I feel that if I describe to you where I’m staying and what’s going on right now, you’d take one look at me and say, “hey… stop playing on everyone’s stereotype of what Ireland actually is.” But… when I say Ireland (leave out the magical leprechauns, potato famine, and Lucky Charms) take that image in your head. (Except you, Kim. Yes, I know you went to Ireland before me.) That’s where I am right now.
The Kilmurvey House is a tiny Bed and Breakfast on Innis Mor. To our right (facing it… I should probably orient you a little bit since you’re not here.) is a tiny little collection of shops. I keep using that word “tiny.” It’s been three sentences in this paragraph and each one has contained the word “tiny.” Now it’s four. But when I say “tiny” the Bed and Breakfast is about the size of a large house in America with a little part put on so we can go to class (in our new socks… more on that in a minute). The tiny collection of shops is that… a place to buy coffee and whatever they feel like serving along with two places to buy sweaters (more on that in a minute) and a place to buy celtic goods. Oh, and a place for candy and stuff, but that’s attached to one of the sweater shops, so I don’t want to be too confusing.
Everyone is super friendly. I already bought a sweater (or jumper) and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it, not just from the people selling it to me. It’s to the point that I honest considered buying a second one, but they’re way too pricy. I did however, buy something else way more useful… socks. Big, thick wool socks. As I mentioned, our classroom (which incidentally is the only place to get wifi in this location, which is also the reason I’m not going to be posting these until the week after they all happened) is located attached to the house. Which means… no shoes for THIS guy learning to write. I’m wearing thick socks and that’s all I really need out of life right now. It’s pretty glorious.
The house is run by the sweetest woman who so far has done laundry for me and provided us with a home cooked meal the night we got here. By home cooked I mean everything was made from scratch. I wouldn’t be surprised if she hadn’t somehow created the chicken from ingredients she harvested from the land herself. She’s the nicest woman, and speaks with a thick Irish accent. And I really have no idea when she actually sleeps, she’s been running around all times of day, cooking, filling the fireplaces with coal to keep things warm… it’s amazing. And the house itself… it has all the feeling of a house you’d actually live in. There’s one room for the television. Squeaks in the floor. Quirks that you don’t really complain about, you accept as part of the charm of the house.
At night we headed into “town” and to this tiny pub called Jo Watty’s. Yes, there’s that word again. Tiny. But it’s clearly a place all the locals hang out, I saw the woman who sold me two shirts who jokingly asked “why aren’t you wearing your new shirt!” and then laughed. I saw three of the people who were staying at the Kulmurvey house independent of our group, who asked us how we were enjoying things, told us stories of the island, and complimented me on my jumper. That’s what I was wearing instead of my new shirts.
So far, this place has been incredible. I really underestimated the pure beauty of Ireland, and I really didn’t think I’d love it this much. I pointed out several times as a joke that I may not return to the U.S. I remember in England, I cried a little bit on the tarmac, waiting for the plane to remove me from English soil. (Haven’t gotten to that part yet in Bad Shakespeare Takes England, returning in July.) But… I don’t know. I feel a more special connection to this place. I’m going to have a much harder time leaving it. It makes me feel comfortable. One of my friends said it best to me a little while ago… I never felt out of place in America. And I never did, I love America, it’s the home of the most entertaining political system in the world. This isn’t some twisted declaration that I’m leaving or anything like that. But I never felt out of place in America. But here…. here I feel comfortable. I feel as comfortable as sockfeet.