I suppose I should tell a story or two about what I’ve been up to for the past six weeks. I’ve been spending the summer back in Dublin in a rented house, with occasional short trips to London and Kerry. I’ve also had visitors.
Right after school ended I packed my things and set off for the airport, a Business Class ticket on Aer Lingus in hand that I had managed to finagle without damaging the pocketbook too much. This meant I sailed through security in 20 minutes and got to spend some time in an executive lounge, where I caught up on some final emails to parents from my classroom and finally started to relax. It was a long year with that group of students, although still memorable, as they always are.
Flight over was a blur of beverage and food and long conversations with a Scottish oncologist on his way home from a conference. Got into Dublin Airport before 6 AM, grabbed the Aircoach into town, then a taxi to the house in Terenure. It pays to travel to places you know well.
A good rule of thumb when trying to avoid jet lag is to immediately set yourself to the local time. I ignored that rule. When I crawled under the covers it was not even 7 in the morning, which was just before 1 AM “my” time. I hadn’t slept on the flight at all, and I was exhausted. And since I wasn’t on a hard vacation schedule, I just decided to sleep a few hours right then and there.
And that’s pretty much what I did for the next several days. Caught up with some friends, but spent a lot of time sleeping in and laying in bed watching Homeland on my laptop, via UK Netflix. For lack of a better word, I crashed, and looking back on it now, I realize how much i needed that week. I spent a lot of the past year stressed and sick, fretting about what I was going to do with myself, work-wise, worrying about Common Core and changing styles and the lack of a North Star in my life.
But then David and Rachel came to town, so it was time to be a proper host and show them around a city I’ve come to call a second home.
David is a cousin of mine, much younger than me, so there’s a bit of an uncle-nephew relationship there, too. This was his first trip overseas, and he and his girlfriend Rachel arrived in the Dublin port from the UK where they had just spent several days in London and Bath. My friend Linus was kind enough to help whisk them from the port down to Terenure, where we dropped bags and then headed back into town* for dinner and a short walk around a few of the more well-known areas of Dublin.
We spent the next day down in Glendalough, hiking in the soaking rain, but enjoying the chance to be outside among some fairly dramatic scenery, the kind we just don’t get in northern Illinois. The next day I showed them more of the city, including the Little Museum of Dublin, which I highly recommend for people interested in something not catering to the typical band of tourists.** We parted ways so they could visit the Guinness Storehouse, which I had seen on my first trip over in 2002 and didn’t need to visit again.
The next day they took a day trip out to the Cliffs of Moher and I took care of some school business, but I met them later for dinner and pints in Neary’s, my personal favorite place to have a drink. Their final day was Kilmainham Gaol and an obligatory visit to Carroll’s souvenir shop to get silly gifts for friends and family back home. (I waited outside.)
While I liked giving them tours around the area, I suppose I enjoyed just hosting people, and taking care of them for a few days, making sure they were well fed and always had a drink in their hand. “When you’re at your Grannie’s, you can do what you like.”*** Hosting guests is something I don’t get to do very often back home. It was nice. And I would get to do it again two weeks later.
Next up: Shakespeare and getting “Punchdrunk” in London with a fellow Limelighter.
*While we might say “I’m going downtown” or “into the city” to describe heading in to Chicago, over here if you’re heading into Dublin proper, people just say “I’m going into town.”
**The Little Museum is not above capitalizing on certain aspects of Irish culture in order to turn a profit, mind you. The third floor is devoted solely to U2, and they’re currently featuring something “Mrs. Brown’s Boys: D’Exhibition.” Don’t ask.