Friday, April 29, 2011

Three Poems


Anyway, I wrote these for my creative project for one of my classes. They're all inspired by the Irish Famine, so that means they're really cheerful, obviously.

PS, comments are spectacular and make me really happy. So comment.


in the night

she didn’t know it
when his heart stopped
beating. their sleep disappeared that night
and when she woke
he was cold, more stone than infant
than baby, her child. they say,
so early, it’s a blessing. poor thing
didn’t suffer long. look
at them, us, look at you, nothing
but bones, but skin. but
she didn’t know it when
his heart stopped beating and that meant
his heart stopped beating.
his heart stopped beating.

famine house

the house is broken with the rhythm
of the thousand bodies it couldn’t shelter.
it stands there a shattered
ticking with every heartbeat
pushed aside
and put out too early.

they were once people
and back then they fought,
protested with fists and guns and tears
until their everyday laughter, everyday hopes switched
and burst
into the stillness of a billion muted bones.

now the house lies starving in Ireland
In Darfur, huddled bloody
and wasting for water in Haiti
sick and dying.
it’s on every street
in every country
beating loudly and helpless
filled with too many ghosts
and a ticking that can never end.


she stands in front of the bathroom mirror
clutching windex
kool-aid blue.
no matter how much she scrubs
she can’t change what she sees.

once, in a century forgotten decades ago
half a culture starved
until they were nothing but rib cages.

but she could never eat a potato.
they’re too big and they remind
her too much
of what she sees in the mirror.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yeah No.

Look! I'm posting! And it hasn't been a whole week!

Yay responsibility!

Except not. Being responsible kind of completely sucks. And me writing isn't being responsible. Because I have about a million essays to write and, well, yeah.

But, I'm kind of completely devastated. Because I only have two weeks here. Less. This time in two weeks, I'll be on a plane, only hours away from the Cape. And even though I'm really excited (Vermont cheese! Good salad dressings! Friends! No more crazy ridiculous drama!) I'm really sad about it, too.

And it's not just because I'll still have more than two months before I'll be able to drink (in public) again.

I'm going to miss it here, so, so unbelievably much. I'm going to miss the accents, the people, the buildings, the nightlife, the freedom, the EVERYTHINGEVEROHMYGOD.

I know I'm going to come back. There's this thing, apparently, where if you were a student for up to a year ago, you can get a working visa to live in Ireland for a year. I might to that. It'd be pretty cool. But that wouldn't be for ages and that's so sad.

I can't even believe it, really Sometimes I still forget that I'm in Ireland, really. I can't even begin to imagine how weird it will once I'm back home. Ahhhhhh. I know I've said this about eighty times, but it's going to be wicked, wicked, unbelievably sad. Beyond words.

I guess all I can say, really, is that I'm going to do my best to make these next two weeks the best ones of my life.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dear Blog

I'm really busy right now, for pretty much the first time since I came to Dublin. It's terrible. But, if I don't post for.. say a week.. that's why. <3

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why I need go back to Galway. (And the rest of the West!)

Okay, so I know that I haven't even finished writing about Cork yet, but I just got back from Western Ireland and I really wanna talk about it. Need to talk about it.

Because it was amazing.

It was beautiful in so many different ways, and I had one of the best nights there that I've had in Ireland so far. (Um, my roommate Ashley and I ran around downtown and talked to random people. Except we weren't ourselves. She was Megan Kelly from New York, and I was Sarah Nilap from Alaska. Shush. It was fun. We made up this huge back story, too. You probably had to be there.) I think Galway's my favorite city ever, pretty much. (Basically, if I had to describe all of the Irish cities I've been to really, really quickly, it'd be like this: Dublin: busy-indefinable, Belfast: quiet-friendly, Cork: crunchy-mellow, Galway: jovial.) But Galway's the last place we went to, so more on it later!

Our first stop was a fairy ring in County Clare.

You aren't technically supposed to go in the middle of fairy rings-- it's supposed to be wicked bad luck-- but we all did, anyway. Apparently, actual Irish people won't even go inside them, though that might just have been something they told us to make the ring more exciting.

Take that, fairies.

We didn't stay long, but it was fun. The only thing missing was a bit of fairy sighting.

We went to the Burren, next. It's a region in Count Clare that's, well, barren. It's nearly all scraggly, grey rock. You can walk on it for ages.

I sort of fell in love with it. It's just so different from anything you would expect to see in Ireland. I mean, everyone (hopefully) knows that Ireland isn't just one huge green field, but I wasn't expecting this desolate expanse of stony hills and flatlands. But it was gorgeous. I don't even know how to describe how atmospheric and beautiful and just different it was, but it really was all of those things. We were only there about a half hour, but for most of the time, I just sat and watched the world. It was incredible how quiet everything was. I mean, technically, it wasn't. There were lots of people around, and they talked and laughed and did all sorts of other normal people stuff, but in this place, all of that seemed muted, and the slight wind took precedent over their noises.

