BACK FROM IRELAND
The taxi driver who drove us to Dublin airport said his grandfather was a Kerry man.
"So lovely is Kerry, they call it The Kingdom," he said.
From what I saw of rural Ireland, most of it could be called so. The country is lush and colourful, and the time I spent there left me wanting more — more darkly panelled public houses like Doheny and Nesbitt on Dublin's Lower Baggot Street, more rows of impossibly elegant Georgian houses with windows that offer a tantalising glimpse of tasselled curtains and chandeliers, more shadowy interiors of churches, more gifted buskers, chunky soda bread, and creamy mashed potatoes that actually taste of something.
While stocking up on books by Irish writers in the beautiful Hodges Figgis shop on Dawson Street, I came across two copies of my own book. It was an unexpected delight to find it there in this most literary of cities.
Nobody designs more inviting shop fronts than the Irish. They favour bold rich colours - mulberry, turquoise, emerald green - with the names lettered in black and gold and using a Roman typeface that is extinct elsewhere.
I took a crash course in tin whistle at Walton's Music School and have been practising the lovely slow waltz, Innisheer, on and off ever since. The Irish whistle is a deceptively simple instrument, difficult for a beginner because without the use of subtle ornamentation its voice is piercing, or breaks into awkward squeaks. All I can say is that I am working on it.
I am reluctant to write much more about my time in Ireland until I have managed to download my experience into the novel; talk too much and the urge to talk on paper quickly evaporates, so I'll leave you with a link to a few of my images of Ireland along with some notes on the work in progress.