Our last few days in Ireland were split between Dublin and Kilkenny.
Sunday, the day after Van’s show in Dublin, was a lazy day, catching up on things. Mind you, everyone else in Ireland was busy – big rugby game today – Wales vs Ireland in the Six Nations tournament. When we headed out late afternoon, the streets of Dublin were swarming with red-jerseyed people partying it up big. We headed over to Temple Bar, looking for food and a bar that would be televising the Super Bowl later that night. Successful on both counts! Trinity Bar on Dame Street was the place to be for the Super Bowl. And it was crowded with those red jerseys. Which was when I found out that these were the Wales supporters, partying down after their 24-21 win over Ireland. It made me wonder what Dublin town would have looked like if the Irish had won. We likely would have been crawling over bodies of green jerseys. In the meantime. the Giants pulled out a win over the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and with no American commercials to watch between plays, it was hard to get my enthusiasm up for the game.
Bridget headed down to Grafton Street to busk on Monday while I headed out for a retailing day. Get cash, spend cash. Moderately successful, I called it an early night, so we could be up in the morning in time to catch the bus to Kilkenny for two more days of research for me and two days of busking for Bridget. We both came away with what we wanted. Talk about good fortune. Local historian Pat Nolan just happened to be at Kilkenny’s Rothe House library doing some research of his own when I dropped by, and he graciously let me pick his brain for information I wasn’t finding in any of the books. One thing led to another and next thing I know I’m heading off to the old Kilkenny gaol, with a set of directions that I’m finding are pretty typical for the Irish – “When you get to the building with the big pillars, veer right, walk down there awhile, then after the friary, veer right at the next junction, and you won’t see the gaol, but it used to be there a hundred years ago. I’m not entirely sure how I even got to the right neighborhood, but after a few wrong turns and stopping to ask the way a couple of times (which was all on a wing and a prayer since no one had heard of this gaol), and lo and behold, I made it to the right place, sort of. I was just walking into the local fire station to get more directional help when behind me I hear “Shannon!” And there was Pat, on his bicycle, my guardian angel ready to take me the extra block and show me the way. Thank you, Pat!
Now completely famished, I stopped in for lunch at blaa blaa blaa, down on the riverbank, simply because I loved the name.
It turns out that blaa is a type of bread. And I was hungry for it. They make a mean latte too. Thanks, Elsbeth and Eva! The lone table out front on the cobblestones afforded me a grand view of Kilkenny Castle, perhaps the town’s most famous landmark.
But that was it for sightseeing. It was off to the library for many more hours of reading and note-taking. When the day was done and it was time to board the bus back to Dublin, I felt I had accomplished what I came to Ireland to do – find the setting for the book. And now that I’ve got that done, it’s time to move on to the next setting in the book. The book starts in Ireland, but circumstances force her to leave Ireland and head to America. She ends up going to New Orleans. And oddly, enough, so am I. A case of life mimicking art. I didn’t plan it. It just happened that way.
All I need to do now is pack my bags and get on the plane in the morning.