Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gaelic Football

Another day so full to bursting I almost cannot contain
what is in my head....and this damn bandaged finger
gets in the way and prohibits speedy typing.

Began this morning with a GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association)
Connacht Minor Football Championship Final in Castlebar.
Our friend Ian invited us -- Gaelic football is a little like
soccer with some basketball-type moves mixed in,
an abundance of shoving and pushing, and lots of very colorful
cheering by the mostly-male crowd. ("Feckin' bollox, etc.")
( I brought my camera but did not remember to charge the battery,
so the photo is borrowed from the internet.)
The big Mayo-Galway (Maigh Eo-Gaillimh) match in the senior
(over 21) division was won by Galway (boo-hoo),
and the crowd of nearly 32,000 fans was orderly and convivial.
Concessions consisted of pop and candy bars, and the restroom
doors were marked in Irish ( oh!) so I held it. We stood for the
Irish national anthem (sung in Irish) while the teams and a marching band
circled the stadium. Irish president Mary McAleese arrived
by helicopter. Fun! Fun! (Even if we sat on concrete benches
for four hours.)

We bemoaned our loss over dinner across the cove at Ian and Mina's
along with their friend Tom from Belfast and his two sons Alex
and Patrick. As usual, wine flowed like rain from the Irish sky --
we sat for hours and laughed ourselves silly over dahl and rice
and turkey and bacon and salad and potatoes and apple strudel
and frozen yogurt and berries and coffee and tea and, finally,
champagne. We invited all of them to visit Seattle and instructed
them to arrive on Wednesday, this week. I don't think it'll happen.

As we lurched home (on foot, thankfully) we noticed that our
neighbors just west of us had arrived from Dublin, and since
I'd never met them, I strolled up and introduced myself.
Of course this was followed by an invitation into their ultra-
modern home, and tea and cake. Two hours later, we staggered
across the yard, filled to brimming with information on:
1) where to go in Spain (south, and then to Morocco)
2) Berlin
3) an annual arts & crafts show in Dublin
4) a book on early French settlers in Quebec (my relatives)
5) etc.
Declan and Mary. Mary told me that you're pretty safe
calling any woman "Mary" who's over fifty in Ireland --
chances are you'll be right.

Tomorrow we pack, bid goodbye to Carrowholly.

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