The 5 Strangest Things I Saw, Did, & Heard While In Ireland

What everyone else thinks of when I say “I’m a writer”: Hunching over a typewriter in a cold, poorly-lit garret, staring dejectedly at the rejection slips tacked onto my wall, dreaming impossible dreams

What I think of: Carrying around a little notebook wherein I jot down all the weird, funny, and/or unbelievable things I observe in my day-to-day life so I can use them in future stories and essays

This post is exactly what the title says… a list of things I encountered in Ireland and wrote down as soon as possible for posterity’s sake. They’re not in any particular order, but they all made me laugh!

Enjoy!

1.

On one of my first days in Dublin I heard a little boy exclaim, “Jesus Christ!” in the thickest Irish accent you ever heard. He couldn’t have been more than six, but already sounded as world-weary as an old man. Such a small moment, but it makes me laugh even now.

2.

On one of my very last days in Dublin, I ventured into The Stag’s Head for Ukulele Tuesday. One night a week, this pub hosts jam sessions and everyone is welcome, no matter their musical ability or whether they’ve even played the ukulele before. Almost everyone in my study abroad group had already been, but not me: I was always too tired to go. I nearly didn’t make the trip into the city, but I’m so glad I did because it was one of the most fun, not to mention bizarre, evenings I’ve ever had.

We played several dozen songs – singing loudly, off-key, and with much enthusiasm. By the end of the night my voice was hoarse and my ears rang, but I didn’t care. I don’t think I went out any other night in Ireland, so the fact that this one experience was so good made my effort to stay up late even more worth it.

(Note: The video is not mine! We did play that song, though.)

3.

I wasn’t in Belfast for very long, but what time I did have I spent well: I learned more about the Troubles, saw some murals, and marveled at the confusing local accent.

What I remember more clearly than anything else, however, is the woman I saw walking down the street carrying a life-size crouching Spider-Man Mylar balloon. (It looked like this.)

I swear I’m not making this up. I so wish I had a picture of the scene to show you. It was just the weirdest, most out-of-context thing I’d seen in a while and she walked so calmly past us as if there was nothing out of the ordinary about the whole situation. And maybe there wasn’t. Maybe they love Spider-Man in Belfast. Maybe there are entire festivals dedicated to him. Who knows?

4.

Irish mythology? Is MESSED UP. Not only is it filled with names with pronunciations that defy logic – Cú Chulainn, anyone? – but it’s super gory. When learning about the Red Hand of Ulster, which appears on many flags throughout the country, we were told that a king (I don’t remember which one) cut off his hand in order to win a boat race where whoever’s hand touched the shore first won.

And then there’s the story of Benandonner the giant was fooled by Fionn mac Cumhaill and his wife Oona into eating cakes with iron in them, breaking all his teeth and causing blood to stream from his mouth.

All jokes about the oddness of Irish mythology aside, this trip actually made me really interested to learn more about their legends. Unlike Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and even Aztec myths, Irish mythology simply isn’t something I grew up reading and hearing. If you know of any good collections, especially one written for children since it’s bound to be less complicated, let me know! I’d love to delve into that mythology when I have free time this coming semester, while it’s still on my mind.

5.

Look what I found on my first trip to Galway! Tbh I don’t know how funny this is to anyone but me, but as an Elizabeth C myself I was quite tickled to spot this business. It was a cold, rainy Sunday and I was sick, so the afternoon until that point had been rather dreary, but seeing this place honestly made my day. WHO IS SHE I SHALL HAVE TO FIGHT THIS OTHER ELIZABETH C TO ASSERT MY DOMINANCE.

-~-

If you’ve ever been to Ireland, what was the strangest and/or funniest thing you saw or did or heard? And if you haven’t been, think back to the most recent place you traveled to, even if it were only a short distance away: What experience did you have there that made you do a double take?

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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