|Day 6: Entering Donegal
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
|Westport on a Sunday morning||I rise at around 7:30 AM and shower. The kitchen purportedly opens at 8:00 AM, but the doors are shut so I walk out to try and find The Times and some orange juice. I find the streets deserted and the shops all shut, the silence pointedly reminding me that it is Sunday in rural Ireland. I decide to wander until something opens. As soon as I pass a shop with its lights on, I dive in and buy a paper. |
We eat a leisurely breakfast, with plenty of opportunity to pore over the diagram of the mistakes leading up to the Stockwell tube shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, until we're kicked out so that the kitchen can be cleaned. We have some time to kill before the bus, since it doesn't arrive until a quarter to three. We walk down to Westport House, which is something like an Irish Disneyland. We are glared at by a lot of tourist families with children. I guess they don't have Bat's Day at the Park in northwestern Ireland just yet.
We're only too happy to get the bus to Donegal Town. It's a long ride, but I have Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha to keep me busy for most of it. (The bookshop owner in Westport charges me five euro instead of six for the book. I win.) We have to hike from the bus stop to the hostel. The proprietress, Linda, is amazingly friendly. We eat dinner straightaway and sanity returns.
|We head to The Scotsman pub for trad (traditional Irish music) and Guinness. Becca and I attempt to play rock-paper-scissors for the privilege of buying the first round. We can't, because we keep picking the same thing (scissors, paper, scissors). Rather than continue the fruitless attempt to demonstrate that we don't in fact share the same brain, Kegan stands in for Becca so we can get a result. I win (paper beats rock).|
I saunter up to the bar and promptly have my first experience with lonely Irish farmer boys. A young and very drunk man admires my locks. He asks, "Do ye hev a man?" I say I do. He puts on a tragic face and says, "Oh, it is a shame. Ye're a luvly wumman." I pay for our round and hide at our table. I am soon to learn that I should have appreciated his directness more, as I won't experience it again.
Soon we are absorbed in the music. A little blonde girl in striped stockings and pink shirt gets up to dance jigs, to the delight of everyone in the pub. Her family coaxes her brother into playing his flute with the band. Lastly, their mother sings. None of them are official members of the band, but their performances add immeasurably to our enjoyment of the evening. It's good craic ("crack," or fun), some of the best we have on the trip.
Dancing in Donegal