Carpe Lux Solis


The weather in Galway over the past week has been something to behold. It’s so beautiful, I want to make out with it. And I really love how the Irish go nuts soaking in the sunshine.

Sunset is around 10:30 pm, which makes for these wonderful summer nights of booze and music and sidewalk cafes. Everyone sits outside, and because it’s such a small little city, we all know each other. The other day while carrying my laundry detergent capsules through town, I heard someone call my name, went over to say hello, sampled some Stella Artois Cidre, wished them well, and went on about my merry way.

Whenever I’m home, I’ve got my balcony door open and live music floats in all afternoon and well into the evening. I’ve heard some damn good originals, some fairly decent covers, and the worst rendition of La Bamba ever performed by a native Spanish speaker.

Tourist season is in full effect, and the double-decker tour buses glide past my balcony. There’s even this annoying little tourist train that does the loop around town, which is going to make for one exciting incident of public intoxication sometime in my near future.


Galway at 10:30 pm tonight.

I’m working on practicing patience with the tourists, starting with the raspy-voiced, bikini-clad American sisters in Charlie Byrne’s the other day, screaming to each other across the store about The Aeneid. I let an Italian kid – named, no kidding, Massimo – practice his English on me for a full half-hour today. I’m even getting used to the frat boys. I had forgotten that Galway is on the frat-daddy trail; I must have blocked it out from last time I was here, freshly graduated from a university experience not unlike Season Three of Veronica Mars. But now that I am approaching cougar age, and have enjoyed the television show Greek, I find the daily meat market in the Latin Quarter somewhat amusing.

Thanks to all the running in Berlin, I am now able to run the 10k from the Spanish Arch to Blackrock and back, made all the more enjoyable by the fact that I don’t have to wear my Under Armour. Then there are the walks on the beach, looking for pretty shells while the washed-up seaweed whispers to me and the gulls either laugh or call out warnings, I’m not sure which.

Picture 1

Apparently, there is a tradition in Ireland of Leaving Cert Weather, which dictates that the week when high-school-aged students are taking their big final exams is predictably the best weather all year. And I love it, I do. I’ve even gotten a little overheated at times, which is something I never thought I would say about Ireland.

But I need I break.

I have so much reading and writing to do. This is not thesis weather, this is sit on the grass and split a bottle of wine with friends weather. It is killing me. In Texas, we take this kind of thing for granted, but in Ireland, you have to enjoy it when you can. Carpe lux solis… just not right now.

So I am asking the weather gods for one week of rain and drizzle. That’s all I need. Just seven to ten days of stay-indoors, reading, writing, tea-drinking weather so I can get ahead on my thesis. Plus, I have all these broody new eye make-up tricks that don’t fly when everyone is outside and smiling. Not to mention all the summer movies and episodes of Modern Family that I missed while I was in Germany.

I am a little sorry for the tourist who might arrive during the next week; but hey, you don’t come to Ireland for a sun holiday. Just one week. I’ll work as fast as my little fingers can type and as well as my little brain can comprehend the research, and I should be in pretty good shape, thesis-wise, by then. I can already see the clouds gathering. Send the sun back out on June 18, and I promise I’ll be ready to enjoy every moment of it.



ROPES profile photo by Mom!

ROPES profile photo by Mom!

Hi, are you here because of my ROPES profile? Happy to have you. We’ve all been working very hard on #ROPES2013, and our efforts are about to pay off!

The book should arrive from the printer any day now, and we’ll be doing online pre-sales over at our WordPress blog, ROPESgalway2013. If you’re in Galway, we’ll be having a launch during Cúirt International Festival of Literature, at 5pm on Friday, April 26. And, of course, you can always find us on Twitter and Facebook, if you haven’t already.

ROPES is a literary journal produced by the MA in Literature and Publishing at NUIGalway. In honor of our 21st birthday, the theme is “Coming of Age” and all proceeds will go to Jigsaw Galway. The book will be sold at all fine bookshops in Galway following the launch.

Madam President

20130114-233130.jpgTonight, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson spoke on campus about her life and her career.

NIUG is set to receive her archives, minus the reproductive rights hate mail she received in the 70s, which her husband destroyed.

She made a very good point about Ireland’s status in developing countries, how having the Great Famine in the cultural DNA helps the Irish empathize with those who are still suffering today.

Happy 100th Post!

It’s all going to be okay. I can feel it. And I have now written 100 posts for this blog!

So guess what? On Christmas Day, Galway broke the world record for most people swimming in the ocean whilst wearing Santa hats. A total of 1,066 brave souls went into the water at Blackrock in Salthill. I was not one of them.

I did, however, carry a collection bucket for COPE, the charity that organized the event. COPE Galway works with the homeless, provides assistance for those suffering domestic violence, and runs the community catering programme in Galway County (sort of like Meals on Wheels).

COPE raised €34,000 at the Christmas Day event! I’m certain about half of that sum was in my bucket, in the form of heavy €2 coins. I couldn’t bend my elbows the next day.

Seriously, though… well done, Galway!


Hello, Again

Been a while.

School started today, but I don’t have class on Mondays this semester, so back to the grind tomorrow.

Tonight, a new night-time soap opera set in Galway, Deception, premiered on the telly. I read about it in the Advertiser (which had a cameo on the show itself!) and made risotto (a recipe also from the Advertiser) and sat down to watch.


Neither one was great. There’s definitely room for improvement [insert joke about one lacking cheese and the other having too much].

Ní thuigim.


Ever since college, an entire decade ago, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo. I’ve never done it, because I couldn’t commit to any image long enough to want it permanently inked on my body. The closest I’ve gotten is an idea for a phrase in Irish, tattooed on my wrist.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, probably because I’m back in school and I’m trying to learn Irish. One of the girls in my postgraduate programme has a wrist tattoo, and she says it wasn’t very painful. For about a week, I was seriously prepping myself to get a tattoo when I graduate next fall.

Then, in our last Irish for Beginners class meeting, the instructor told us how an American undergrad had come to visit him in his office. She wasn’t a student in his class, hadn’t even taken an Irish language course while she was studying abroad here, but had a list of phrases she needed help translating into Irish. He said it was fairly obvious they were “tattoos in the making.”

He went on to caution us – heavily – against having misspellings or improper grammar tattooed on our persons. It was something of a wake-up call for me. Not only that I should probably wait until I become fluent in the Irish language (which is unlikely to happen) before I try to get any Irish ink, but also that my Gaeilge tattoo idea isn’t even remotely original.

***On a related note, my boyfriend is here visiting and he had a dream last night that I got a neck tattoo, which somehow combined the “Hi How Are You?” frog in Austin with some genitalia graffiti that has popped up in Galway over the past few days. In the dream, I told him I was drunk and “they” talked me into it, that I was regretting the tattoo but trying to learn to like it. The first thing he said to me when he woke up was “don’t ever get a tattoo on your neck.”