Monday, March 12, 2007

The Wind that Shook Katie

As we raced on down to Slievedooley to see the home where Michael Reidy was born, the realization that the prime conditions, (i.e. daylight) for experiencing such a place, which were to include the farm where Michael's father and many Reidy's before him lived as well as the cemetery where they are buried, were rapidly diminishing. We opted to divert to Kilrush instead where we could get a quick bite to eat and save the "Reidy Experience" for a time when we could absorb it all in at one time during daylight hours.

Kilrush is a pretty nice little town with a marina, a nice little square and some great traditional pubs. It also, it turns out, has a growing population of Polish and other Eastern European people. This is a result of the open borders of the European Union and the fact that Ireland's economy has been growing a phenomenal rate for over a decade due, in large part, to their having one of the lowest tax rates in the EU. Unemployment has dropped drastically and all of a sudden, people started to emigrate to Ireland rather than emigrating from Ireland. Most of the people I spoke to about this situation didn't really mind it owing to the fact that the "Polish are doing jobs that employers can't fill with Irish". Wow, what a concept.

We grabbed something to eat at a pub just off the square when I got a call from Helen who said she had gotten a copy of "The Wind that Shakes the Barley", a terrific movie about the fight for independance and Irish Civil War in the 1920's. I had been interested in it since my visit with Megan and hadn't been able to find it in the US so Helen took the liberty of renting it for us so after dinner, we headed back to Helen and Denis's home for "movie night".

The movie was intense for those of us who could understand the characters' accents and apparently even more intense for those who couldn't (Katie was closest to the TV and still had to ask what they were saying all the time). It was also a well executed ruse on Helen's part to get us back to her house to have yet another celebration for Katie's birthday. Surprise party # two!

Since Katie couldn't eat her Birthday cake(too floury), she decided to take some of Helen's crystal stemware for herself.

Not only did Helen have a birthday cake for Katie, she also came out with rubarb pie, coffee, tea and other treats that made us wish we'd skipped dessert in Kirush if not dinner altogether.

Since Joe hadn't had a chance to play the fiddle for a whole evening, he was itching to play so much that he almost opted out of watching the movie to head to Doolin, about an hours drive, to maybe get in on a session there. Fortunately we all managed to convice him to stay without the use of rope or other restraining devices. Since it was well before his bedtime(at this point, somewhere between 3:00 and 5:00 am) by the time we got back to the cottage in Kilmurry, he cracked open the case for a little session accompanied by some toe tapping and a cereal box bodhran.

Katie watches TV off of the reflections of Joe' head.

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