Ireland day 0196. Tuesday 12 April 2022- Zoom!

Ireland day 0196. Tuesday 12 April 2022- Zoom!
Today’s summary Val was out at work so through the day I scheduled four “Zoom” catch-up calls with friends back in the UK
Today’s weather Grey and overcast with light rain most of the day.   Light westerly breeze.  About 9C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of my route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where I walked)
(No download today as I didn’t walk far enough)

Technology has many pitfalls and I know it can cause immense frustration and even harm if it’s not properly used, or if its limitations aren’t fully understood.   But for me, living in Ireland as I do, it’s been a bit of a godsend.

I’ve spent over half a century cultivating my friends so naturally most of them are in the UK.   When you move abroad, you put a lot of effort into finding new friends and I’d say Val and I have been moderately successful in that respect already – through Val’s work and my walking clubs.   But you can’t expect that the friendships you have developed in six months will have the depth and richness of shared experience of those that you formed over the decades before you moved away.   So for me, at least, it’s important – and nice – to seek the easy company of friends you’ve known for years, even if you have to make do with technologically enabled contact rather than the real thing.

Today was a case in point.   With a poor weather forecast in the offing and Val out at work, I’d taken the opportunity to schedule four, more or less back-to-back, video calls friends back to the UK.   I have to admit that if there have been any upsides to the pandemic at all, the launch of “Zoom” must rank as one of them.   I’d used older videoconferencing services like Skype or the systems you used to use in the office in the early 2000s, but Zoom seems to be altogether easier to use, higher quality, and far more robust.  So today, the calls all worked perfectly and somehow you seem to be able to have a much richer dialogue when you are talking to someone you can actually see.

Our conversations covered a huge range of subjects, from Covid war-stories to the French election.   But the common theme that seemed to occupy us most was the transition from paid work into the next phase of life – which all of us are grappling with at the moment.  Everyone seems to have found a different approach – one has adopted a rescue dog and got an allotment, another has taken up judging for an athletics association, a third has joined a brass band and the fourth seems to have taken up landscape gardening in a big way.   And I have come to Ireland.

It’s encouraging to see that nobody has really just given up and put the slippers on.  Personally, as I reflected on today’s calls, the move to Ireland has been the best thing I could possibly have done at this stage in life, as it has completely dispelled the comfortable brain fog and inertia that I think I might otherwise have succumbed to if I had stayed put.   I am eternally grateful to Val for throwing herself so wholeheartedly into the project alongside me.

Although the video calls were highly enjoyable, they didn’t leave much time for anything else.   Just a quick dash into the library to renew some books, a bit of shopping, and then cooking tonight’s dinner (chicken fajitas).   There’s nobody left to call now for a week or two, and the weather forecast is looking up a bit , so plenty of options to get out and about are starting to present themselves.   Next, I just need to decide how get the best out of them all.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Dreary wet day in Malahide today.   But at least the houses look colourful!   It’s a funny thing though – you never really notice them when you live here and see them every day.   It’s only when you see them on a photo like this that they really grab your attention.   A bit like Tobermory, on a smaller scale I’m continually fascinated by the Fingal Development Plan, on display in the library.   I have to admit that one of the sources of my fascination is the fact that amongst the mammoth pile of drawings, diagrams and documents, nowhere does it tell you what the development plan actually is.   But at least there are some interesting details of the proposed Sutton to Malahide cycle scheme.   This particular drawing covers the northernmost part of the route, in Malahide, where it shows a tie-in to the “Approved Broadmeadow Way scheme”.   This is the long-awaited pedestrian and cycle way alongside the railway across the embankment to Donabate.   It’s good that it’s “Approved”, but there’s no indication of when it might eventually be built
I have already gone on at great length about the excellence of the public library in Malahide.   But I was always a bit puzzled by what exactly “Fingal County” was.   There are 32 “traditional” counties on the island of Ireland, and Fingal isn’t one of them.   It turns out that Fingal is actually a relatively new creation – it was established as an administrative county when Co Dublin (one of the 32 traditional counties) was split into three parts in 1994.   So Fingal Co Council provides local services like the library, but Co Dublin remains as our postal address.   By the way, the word “Fingal” comes from the Irish Fionn Gall which means “Fair Foreigner”.   Probably a reference to original Viking invaders, who settled on the coast of what is now Fingal.
As an aside it’s worth remembering that of the 32 traditional counties, six are in Northern Ireland and 26 are in the Republic.   The counties are sometimes grouped into four Provinces – Ulster, Leinster, Munster and Connaght.   At one time, Meath was considered to be a fifth province, but it was subsumed into Leinster.   Dublin is in Leinster.   Just to complicate matters further, Ulster contains the whole of Northern Ireland plus three counties in the Republic (Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan).   The Provinces don’t have any administrative significance these days, but are allied to a number of important sporting teams.
Irish people strongly identify with their counties of birth – far more so than in mainland UK.
Interactive map

(No map today as I didn’t go anywhere of significance)

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