Where did the time go? I've been slacking off on blog posts, so I'll try to catch up:
I've been training with the women's Gaelic Football team during the week, sort-of as part of a community involvement project. It's been a great way to get to know people around my own age, and stay in shape. I haven't run sprints like this since soccer training in high school! As of right now, I'm really terrible at the sport, but they're trying to learn me some skills. Gaelic Football, along with Hurling, is one of the national Irish sports. The rules as I have learned them so far are as follows: 15 players to a side, and you can either score by getting the ball past the keeper int the net (3 points), or getting it over the goal between 2 tall posts (1 point). Players can hold the ball and can take 4-5 steps before bouncing it on the ground or off of a foot (soloing). The ball can be passed either with a hand pass (similar to volleyball), or by drop-kicking it. Physical contact rules are similar to soccer: you can shoulder or use your hips against another player, but you can't grab another player or tackle. The girls have been a lot of fun to hang out with. I went with them to their last match and cheered them on, and then we all went out afterward to hang. Quote of that night, by Teresa: "It looks a bit dodgy, I'm scared to go in... Send in the American!"
Stars of Our Bars:
Over the past few weeks, there has been an ongoing singing competition in a local pub, and a contestant gets eliminated every week. I have heard several old Irish songs, as well as songs such as Cannonball by Damien Rice, and even Halo by Beyonce. After the competition, a band would play and everyone got up and danced. I'm surprised at how many familiar songs I hear. They really like their Johnny Cash here: I've heard the Ring of Fire loads of times. I also heard Bicycle Built for Two :) It's kinda nice to go out and hear music besides blaring rap all the time, nothing wrong with a bit of variety. Wonderwall by Oaisis and Michael Jackson are also popular among the young people here. In Irish dance at school, if the kids have extra time, their teacher lets them do the Thriller dance :)
This is a really old castle in County Clare that I went to see one day. It's been fixed up and refurbished to look like it might have back in the day, along with all the surrounding cottages and grounds. Lots of spiral staircases, nooks and crannies, dungeon, turrets, etc. Went to a local tea room for lunch and had vegetable soup and brown bread, and homemade apple pie, mmmmmm.
My favorite Irish food so far is probably the bacon and cabbage, minus the cabbage.
I've been able to make it to a few hurling matches lately, and that's been interesting. I don't think I would be very good at it; I have trouble enough being coordinated without a stick in my hand. Wouldn't wanna get hit with one of those bad boys... they do wear helmets though. There is a girl's version of hurling, it's called camogie. It's basically the same thing.