The Irish Way

I’ve spent my life to this point in a very stressed out, tough, angry part of the country. [You know I love you, Philly, but it’s true.] This is not to say the Irish never get upset or angry, of course they do. But it’s usually at the government, corruption, inequity, persecutors of people and of course the rival football or rugby club. As long as I stay outraged at wrongdoing and don’t start cheering for County Mayo, I’ll fit right in.

The village I live in is small and as a result, everyone knows one another. Even a transplant like me. For instance, the other day in taking my daily walk, I traversed a part of Main Street and as I did, I encountered the postman. I intended to wave hello and keep going but he stopped me and said, “Hiya, hold on I’ve got your post for you.” Now, mind you, I was nowhere near my house and I’ve only met the man twice in the time we’ve lived here. Granted, “the American woman” probably stands out in the small crowd, but already I’m familiar. That’s a wonderful thing. My mail carrier in Bucks County never addressed me by name and frequently mis-delivered my mail even after 14 years.

Riding the bus to and from Galway is always a pleasurable education, too. All the neighbors catch up on the news of their families and the state of the world. “Hiya, Mary. How’re ye keeping? Ah, grand, that’s grand. God bless ye.” The trip home is like being on the school bus —the driver, who everybody also knows— stops at all the old ladies’ houses so they don’t have so far to walk. “This next house on the left, Gerry, if ye don’t mind. Thanks a million.” How cool is that? It was a miracle if any of my Bucks County neighbors waved hello as I walked by. I only knew their names because their mail was so frequently mis-delivered.

And the local radio station: Galway Bay FM has its own funny charm. It’s always playing on the bus so I get to hear it often enough. They have call-in contests and the DJ always finds some connection to the caller. “Hi, we’ve got Julie from Loughrea on the line. How’re ye, Julie? Now, where do ye live in Loughrea? Northside? Say, do ye know the McGettigans? They’re two houses down? Ah, they’re great pals of mine. Went to school with Jamie, don’t ye know…” Eventually they get to the call-in contest question. It takes forever, but it’s pretty hilarious.

The radio also gives a rundown of the local death notices, the subsequent viewing location and the funeral arrangements. And on the other side of surreal they also provide the television lineup for RTE One, including plot synopses and teaser/trailers for each program. All I can say about that is, it’s no wonder everyone goes to the pub. Now, since I’m five hours or more ahead of you folks back home, I’m off to have a pint!

32 thoughts on “The Irish Way

  1. I think you’re secretly Irish. Stolen as a wee babe to the states and now you’re back home. I just had a thought. Bring the six characters you’ve already created and plunk them an Irish castle or B and B. Leo considers quitting being a contractor and running a pub, the girls go antique hunting and unknowingly stir up a friendly ghost, Sir Clyde, who was killed when a keg of beer landed on him…you get the picture. Or a mix of old and new….Mary-Margaret is a newly minted nun who longs to either do jazz sax or become a radio host, maybe Bucks county has deep, dark roots in Ireland and only the Bucks county six can figure out the connection.

    You sound more relaxed and the radio host you quoted comes tripping of your tongue very nicely. You sound at home.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha! I’ve thought about that: bringing some of the friends over from Bucks County. Maybe Joni and Graham come to Galway on their honeymoon and shenanigans ensue! Thanks so much, Tom. I’m really enjoying it over here!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha! Kinda sounds like where I live. We get the deaths, arrests, births, all of it, right on the radio, names and all. Cracks me up. I’ll tell ya’, live like that for a while, and moving back to a large city will sound horrible. Mark my words. 😃😃

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  3. Hi Meg, I’m glad you find your new habitat pretty cool and I hope it stays that way. However, having been an incomer in a remote Scottish village for thirteen years – be warned, there is a dark side to other people knowing your business. Their interest is not always benign and the initially friendly curiosity can morph into an oppressive claustrophobia where you are judged and criticised for everything you say and do. There can be an intolerance towards anyone different in small communities no matter how hard that person tries to fit in. After a while you may long for the anonymity of city life just so that you can be free. Wishing you all the best. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the warning and the well wishes, too, Nikita. I actually worried about that a bit when we decided on living out here. But my village isn’t too far out of the city so that might save me. And despite its small size, it does have a bit of diversity. There are several races and ethnicities besides the local Celts so that shows promise. Anyway, I’ll take a day at a time and enjoy the experience! Nonetheless, forewarned is forearmed! 🤞

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Meg, I worried about my post as I didn’t want to seem negative or dampen your enthusiasm. It’s good your village is near a city. In my case we are ninety miles away from Inverness and the local fishing community is very traditional, Christian and white. And you are right – we can only take one day at a time. Its impossible to make generalisations about a people or a place. Every situation is unique. Many people move to the Highlands with great expectations and idealism and I was one of them. But there are problems wherever you live and after 13 years I’m still living here which is a testimony in itself!
    Looking forward to hearing how it goes for you. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow, that region of Scotland is stunning. I visited years ago and remember it fondly. Though I know visiting and living in a place are completely different things. But I’m glad you’ve stuck it out – the scenery would be a definite plus!

      We’ve been coming to this part of Ireland for the past 15 years so it wasn’t a spontaneous move. And fortunately in that time we’ve made some friends. I’m sure to be keeping up posting about it! Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad the life change is going well! I was only in Ireland for five days but I agree the Irish are very friendly. Can’t wait to come visit, maybe next year if all goes well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Dee! So far so good. Living just a little outside the city is the best of both worlds. It has country charm but quick access to the arts and culture of Galway. Right now I’m just soaking it all up!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Meg,

    I loved reading this post – so charming and fun. It must be nice living in a place where everyone feels a bit like an extended family. The rural community I grew up in southern WV was very much like that. I wonder if it’s like that today? Thanks for sharing! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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