01 March, 2007


Thursday morning, March 01

We leave for Kilkenny in an hour. Tonight's reading is in the castle there, which sounds like a 180 degree swing from last night's venue, the local pub in the fishing village of An Rinn (Ring), nestled in the Gaeltacht, where Irish is the first language.

Liam Rellis and I were having a chat about the Irish language just before I was due to go on and open the show. "Ah," says Liam, "the proper thing for you to say up there would be (insert unintelligible Gaelic phrase here)."

"Oh," says I, wide-eyed and earnest. "Okay. Tell me again, slowly."

Liam and I proceed to spend the next few minutes rehearsing my opening statement in Irish. Thank god, from the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a bystander smirk behind his pint.

I squinted at Liam. "What exactly does this phrase mean?"

Liam turned red all over, I think more with merriment than chagrin. "Ah, I don't think I could tell ye, Kyran. I'd have to show ye."

Note to self: don't trust the Irish.

I'm about to time out of my wildly expensive pay-by-the-hour internet connection (Patrick calls the local practice of charging for everything from packets of ketchup to coffee refills "death by a thousand cuts"). I want to share much more about our fantastic night in An Rinn and my miserable night in Cork (I changed my mind and caught a late bus), but it will have to wait.


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