We’re back from Scotland!

On Wednesday last, 11 July, we flew out of Donegal (Dún na nGall) International Airport for Glasgow (Glaschú), Scotland. The airport is international because it flies to Glasgow which I always get a bit of a snicker out of. The airport is so small that the people who sell the tickets are also the people who take your bags, walk you through security, and walk you out on the tarmac to the plane. We managed to keep our instruments with us and put them up in the racks for the flight despite the employees’ suggestion that they wouldn’t fit. The plane was a Saab twin-propeller plane, see a picture HERE and HERE. The journey went very well despite the plane being the smallest that we had ever been on! Any bumps in the air were felt with clarity and the return home gave us a bit of a fright as there were several instances of the plane being pitched and bumped several times that were a bit scary. But we landed all in one piece and were met by our friend, Marian. In case you don’t know, Marian is the mother of our friend Maitiú and she has graciously volunteered a part of her house for us to stay in while we’re studying in Donegal during July and August. The trip itself was fabulous! The first major event of our trip was a very nice session that our friend Emily introduced us to at Oran Mor in Glasgow on the Wednesday evening. I hadn’t seen Emily in years and she has since finished her PhD and was recently married. Fair play, Emily. Then, we toured around Glasgow and found the city to have a fine, constructive energy but also to have a bit of a gritty edge to it. Lots of impressive cultural events and locations along with a very interesting history. We stayed on Great Western Road and found that stretch next to the River Kelvin to be filled with things to do and very close to the handy river-walk. All along the River Kelvin there is a walking/biking/etc path that we used a bit during our stay. Click HERE for a link to the area where we stayed. Myshele and Doug’s wedding was a total blast! Amanda and I played some music for it and while I wasn’t terribly happy with the outcome of frozen fingers on pipes I haven’t played for a little while, everyone else seemed to like it (most importantly the bride and groom!). The ceremony was performed at Linlithgow Palace and WOW it was awesome (both the ceremony and the palace!). The characteristic which hurt my musical contribution was the 50/55 F weather and the constant, blowing winds. My pipes were okay but my fingers were frozen. Yes, even in that weather, it was so hard to play! It was a humanist ceremony with lots of nice cultural bits which definitely clicked with my sensibilities. Afterwards, everybody hopped onto canal boats and traveled at about 4 mph through an old canal system to the Falkirk Wheel. It took about 4 hours total to travel via canal boat but MAN it was awesome! We made some new friends and are so happy to have been a part of that gorgeous day. We spent a day in Edinburgh as well and were pleased to hang out with some of our new friends — Alex who toured us around a bit of the city during a break in his day and Remco who drank with us some of the best hot chocolate we’ve ever had. Remco also toured us around a bit of the city and then we hiked up Arthur’s Seat which is an ancient volcano in the center of the city. We also ate some of the finest chocolate we’ve ever had at the Chocolate Tree in Edinburgh. Sunday was largely spent with our new friends Walton and Talitha who hosted us for a fabulous brunch at their home in the south end. Afterwards, we spent the time in a perfect way before a flight — walking around a gorgeous local park and art museum, the Burrell Collection. Today we started our tutoring with a teacher at the Acadamh, Mícheál Ó Domhnaill. Ar ais go dtí an obair… back to work!

bread & tunes

Aw, I so wish I could eat wheat. The bread here is very tasty and there’s all sorts of lovely types of bread. I think the rougher brown bread is okay with my belly, and I’m thankful for that one consolation. Potato farls are amazing but wouldn’t be the best for my wheat craziness.

We visited a session in Galway on Thursday a while ago and while the music was good, I only played a tune or two largely because they played so FAST. (Just as you said, Kara!) The music wasn’t rushed, but it was fast enough that I couldn’t keep up. 

Here in Murbhach Maoláin (near Dungloe), we were away for the big events in Galway that occurred recently and while we are grateful to have been focusing on the studies, we were a bit sad to have missed such massive parties and Fun Things in the city. 

Apartment hunting is waiting until early August. We’ve been informed that most Irish students don’t know where they will go in September until mid August anyway so making a special 8-hour (return) trip to Galway today into tomorrow doesn’t make much sense, esp. because we fly to Scotland tomorrow for a friend’s wedding. 

Jonathan

 

We are here and busy!

We arrived in Ireland on Wednesday, 27 June, and have been extremely busy since then. About two hours after arriving in the country, we purchased a 2001 Nissan Almera for 1250 euro and insured it for about 600 euro. So now we have a legal and insured car for the year. We then spent a few days in Galway city with friends and traveled to Donegal on Friday evening. We stopped by an Indian restaurant in Sligo and stuffed ourselves en route. Arriving in Falcorrib, a village near An Clochán Liath (Dungloe), late in the evening, we unpacked what we needed to and crashed hard. Saturday was our only day of do-nothing, and we enjoyed it to the most. Our classes in Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore) started on Sunday and are still going — very educational and challenging to be thinking and speaking in Irish all of the time, except for this blog and the occasional email. Despite the challenge, we love it and asked our teacher to give us more work. You shoulda seen the expression on her face!

It’s an interesting fact that chips (french fries) are a major food group here in rural Donegal.

Sadly, internet accessibility is rare so our updates won’t be very frequent until we have figured out a system.

Love from Co. Donegal,

Jonathan