Ireland day 0314. Monday 08 August 2022- Translations
I am still pondering the “thematically repetitive” description of this blog so was pleased when it looked like today would be anything but thematic or repetitive.
The first element of the day was a very enjoyable morning spent with visitors who had come over from the UK with their young family, to explore the west coast of Ireland. On their way out west, they stopped off in Malahide and we joined them for an extremely civilized morning enjoying breakfast at the eye-wateringly expensive but very nice Avoca café up at the castle, before heading off for an amble round the demesne. It turned out it was nine years since we had last met, so there was lots to catch up on. It’s nice to know that you never really lose old friends, even though a lot of water has passed under lots of bridges in the intervening years.
I was directed by Val not to have a scone (I am really suffering you can see) for breakfast, but rather to enjoy porridge with fresh fruits. Actually it was very nice, especially with a decent cappuccino to go with it. After a leisurely catch up we used the excuse of having young children with us to do the Fairy Trail round the castle gardens – something I’ve secretly wanted to do for a long time but have lacked the fig-leaf of an infant excuse to do it. As the weather was perfect today, it turned out beautifully.
Once our friends had resumed their journey towards the M6, we embarked on the next non-repetitive element of the day. As Val has decided against joining the gym, she has invented her own fitness regimen instead. This involves me being the trainer, supervising her through a series of bizarre curls, lunges and squats up on the sports field outside the castle. Quite interesting to watch, and I daresay she felt the better for it, but I have to say I’m glad it wasn’t me doing it.
The third element of our interesting day didn’t swing into action until this evening. We have decided to try and broaden our cultural horizons a bit and had booked tickets to see a play at the iconic Abbey Theatre in Dublin to celebrate Val’s birthday back in June. Unfortunately the event was cancelled at that time because all the cast went down with Covid, but we managed to secure replacement tickets for this evening.
The play was called “Translations”, by the renowned Northern Irish playwright Brian Friel. It’s a complex play set in Donegal in 1833, and which explores the relationship between a local Irish-speaking girl and an incoming English Royal Engineer, who has been sent to her town to survey it prior to building an English-speaking school there. The play weaves together many different strands. The inevitable romance is one, and the difficulties in communicating between two people who don’t speak a word of each other’s language is another. But perhaps the most powerful theme is about how misunderstandings and miscommunications at an individual level can quickly escalate and lead to cultural clashes and deterioration of relationships at a much larger scale. Although it was written in 1983 about events 150 years earlier, some still see it as having particular relevance today in an increasingly Brexity British Isles.
Anyway, the play itself was very enjoyable and thought provoking. We both really appreciated having a “proper” evening out at last – the first time we have done anything like this, really, since pre-pandemic. The acting was great, the way in which Irish language and heritage was portrayed was excellent and the theatre itself was lovely – big enough to make you feel like you part of a proper occasion, but small enough that you didn’t feel anonymous. Even the glass of red wine at the interval just seemed to fit the event perfectly.
It’s only a five minute walk from the theatre to Tara Street station so when the play was over, we headed back over the river to wait for the DART which was with us just ten minutes later. The journey back to Malahide seemed to take no time at all so we were easily back in the flat by 11. Now we are enjoying a cup of tea and reflecting on an altogether excellent day and which I am pleased to report didn’t seem to replay any of the themes that we had ever explored here in Ireland before.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
(No map today)