Tribe of the Ring Fort

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dingle dangles (Barry)

Dingle, the town, is discovered. Too discovered. I’ll venture to say the place is in mid-spoil and has begun to steam toward the crest of the hill that leads to an inevitable downward slide through tourist-trappy into honky-tonk. To wit:
• Twenty-something Iowan--as in Midwest U.S.--girls there on a January weekend. Made me feel like the place would start voting for George W. Bush any minute.
• A DISCO at the foot of the road to the the Connor Pass. To my dismay, during that weekend night, my mates went sniffing after said corn-fed, red-blooded American girls to a disco, multi-colored flashing sunken dance floor and all, at the foot of the road to the the Connor Pass. The damn out-of-the-Lord-of-the-Rings Connor Pass! Could there be anything more antithetical to disco than the Connor pass?
• Already a bit difficult, in February, to find a room there on a weekend night.
• Impossible to buy real estate there, I’m told by a local landlord and other locals who we recently chatted with while there. Likely sign of a speculator mentality having taken over.
• Just heard through Sarah that a newlywed couple from Lahinch (Clare, I think) checked into the Listowel Arms after having jettisoned themselves from Dingle due to the too-touristy feel. I'm sure the native antennae are more sensitive to this than the typical tourist's--and these locals had options that most tourists wouldn't--but still could be an early warning sign.

• To its credit, it’s keeping a very tight lid on allowable development. Perhap it’s learned from the many lessons out there provided by ruined tourist spots. We were speaking to a woman whose house on the edge of town had burned down. Even her family’s planning/rebuilding efforts were being tightly overseen by the local Town Council/Planning Commission/whatever it’s called.
• Also, to its credit, Dick Mac’s on Green street, half pub, half DIY (hardware) store, has the Vermont license plate ‘TINKERS’ prominently displayed over on its pub side. (photo coming soon)
• Those little metal cover-plates indicating access to utilities often appear in pairs, one "Water," the other "Uisce" (whiskey).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Women (Barry)

News flash: After extensive search, Irish woman seen today with non-straight hair.
Apparently the gene for straight hair has achieved near-total dominance among females here in northern Kerry. This is news to me because, for various reasons, I felt sure that thick wavy hair was the classic mark, universally, of Irish hair. Come to think of it, however, this was just because random people throughout the course of my life would make comments to that effect; now, in my first full field test, I see it was all hearsay.

Our friend Maura Mahoney says this is because they all pay to have their hair straightened. I don’t quite believe that yet, because looking around my 5-year-old daughter Susannah’s all-girl Junior Infants class reveals a room where straight hair is also the rule. In fact, we received a steady stream of admiring comments from mothers at the school about said daughter's hair, and weren’t quite sure what made it that special. Now we think we’ve learned.

They (women) also dress up in a big way here. Ask our clothes budget. Sarah had to get a set of spiffy suits for her Manager position at a local hotel; no two ways about it. A consultant at an employment agency who moved from London told her that not even London was up to Ireland’s standard here. But from what we’ve seen, being employed is not necessarily a precondition for haute couture in female fashion. It’s a long way from Vermont in this regard.

Ash Wednesday 2006

We ate the traditional Shrove Tuesday pancakes yesterday.

By the way, I referred to a peat fire in an earlier post. That was very wrong. It's TURF, which is the same thing, but what you burn is called turf, although it's peat from the bog.