Cork, Ireland News Flash

Today, self walked quite a bit. She took a break mid-afternoon and went back to her room. A news program came on. “A young boy drowned today in the Liffey, 2:30 p.m.”

She looked at the time: 5:30 p.m.

So, only three hours earlier?

It’s Saturday. How could the boy drown on a Saturday? With people out and about. In the middle of the afternoon.

It was a beautiful day. At first self thought the death occurred in Cork. Then she remembered the river around Cork is the Lee. The Liffey is in Dublin. This made the news marginally better. She would absolutely hate to think the boy drowned in Cork. She was enjoying the day, it was such a nice day. And in the meantime, a boy was drowning close by. And she so unaware!

This is the thing about Ireland: it’s small enough that a boy’s death in Dublin gets broadcast to Cork.

This trip, she learned that the greater Los Angeles area has more people than the whole of Ireland. One city in America, just one city, has more people than Ireland.

That really puts things in perspective. Somehow, because of the literary richness, she imagined — still imagines — a much bigger country.

Ireland is small, but it’s also so specific. Which county you’re from in Ireland matters a lot. She always ends up asking people which county they’re from, and the answer makes a big difference: County Kerry means one thing, County Monaghan another.

That trip she made two days ago to Dublin? Two and a half hours by train.  She was in Dublin one night, then back to Cork. Self could probably do the whole country in 24 hours.

During the last AWP conference, self was talking to Your Impossible Voice editor Stephen Beachy, and he told her he commutes to his job in San Francisco from San Diego. So it’s all a matter of perspective, really. Californians would probably think nothing of working in Dublin and then going home to Cork every night. Cork (if it were in California) would be considered a “bedroom community” — a suburb that’s like a ghost town in the daytime, while everyone is away, working somewhere else. A two-and-a-half hour commute each way? Small potatoes!

For that matter, you can even work in London and go home to Dublin every night. It’s only an hour each way by plane, after all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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