Listen to the harp

- Fiction with facts and inspiration from a travel to Ireland. -

Tis a story of my first week in Ireland in my life. Isn’t it such a wonderful country for us swedes to go to?

After we had landed at Dublin airport, taken a ride with the bus to Dublin, walked around with the hotel guide in the hand and after a while decided for a hotel north of the dear river Liffey, a bit further north of the famous post office, then we took a walk around the city and came to Grafton Street. There was a light rain. Didn’t I say it should be a welcoming rain when we came to Ireland to get the feeling? As we wanted to start with something a bit familiar, we walked into a McDonalds at Grafton Street, so we could have happy stomachs beneath our happy faces.

We chatted about the flight, if the hotel was a good deal and a lot about tomorrow when our rented car waited for us. And my friend would have to drive on the left side for the first time in his life. I didn’t worry about driving, as I don’t have a licence. When we sat there in this very cosy McDonalds, what happened if not these young lovely irish man and women sat down at the next table?

After a while the loveliest and most curious of the girls asked us which strange tongue we spoke in such a high speed. We said it was swedish and we gave them our story and in return we got some tips on Dublin. And the boy was from Belfast and it was a challenge to understand all he said. And those two ladies, weren’t they so charming and likable? And wasn’t I terribly angry on meself afterwards as I hadn’t exchanged phone numbers or fixed a date when we returned to Dublin after our car trip?

Next day we walked to the rental car firm. We were a bit early, bought a cup of coffee and sat on a bench at a side-branch to the dear river Liffey. And there was a lock in the river to walk over. When we sat there, we were approached by a nice fella, he wanted to discuss football. And isn’t that a great subject to talk about? We bade farewell after we had exchanged some tips of the forthcoming games. And Ireland was looking as good as I thought with nice friends and great women and a beautiful Dublin, I bet the countryside would be nice as well. Today should be the second time in my life I was sitting beside someone driving on the left side for the first time. I can tell you that can be really hard for the nerves. And wasn’t me and me friend driving to a challenge after a few hundred metres?

Wasn’t me fella driving properly on the left side? But why was the car in the opposite direction on the same side? Dare I say we thought what was wrong in a panicking way? Finally, that was without crashing, the other driver realised the same thing and understood he should be driving on the other side. And we passed each other nicely. We were so excited to be on the road to Connemara on the west coast (as we would return to Dublin soon again it wasn’t a sorry farewell).

Connemara, taste that word! It says so much! It fills all the body with warmth and the heart jolts of joy! We would be seeing it in the evening, after crossed all of Ireland and our eyes filled of views and impressions. And aren’t there so many stories I can tell you about that trip? But isn’t that stories you should hear another day? But sure, you would be sorry if you don’t hear anything from the west coast today? So I will tell you about the gorgeous girl with the harp. But first I will take a cop of coffee to clear my mind.

Yes, this happened when we had been to Ireland for some days and my fella was used to drive so well on the left side. Well, the road was so narrow we actually drove in the middle. We were southbound to the famous Cliffs of Moher, to see the Atlantic ocean steep some hundred metres below us. We knew we were very close, but there wasn’t anything steep nearby. All we saw were the greenly green fields and sheep. But suddenly. From nowhere a big car park with a lot of cars and buses. We sensed this must be the place, so we parked and walked in the direction of the crowd. And we could hear the waves of the ocean smack into the land almost two hundred metres right below. Yes, we walked along the coast line some hundred metres just along the coast line. The exciting thing was that the water were still so far away. And the grass was so green on the other side. And wasn’t my friend scared of these heights and walked very carefully?

After walking a while I sensed another tune accompanying the sea. Soon, there she was, I saw her. This fine irish girl with her long black hair, sitting on a little stone playing the big harp and singing with such a nice voice one of those sad irish songs that makes you cry. And then another song. And one more. I could have stayed longer. And didn’t she sell tapes with her music? And I don’t need to say I regretted I didn’t buy one? Hmm wonderful singing it was.

Another day I might also tell you about Bewleys oriental café.

(written 1999)

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