Entries tagged with “drogheda living”.
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Fri 24 Sep 2010
The other day while out to eat with my friends we got into a discussion about colcannon, the much-beloved traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage, spring onions or kale, depending on how your mam prefers to make it. Sinead and Earnan recalled how as kids, they always had a very specific way of eating their colcannon. They and their siblings would create a little volcano with the potato mixture and then put a lump of butter in the middle, resulting in a butterlicious lava flow that churned out from the center of the mash mountain. No one remembers who started the trend but they both recalled with great affection this small but crucial colcannon custom.
I am always impressed at how close my Irish friends keep their childhood memories; whether we’re drinking at the pub or taking a spin around town, the entertainment is often tales from their childhood, always told with smiling eyes and a kind of pure giddiness that’s usually limited to children themselves.
Wed 1 Sep 2010
Illustration credit: Suat Eman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Whenever my friends and I go to the pub, something strange occurs. Though we all go there together, the second we arrive there is a separation of the sexes: the women sit at one table and the men at another. It’s kind of like the Red Sea, but instead of Moses it’s a peculiar, old-fashioned standard that parts us.
I suppose no matter the culture, women have their bond with other women and men with men but I still find this automatic, consistent division very hard to understand. While I’ve never been one to pay much attention to social expectations or opinions, I feel self conscious when I move over to the men’s table (and I find I’m almost always the first to make the crossover!). As the evening goes on people eventually mix but there’s always the core male table and female table enforcing the divide with talk of football on one side and babies, handbags and clothes on the other.
Tue 13 Jul 2010
Sunday mornings in Ireland
*In Ireland, you can buy a meat pie…in a can.
*That even though I’ve never been a nationalist, I can get defensive when the Irish slag off America/Americans. It’s the same thing with your bratty little brother; you’re allowed to say whatever you want about the little sh*tbird but when someone else does, it’s on.
*You know you’re turning Irish when you start dropping the “t” off words like what (“wha?”) and not (“noh!?”).
*Really depressing novels, especially ones that center on a former abuse victim who rises above adversity and creates a fulfilling life for him/herself, are very popular here. People go mad for titles like “Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes” and “Don’t Tell Mummy.”
*Nudity on network television is no big deal in Ireland. That said, most of the naked people on TV are none you’d ever want to see sans clothing (see popular television show Embarrassing Bodies for many prime examples).
Fri 9 Jul 2010
The first Irish guy I really noticed was a barman named Martin. It was 1996, and I had just moved to a grungy apartment above a carpet store on Clement Street in San Francisco’s Richmond district. My local pub became the Front Room, which was conveniently across the street from my front door and where Martin happened to work. His dark eyes, adorable Dublin accent and mischievous grin instantly drew me in. My best friend Cat and I became fixtures on the pub’s weathered barstools every Tuesday and Thursday, Martin’s nights behind the bar. I don’t remember how many times he “lost” our ever-growing bar tab, which was fine considering I was living on student loans and barely able to make ends meet.
It was all very innocent. Although he was an outrageous flirt, he didn’t make a move for a very, very long time. Some would say he acted more like a protective big brother than a romantic suitor but I fell hard nonetheless. Finally one evening he walked out from behind the bar and took the empty stool next to mine. I don’t remember what we were talking about but at one point he reached over, cupped my face with his hands and gave me a long, slow kiss. The room seemed to go quiet and my cheeks turned scarlet. I barely had enough time to savor the moment when Basil, the other bartender on duty, leaned over and whispered, “That’s Martin’s girlfriend sitting on the other side of him!” As if in slow motion my gaze swept over to my left to see Martin, who’d already turned his back to me at this point, holding hands with a blonde woman I’d never seen before. By some small miracle she hadn’t witnessed his betrayal. As my vision grew blurry with tears I slipped out of the bar and vowed never to return. I found out later that his girlfriend had been in Ireland and had recently moved to be with him. Funny, he’d never mentioned her before.
Thu 1 Apr 2010
A typical Saturday night
There’s a reason why the Irish are known for drinking, and it’s because they do, in fact, LOVE to drink alcohol. To say they work hard at earning this world renowned reputation would be the understatement of a lifetime.
Back in Los Angeles, it was typical for my friends and me to go to a bar, have a couple of drinks, and then call it a night. Sure, we would go a bit nuts occasionally, perhaps once every couple of weeks (more during the holiday season). But because in LA you have to drive everywhere, or pay a ridiculous sum for a taxi, we’d often keep it relatively quiet.
Here, drinking is a commitment and one that is taken very seriously. Most of my friends do not just go out for a few drinks, they go all out. When planning an outing, a typical conversation goes like this:
Me: “So who’s all going?”
Friend: “Well, me and Aoife, who’s drinking cos she’s off work tomorrow. Earnan and Bushman have a match tomorrow so they won’t come. Roisin’s off the drink for Lent. Sinead can drive. I think I’ll be drinking as well since I can have a lie-in tomorrow.”
Tue 23 Mar 2010
In Ireland, these cookies are “biscuits.”
The other day, my friend Sinead was telling me about a peculiar town in England that we need to go visit. She said it was a small community full of very strange people.
“They have no teets!” she said.
What??? No teets!? I imagined a town of nipple-less women, walking down the street in slow motion like zombies in a horror film. Was there something in the water that caused this deformity? How did they feed their newborn babies? I surmised that bra sales in this region must be low, perhaps even non-existent.
“Why don’t they have breasts?” I asked, still trying to wrap my brain around this bizarre phenomenon.
“What? No, they have no TEET!” she said again, pointing to her mouth.
Ohhhhhh. Teeth. Right.
Wed 10 Mar 2010
You can live in a big city like Los Angeles your whole life and never run into someone you know on the street. Occasionally it happens; you’ll see a friend or co-worker and there’s always this sense of surprise, like “Funny seeing you here!” You might even tell someone else, “I ran into [fill in the blank] today at the store!” It’s unusual enough to make it newsworthy.
I’m finding that life in a small town like Drogheda means that you pretty much can’t go anywhere without seeing someone you know. You’re probably wondering how many people I could possibly know here, and the answer is that I am friends with about seven people and am acquainted with about eight more, so 15 all together. On my first day here, as my friend and I drove through Drogheda, I spotted four people I know walking around town. Four!