I thought it was fantastic how there could be these long stretches of stone, and then, suddenly, there'd be all green grass again, like nothing had ever happened.

Oh, and there was an ancient tomb, too!

It was pretty chill.

So were the Cliffs of Moher. As an Irish person would say, they were grand.

Western Ireland is supposed to get twice as much rain as the east, but half of the time we were there, it was hard to block out the sunlight. It was like that at the Cliffs, and they really looked magical.

See those orange specks of people? Coast Guard. Not completely sure what they were doing, but none of us fell off (because of the fairy ring, you know), so it wasn't that!

The next day, Saturday, we went to Inisheer, the smallest of the Aran Islands, and I really fell in love.

Inisheer is way in the distance. You can't completely see it, but it's there!

We took the ferry, which was fantastic. I love being on boats, really love it. I love the waves and the smell and just everything about it. But once we saw Inisheer, even I was stoked to get off it and start exploring.

I only have a few pictures from Inisheer, which totally guts me. They hardly even begin to capture the astounding beauty of the island, and they're all from the first ten minutes after docking. Inisheer's small, but not that small. But my camera was acting up and there was nothing I could do about it.

Things I have pictures of:

A house with a thatched roof.

A lonely red cart and the ocean.

A Road.

The start of the masses of stone walls, and frolicking.

Things I don't have a picture of:

The friendly cow that came to us when we called it. The rest of the stone walls that cover the island unrelentingly, rolling up and down over hills, and everywhere else. The castle I climbed on, and then got stuck on. (It was terrifying.) The grave yard with the 10th century old church underneath. The shipwreck. The pub we had lunch at. The yellow fields of dandelions. The two island dogs that followed us everywhere, alternately begging for attention and happily chasing one another, again and again. The craic.

At least, once we got to Galway, my camera was working again. Well, for a while.

I adored Galway. It was the most cheerful place I've ever been to, I'm pretty sure. We got there at around 5 in the afternoon, and straight away, half of everyone on the street was drunk. Cheerful drunk. We're-all-one-big-family drunk. It was fun.

It was happy. It got to the point that we (my two roommates and me, this time) would just walk down the streets, across the rivers, laughing at nothing but the fact that we were laughing. Being in Galway that first evening actually sort of felt like being drunk, but without having to put down money for alcohol.

It was sort of wonderful. (Especially since I'm pretty broke.)

And beautiful. Seriously, Galway is a gorgeous city-- maybe the most colorful one I've ever been to. The stores and cafes were all popping with color.

Check out the doors!

There was art everywhere.

The graffiti was awesome.

I found boats!

And there was a farmer's market. (I got a Cloddagh Ring!)

Even Galway's paintings are bright!

But in the end, this sign described Galway best:

My one disappointment? I didn't get to hear Galway Girl played in Galway!

Next time!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Garda Won't Let Blarney Castle Keep Their Weed

Or, Cork part 2!

My second day at Cork started fantastically; my camera fell off my bunk bed. Yay! I was stoked, obviously.

Actually, though, I wasn't too worried, because my camera was at least still working. I mean, the little door thing covering the place you put the batteries in (I'm wicked technical, yo) wouldn't completely close, but as long as I held it shut, it would still take pictures. Then, it stopped and I was completely and utterly devastated. But I'll get to that later.

(I swear, though, I could write an entire blog about nothing but technology hating me. In the past month, I've had my laptop break, my camera break, my favorite coat ever got stolen-- which totally counts; coats were technology once! I bet if a cave man saw my coat, he'd be wicked impressed!-- and today, my iPod broke. But then it.. unbroke, so that wasn't too bad. Technically. Anyway, I basically have a black thumb, but with technology instead of gardening. Everything I touch falls apart. Except for phones, for some reason. Watch, though-- I probably just jinxed myself.)

Anyway, the day before, I was told that I absolutely had to go to Blarney Castle, no excuses. So I did. I mean, my schedule was completely open. Completely. Honestly, when I chose to go to Cork, I chose it on the basis that everyone said it was really pretty. No other reason. Nothing else. So, I was just basically going to go where everyone said was cool. So, I did.

And, oh my God, I don't regret it at all.

Blarney Castle was amazing. And the grounds were beautiful beyond words. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Okay, I lied. Still talking. BUT LOOK HOW PRETTY THE CASTLE IS.

And, oh, look, there are trees! Finally, finally trees! (It's impossible to say how much I've missed frolicking around in the woods!) And it's sunny! Crazy, ridiculously sunny! And the grass is GREEN! Ahhhh I love nature!!

And then, I got closer to the castle. And it was awesome. Just as awesome as Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland. Different, though; it goes up instead of spreading across the land.

It was all so gorgeous, and I was so excited to take a million pictures. I was so excited to post them all on facebook, too. But, oh, the drama, it was not to be. I got to take two more pictures, and then my camera died. I could have cried.

The last picture I got to take before my camera died. FOREVER. Or three days. But, it felt like FOREVER. It was legit awful, guys.

