Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Aran Islands

I visited Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, a ferry ride away from Galway City. The Aran Islands are one of the few sites in Ireland where Irish is still spoken as a first language. Very small, everyone knows everyone. We stayed at the Kilronan hostel, run by and Italian of all people, Marco. We liked Marco, he was a good fellow :) He gave us biscuits. Cycled around the whole island during the day, and Irish music at "Watty's" at night. They have seals there, and some pretty cool ruins, like the Black Fort. I think I preferred the cliffs here to the Cliffs of Moher- more remote, untamed. Anne Marie brought us to visit her Garda friend, Brian. He took us around the island in his Garda car and showed us some of the harder-to-reach areas.

Lately, I've been getting involved with a women's Gaelic Football team. There's not a ton I can do to help out, but I run sprints with them and they're teaching me how to play :) It's been fun to get involved and learn a new sport. More about that later.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Random Thoughts

-I've watched more Desperate Housewives and Glee since I've been here than I ever did in the States.

-It's great getting to watch soccer on the "telly" whenever I want.

-Some of my host mom's favorite names for me are "Pet", "Chicken", and "Ducky".

-Don't ask someone to "give you a ride", they might get the wrong idea. You "collect" someone, or "give them a lift".

-Fries are "chips" and chips are "crisps".

-A pencil sharpener is a "topper" and "rubbers" are erasers.

What do I miss the most?

Hugs. People don't seem as physically affectionate here and you don't normally see friends hug each other in greeting, especially not the men. Saiorse's pretty much the only one I ever get a hug from, at night before she goes to bed :)

In general, people here have a very good sense of humor and they're constantly slaggin' on each other. There are always plenty of laughs to be had.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Stranded in Lisdoonvarna

On Wednesday I went through the Burren to the Cliffs of Moher. The weather was crrrazy! It snowed in the morning, then was sunny and beautiful on the drive. Then, at the cliffs, we got caught in a hailstorm! That lasted about 10 minutes, and then it was sunny and beautiful again. I thought Indiana weather was unpredictable, but only in Ireland. The cliffs were amazing though, and when we could actually see it was a great view :) A "hooker" is the name for a small sailboat. My friend and I got off at a little town called Lisdoonvarna for lunch, and planned to take a bus to Ennis from there. Little did we know that the bus had stopped running already.. oops. So, we're stuck in a strange town, almost everything's closed for the season, and we feel a little we're in a slasher movie. What should we do? Hitchhike? Walk? Hostel? Ended up getting collected by a friend, AnneMarie and she took us to Ennis, that was lucky.

That night, had some Italian food, then went to a local pub with Matt, AnneMarie and Paul to listen to traditional Irish music. Loved it. The band consisted of a banjo, guitar, accordion, and flute. They were amazing :) The best part of it is, anyone who wants to can randomly just start singing or playing. My friend played and sang a few songs, and some other dude started singing some old Irish songs acapela. Everyone in the place joined in when they knew the words, it was awesome. The atmosphere was extremely personal and friendly.

Some more Irish terms:

Slagging, Blaggarding (both meaning something like making fun or teasing) I've been slagged on a lot since I've been here.


In the nip