of yet another stunning vista, it is not a good idea to drop your phone into a tall bramble along a very steep wall into a field, with a possible bull inside the gate, and if you should do so, it is a good idea to have one person stand there to mark the spot and the other run to a local house to find a woman and her grandson who have just arrived from the mountains, who will climb through the fence and into the wild to help recover it, in yet another stunning example of an irish miracle.
if you decide to cut through a fence to run through a beautiful field to the sea and there are animals somewhere in the vicinity, you may find yourself being slightly electrocuted just after you yelled out, ‘wouldn’t that be funny if this was an electric fence?’ (irish humor?)
if you choose a random spot in the middle of whoknowswhere to stop for a bathroom break, there’s always the possibility that it may actually be the ambush sight of a national hero, michael collins, and many cars will soon arrive who have gone way out of their way in search of it and you will quickly have plenty of company. you will also have a desire to see the liam neeson movie soon after.
if there is even the slightest chance that you may perform an impromptu dance routine for an international audience, always be sure to pack plenty of extra scarves and jangly things, but make do with curtain tassels, and other borrowed items, and always be sure to enjoy yourself fully. good, sound advice for wherever you go.
“it is not the destination where you end up
but the mishaps and memories you create along the way!”
― penelope riley, Travel Absurdities