Wednesday, June 25, 2008

IRELAND 1972/PART TWO

We had good luck on the phone. The handset was there, but disconnected. I bussed into town and was told that we couldn’t get reconnected for months. I came home to find out that the phone had been reconnected, by mistake, that day. Typical Ireland of that time.

Ireland then was like a 3d-world country today.
Our youngest was 3 yrs. Old,just toilet-trained.
The public johns were filthy.

So we spent a strange, deprived summer.
Our friends were helpful; their daughter babysat once for us; she said later the experience with American children was so awful she gave up babysitting altogether. (But later a US couple who took our kids for a week in Scotland changed their mind because of the good experience with our kids—they decided to have children. Go figure.)

One night Mary and I went to a ‘medieval feast’ at a ruined castle in Maynooth, a few miles away. I drank quite a bit. The Women had a tent for toilet; the men just pissed down the hill.
Unfortunately, I slipped and fell down the hill.

By the end of the summer, I realized I’d get little research done in Ireland. A student of mine had a brother I’d met who taught at Edinburgh University. I called him and asked if he knew of a super-cheap apartment in Edinburgh. It turned out he did, so we spent the last 9 months of the year in Edinburgh.

1 comment:

Chogie said...

My memories from Ireland: There was a television, somewhere, maybe at one of the freckled neighbor kids' houses (Declan and Michael?). On it I saw a real-live minstrel show. I remember un-mown meadows of nettles and long grass in the back yard -- where the widow's half-burnt men's clothing remained including a charred wing-tip shoe.

I remember walking along a deisel-choked tiny sidewalk into town to buy milk and noting that the houses along the way had pieces of broken glass stuck in the cement to discourage people from sitting down on the wall.

Mom wasn't pleased to find the neighbor kids and I playing heckedy-peg with the steak-knives -- throwing them into the siding of the house.

I also remember a trip to the seaside -- a beach full of rocks and the water FREEZING cold. And a museum with a house covered in sea shells with a sign saying No Children Allowed.