Almost Summer (“Samhradh”)

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Mr Whippie in Salthill, Ireland

Summer, “Samhradh” in Irish, starts on May 1. Yesterday I was at the Salthill promenade. A chill wind was blowing and the sun was shining. I sat in the windbreak of a cement structure and enjoyed the atmosphere.

A Pied Wagtail was darting and hopping about eating flying bugs.

A young man stripped down to his swim trunks and ran into the cold water of the bay wherein he began to yell about the cold.

The salty scent of seaweed filled the air.

The cool cement sucked the warmth out of my shoulder, an effect that would have been welcomed in the hot dry desert of the American Southwest but here just made me cold.

The persistent sound of the crash of waves on the shore and the near synchronous sound of traffic on the road above intermixed with the putt-putting of the Mr. Whippie van.

The crunch of shoes on stones.

The low murmur of people talking, punctuated with the occasional call of a child.

I dozed.

— Claude

 

Is é Éire mo bhaile

I recently made a trip home to Las Vegas to see my son and family of origin.  While there my nephew-in-law asked me what I found to be the biggest difference between Ireland and the US.  The question took me aback and got me thinking.  There are a number of reasons I wanted to move to the EU: better privacy protection, a chance to live in a different culture, the chance to get out of a country that was beginning to feel like the world’s biggest bully.  But after living here for three years, what do I see as the major differences?

The US feels plastic, nothing seems to be real.  Everything seems to big: cars, houses, grocery stores, roads, serving sizes.  It’s the consumer mentality gone wild.  On top of that a lack of recycling, maximum packaging, few family owned stores.  Nothing that I want to really support with my hard earned cash.

It was good to see the family, the conversation was great craic, and the weather was nice but I don’t want to be there.  It was good to come home to Ireland.  Ireland really feels like home now.

Is é Éire mo bhaile = Ireland is my home

— Claude