Arrived back in Oxford from Kerry yesterday in time to catch the new flowers blooming, the sun out (and the city in an unexpected state of undress and joie de vivre), and the tail end of the Oxford Literary festival. In the space of the month in Ireland we missed the death of Liz Taylor and the publishing of David Foster Wallace’s Pale Kings (on my immediate to-read list) and had to catch stray headlines about Japan’s post-disaster recuperation and the Libyan situation on visits to the shop for milk and to the Lobster bar for the rare pool game, Guinness or glass o’ wine.
The house was in Kerry, in the tiny Charlie Chaplain-championed coastal town of Waterville. Waterville lies on the Inis Lough peninsula on the Ring of Kerry; the town is wrapped around the Banskellig bay (skelligs are, I believe, early Christian settlements on rocky outcroppings only reached by boat), surrounded by cow-and-sheep farming land, and touching Lough Currane.
Drives to Killarney and Kinsale involved deathly (and I mean deathly) Irish country roads, being trapped by slurry trucks or tractors, crossing mountains, bogland, peat, gorse, moor, and sheep country.
We became fans of Derelicte architecture.
Listened to Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Carole King, & the Eurythmics.
Days of food, tea, scrabble, cards, tea, next term’s reading list (Lawrence, Joyce, Woolf, Conrad, Pinter, Yeats), watching the ponies on the hill, an amateur production of Importance of Being Earnest attended by cows, short walks, and tea.
The weather was unseasonably sunny on either side of the trip, but in the centre was several days of rough water, howling wind, rain, and the whole town sinking into silence.
The quiet was the best of it. Doing without much internet. Doing tasks slowly. Eating silently.
But it’s time to come back to the rattle of suitcases and clicking of smart heels on Holywell street, and the tourist-humming streets. Back to the books.