Castillo San Marcos

Castillo San Marcos
13th-century castle, El Puerto de Santa Maria. That WAS our house to the left and behind the tree!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finally, Ireland!

No, this is not photoshopped!

June:  the end of school, the season of sunflowers here in Spain, and the fin de curso de baile for Tia, Sasha and me.   Oh, and wait…the caracoles are here (every restaurant in town has a sign announcing them).   They are for sale on the street, climbing around happily until they get dumped (like lobsters and crabs) into a vat of boiling broth.  I’m not much of a fan, but the Andalucians love them!

Delectable slimyness

And of course, it’s the start of summer vacation.  I have always wanted to visit Ireland, that emerald isle with the saucy attitude, the verdant hillsides, and its tragic history.  I know a good number of Irish immigrants in California—fun-loving and quick-witted the lot.  Since doing the research on our palace, my interest has only been whetted, given the interesting and unexpected connection between my beloved Spain and this very different island to the northwest: Although still not verified scientifically, the Kings of Spain believed strongly enough that the Irish people shared deep roots with Galician sailors and warriors that they granted the Irish immigrants full rights as citizens during the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Irish country lass

Even though the girls’ school didn’t end until June 22nd, we flew off to Dublin on June 13th to meet Suzi and Ethan and the boys to toodle through the lush green (and cold!) countryside of Western Ireland.  Renting a beach cottage in County Clare just a short drive from the famous Cliffs of Moher, we explored the coast while helping each other avoid head-on collisions—driving on the wrong side of the road is nothing if not attention-grabbing!

Looking westward
This is also not photoshopped!

Close to the edge
This made Daddy a little uptight

After the Cliffs of Moher (spectacular drops on the West coast down to a gray Atlantic), we swung through County Kerry, lunching in Tralee and passing through the village of Dingle before returning via Bunratty Castle for a medieval banquet.  

Imposing fortress

Everything was perfect, dining while listening to the harmonies of 15th-century choir songs, until Ado said he didn’t feel so good halfway through the ribs.  By the time we got out to the cars, all those medieval ribs were coming back up the poor little guy.

Bunratty minstrels

Click here to see the Bunratty Singers in action!

But by the next day he recovered, and we headed out to Limerick to St. John’s castle, and on to Dublin.  A fairy-tale dinner was the next event, sharing the strong Irish tradition of storytelling and magic of this shamrock, leprechaun, fairy tree, Blarney-stone-infused culture.  

Castle of St. John
Ghosts and leprechauns

But by the end, Suzi didn’t feel so good.  Nor did Tia.  Looks like it wasn’t the ribs, after all, but a stomach virus that laid half of us low!

In the dungeon

We hung out in our little Dublin apartment, the healthy ones continuing to cruise the city, the sickies resting and recuperating.  I got my fill of fish-n-chips for the year, and Guinness was, of course, the drink of choice. 

Irish wisdom
And then back to Spain we went.  I had a performance with my flamenco teacher, Noelia, in Peña El Chumi.  Ho, hum!  This is getting so common that none of my family showed up to see my next 10 minutes of fame on a stage.  So here it is for you!

Click here to see me dance...aaaaaagain...

Much more interesting, I should say, was the Fin de Curso event for Tia and Sasha’s dance class (as well as mine) with our teacher Lola de Cai.   Tia and Sasha have far surpassed me now in flamenco, dancing an alegria and a garrotin.  I, for my part, danced a hilarious tanguillo complete with the traditional Cádiz fishwife outfit, and then of course strutted my bulerias skills in the fin de fiesta.  

Click here to see me as a fishwife from Cádiz

Click here to see Tia and Sasha dance the garrotin

We packed a lot into these few short days before leaving on our next adventure: Crete! 

Sunflower selfie

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to add your comments here!