I managed to still have fun, though. (So much fun.) I played around on the castle. And then I nearly died climbing up it. It's kind of pathetic, probably, but I absolutely hate climbing up spiral staircases. They terrify me. And to get to the top of the castle, you have to climb up approximately one million of them. And they're all completely made of stone. Ancient stone, partially weathered away by centuries and centuries of feet. And that made them slippery. Oh, and they were steep. And I'm short. (Especially in Ireland. Oh my God. Land of leprechauns? Yeah, um, no. Giants, more like.) Oh, and, also, to climb them, you have to cling on desperately to a rope.

It was sort of petrifying.

I had the most fun once I got out of the castle and got to see more of the grounds. These grounds were about eight million, give or take a couple, times as beautiful as the ones in the beginning. And I have no pictures of them.

Sad face.

Anyway, the first thing I did when I got out of the castle (besides buy batteries, in the desperate hope that that was all my camera needed. It didn't work, and I was sad) was go to the poison garden. It was awesome. It was something I would have adored back when I was a little kid and liked to make magic potions with leaves and dirt and stuff. Though-- who am I kidding-- part of me (most of me) would still totally love doing that. And the poison garden was still wicked fantastic.

The best part, though, was the fact that they used to have a marijuana plant growing there. But, the Garda-- the Irish police-- confiscated it. No lie. There was even a notification-- it made me laugh, so I made sure to write it down-- saying, "We apologize for the absence of this plant. It has been seized by the Garda."


Monday, April 4, 2011

Cork! Part 1!

I know this post is crazy, crazy late, but at least it's here, right? Maybe?


Even though it looks like it must have been raining the whole time in Cork City based on my pictures, it was really only raining the first few hours. The rest of the time, it was more beautiful than I know how to say. Really. Just wait until I post the sunny-day pictures tomorrow!

Of course, even in the rain, Cork was extremely pretty.

And everyone was really cheerful. That's not something you get so much in Dublin-- at least not during the daytime. People always seem to be in a wicked hurry there, so the change was kind of awesome and refreshing. More than that, really. I adored it. It was more homey. And, actually, parts of Cork reminded me of Vermont, one of my homes. People wore more colorful coats, and half of everyone wore jeans, instead of just leggings or sweatpants. There were a lot of organic and outdoors-themed shops, and tons of mini farmers markets. It was really cute.

Look at the size of the nutella! That would last me, like, a week! (I swear, you guys, that really would last me lots longer than a week. Um.)

Cork seemed to have more of a sense of humor than Dublin.

I mean, how fantastically, well, awesome and stupid, is this?

Ok. Story time. That store reminds me of this cabbage patch doll I used to have when I was a little kid. You know how they always come with their own name pre-written on their birth certificates? Well, mine came named, Tempest Rina. No lie. So, of course, I ended up calling her, "Tempted Rino," just because. I was like eight. Ok. That was a pretty lame story, wasn't it?


I think this is my favorite Cork City picture. It makes me laugh whenever I see it. The old lady just makes it.

Another thing about Cork? There are hills! Really high ones. Actually, ones much higher than the Burlington hills, even . Ones so high that instead of walking up the streets, you have the choice of taking stairs. Really steep ones that climb up concrete cliffs in two flights.

That, up the cliffs, up the stairs, was where most of the houses seemed to be. So, if you lived in Cork City, chances are that you would actually live high above the city. It's pretty neat.

At night, it's even more than that, more than just cool. The view crossing the River Lee to city center at night, is one of the most beautiful city sights I've ever seen. The hills are all around you-- to the side of you and behind you-- in the distance, and they're all full with tiny golden lights like fairies, and reflecting on the river below. Just gorgeous.

This was the best picture of any sort of hill I could find in my albums, and it's not a very steep one. My excuse is that my camera was being wicked lame. Technology really doesn't like me. Too bad I like it. Well, sort of. Sometimes. Sort of sometimes.


I was mostly on my own the first two days. I made a kind of stupid mistake planning for my trip; I shouldn't have left on a Saturday, and especially not so late on one. Because when I got to my hostel, no one was hanging out either in my bedroom or the common room. No one was around to meet. So, I ended up going to the pubs on my own. I'd never done that before, and I'd rather not do it again. It's not that it was unsafe-- I felt very safe-- but it was awkward, walking into a pub and not knowing anyone. In that sort of situation, without your friends, or at least someone, it can be hard to know how to act, and that's something I'd just never thought of before. It's just so much easier and nicer knowing people. Though, I did end up having a fun night.

Actually, the first couple days were kind of lonely. I hadn't anticipated that it all, but I really was kind of alone. I didn't know anyone, and I couldn't text anyone because I was pretty much the only Champlain kid still in Ireland. After a day of that, it felt like I hadn't talked to anyone in ages, which was kind of hard.

At the same time-- I know, this is so conflicting-- I wouldn't change it. Because I did meet more people, awesome people, later, and even while I didn't know anyone, it was fun. Freeing. I didn't have to be anywhere or do anything. I could just run around the city, explore whatever I wanted, and get lost. I like getting lost.