Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Twelfth Letter

At the Cliffs of Moher on the Wild Atlantic Way
Dearest Ireland,

Do you remember Star Trek from the '60's? You're thousands of years old so the 1960's must seem like yesterday.  There was one episode featuring a scruffy looking guy named Lazarus.  He lived in two parallel universes as his good self and evil self. It sounds goofy, but his good self was always fighting with his evil parallel self in a "dimensional corridor",  trying to keep him from crossing over. If the two Lazaruses came together in either universe, both universes would be annihilated. I don't know why, but that was the story. As a twelve year old thinker I, like Mr. Spock,  found this "fascinating."

I still do. I thought about the implications just last week.  When my daughter and her husband came to spend a week with Doc and me, my American self was confronted with my Irish self. I wondered if both of my universes would survive and, if not, which one would implode?  I know what you're thinking.....this is heavy stuff!

I've been back and forth four times in the last year. When I'm home in Florida, I feel.....well....at home. Everything seems natural and normal.......buttermilk biscuits,  driving on the "right" side, ugly billboards and heat waves. When I'm in Ireland, I've grown to also feel comfortable and at home....  mountains and green rolling pastures, three raincoats (light, medium, and downpour),  creamy 99's, and holding up queues everywhere, counting out my euro coins.

It was so fun introducing Ted and Leah to Ireland.  We packed a lot in one short week. You heard about Skellig Michael in my last letter, but that was only half of one day. We left  Shannon airport Saturday morning and went directly to the Cliffs of Moher.  Doc and I weren't concerned that this was at 5 AM Ted and Leah time. We  poured coffee down their throats and made them smile for pictures. We made sure they didn't get too near the edge of the cliffs and drift over when the caffeine wore off. They loved it.
The iconic Father Ted house
Ballinahow Castle

From the cliffs, we went to the Burren since it was right next door.  I remembered walking this vast gray moonscape last year, admiring the tiny wildflowers that frolic like fairies among the boulders. We drove past the Father Ted house and I was glad I had already corrupted Ted and Leah's minds with a few episodes before they left Florida. They were able to appreciate seeing it in person.
From there we drove south and, after crossing the Shannon estuary on the Killimor-Tarbert ferry, found our B&B in Castlegregory, on a hillside overlooking eight miles of sandy beach. We were on the go almost every day,  sight-seeing and exploring old ruins. The fifth member of our party was always Ted's binoculars. Being the obsessive bird watcher that he is, he was thrilled to identify dozens of new species to add to his "life list".  I think he saw 18 on the very first day.

"I know that's a 4000 year old wedge tomb behind me, but I think I see a Willy Wagtail."
 My birthday was Thursday.  In the Monk's pub I turned a year older with the three F's,......Friends, Family and Fiddle. Couldn't have asked for more. While I joined in a few tunes with the musicians, Ted and Leah sat with Doc, his parents and the gang and got a taste of Irish pub life (and the best Guinness around).  They didn't even seem sleepy though it was way past their bedtimes.
Ted and Leah with Mom and Pop at the Monk's

 Ireland has a way of unwinding time, liberating it from the tyranny of gears and pendulums........letting it glide gently alongside us instead of dragging us from somewhere up ahead. Star Trek would say it creates "temporal anomalies" in the space/time continuum. But really.....it just creates good craic.

Thursday night found us in Dublin having dinner at the exquisite Fire Restaurant in the Mansion House, where the Lord Mayor resides. I hoped he'd come out and wish me a happy birthday but I guess he got preoccupied with something less important. The meal was spectacular......as was the musical, "Once" that we saw afterwards.
"Oh Glen...Can we take you home???"

While wandering around waiting for the doors to open, Doc pointed and waved for our attention. He had spotted Glen Hansard, who won an Oscar for the movie, on a secluded side street near Dublin Castle. We most humbly and reverentially approached him and he was as nice as can be. He said he was going to the musical also.  I hoped he'd make a stage appearance but he didn't.

St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin
We slept in Friday and spent the afternoon in St. Patrick's Cathedral and the National Museum.  So much more of you to see, dear Ireland, but no more time. We drove back to Thurles in the evening, then Saturday morning said our goodbyes at Shannon.  A "temporal anomaly" for sure......it seemed like they had just arrived. But both universes seem to be still intact, so apparently my good and evil selves can safely exist in both.

No comments:

Post a Comment