Monday, July 19, 2010

Ireland Day 12 - The Prom

Not the fancy dance, but a long walkway along the coast. It was fabulous! Ok, so it would have been better if the sun were out then and not now (thanks Ireland) but I still had a great time. It was overcast/sunny and windy as hell and then it started to mist. By the time I arrived at the Claddach I had to put my camera away. As I stood with a mediocre hot chocolate waiting for the bus, the clouds ran away and the sunshine burst out. I frowned and grumbled as I walked onto the crowded bus. It's kind of a toss up with sunny day photos anyway. Blue skies are beautiful, but I had some interesting cloud formations over the ocean. Which is better? It really depends on what you're going for. I'd like to take a bus trip tomorrow to one of my many desired locations, and since those are full of landscapes it'd be great to have sun and fluffy clouds. I wish someone could come with me, I want to be in some of the photos at all of these beautiful locations :\

Back to my walk though.

Good thing I was shown directions, I would have been lost and confused! But as it were, I went to the Joyces and turned left onto Kingston, then right onto Knocknacarra Rd, then left onto what I can only assume is Salthill. I could see the ocean and The Prom but couldn't figure out how to get to it. I ended up wandering through a traveling RV park and some tennis courts before finally popping out onto a cement walkway.

It felt really good to be on the ocean again. The smell was fantastic, I really took in the moment. Then proceeded to take about a zillion photos. While meandering I was appreciative of having no agenda, just the goal of making it to the city centre eventually.

Something happened to set me back about half an hour though, something good! As I'm strolling past a bench that overlooks the Atlantic, an older man is on his phone. He hangs up as I'm walking by:

Man: Hello.

Me: Hello.

Man: How are you?

Me: Good, thank you. And you?

Man: Good! Where are you from?

Me: Washington State!

And then I walked over to him and sat down. He was very nice and we had a pleasant conversation about Ireland, traveling, photography, the weather, college and doing things that are important to us as individuals. It was really a fantastic little experience. And also.... I got my first portrait! YAY!

We were overlooking The Burren in county Clare and he insisted I had to visit it while I was here. He grew up around there and apparently did a lot of rock climbing in his younger days. He explained that it's a stark comparison to Galway because all of the hills are limestone. There are lots of little villages settled throughout all the rocky slopes and dips and he insists it's one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I'll believe him and go, because he has been all over the world.

Mr Martin McDonagh of Ireland has done a lot of traveling in his day! He lived in the States for 17 years, visiting Ireland about once every 9 months. He went to the University of Minnesota and also studied for a year in Amsterdam. He's been from Pennsylvania to Florida to California. He rode a bus from Paris to Nepal and lived in South Africa for two years. He just finished writing memoirs about growing up in The Burren and is currently having a friend give it a read. I hope to find it in stores someday.

I finally asked him for a photo after explaining all of the projects I hoped to accomplish while here and talked in length about my love of portrait photography. He was extremely obliging and I'm happy with how the photos turned out. The lighting was fantastic, diffused across his face with a turbulent sky behind him. I'm all a flutter remembering how I stared at the light falling around his nose and cheek, bursting to ask him if I could take his photo.

Eventually he had to go, and seeing as we were headed in the same direction, we walked and talked until he arrived at his car. We shook hands, I finally remembered to tell him my name, and then off he went, out of my life but not my heart or mind!

The rest of my walk on The Prom was enjoyable, but there were no other social interactions. I walked to the end of this weird.. cement.. pier, low to the ground.... thing with rocks at the end of it. The wind was rough at the end of it and the sea spray was speckling my camera and me. I attempted a few interesting shots before finally turning back to the shore. It was a great relief when I finally turned a bend and realized I was looking at the Spanish Arch. The walk was nice but I was ready to go back home and start talking about it!

While waiting for the bus to arrive I grabbed a hot chocolate (€2.50 and wasn't that great. The Irish don't put enough chocolate in!) then watched in irritation as the clouds went away and the sun came out (I know I said that at the start of this but I'm still bothered, obviously). The bus was pretty crowded and I ended up sitting next to a mother and her daughter who was maybe 3 1/2 or 4. A little ways into the ride I realize the girl is asking her mother why I'm sitting with them. "There's no where else to sit" the girl says "There's a seat there!" and the mom says "But someone else needs that seat, you can keep sitting with me". Man, leave it to little kids to be so candid that they make me feel like a jerk!

So now here I am, listening to Lady GaGa, window open (it's overcast now which makes me feel better) and blogging about what a good day it has been so far. I'm waiting for Catherine and Maisa to get here, Catherine got a tattoo today and I'm excited to see it! Perhaps I'll get a tattoo while I'm here, I've been wanting another one and this seems like the perfect time! :3 I wonder what's for dinner? I took a ridiculous amount of photos today, it's going to be VERY HARD to decide which 9 or less I post today, it'll be even harder to decide my 365 submission X| What a great problem to have!


10:22 am: home: What is this? Decent weather? Finally!

11:31 am: home: I don't like having to turn on the hot water before I get in the shower, it requires too much planning :P (The hot water here has an on/off switch, I have to turn it on half an hour before I get in so the hot water heater can warm up to temperature)

12:43 pm: home: Another late start. I'm going for a walk today, aaaaaaaaaaaall alone.

1:51 pm: walking: On my merry way to Salthill! It's windy!

2:02 pm: walking: Just saw a dead little kitty on the side of the walkway, I was about two feet from it. It about stopped my heart it scared me so badly. It also made me very sad.

2:10 pm: walking: Helloooooooooo Atlantic ocean!

3:08 pm: The Prom: Just finished a conversation with a lovely older man. I also got my first portrait!!

3:22 pm: The Prom: The wind just threw sand in my eye!

4:06 pm: Shop Street: A pub is playing Bob Dylan. I'm pretty sure this song is on the CD Steve gave to me while I was still at school. Thanks again Steve!

4:11 pm: Bus Stop: Made it from Knocknacarra to the City Centre past Salthill! I feel so accomplished. Time to catch the bus home.

4:17 pm: Bus Stop: It rained the entire second half of my walk and now the sun is out as I wait for the bus. What gives, Ireland?


9:48 pm: walking: This is the first time I've been out sans camera. I'm outside for a walk, but don't worry it's light out still!



Melanie Rowe said...

Miranda, it brought tears to my eyes reading about your conversation with Mr. McDonagh. He seems amazing, and it sounds like your conversation with him was wonderful. The picture of him is fabulous. I hope you have many more experiences like that one while you're there. And don't worry about the little girl on the bus; she wasn't trying to be mean. Little kids just say what's on their mind without thinking about it. It's not until later in life that we figure out it's considered rude to ask someone why they sat next to you when there were other open seats available on the bus (even if you don't really mind that they're sitting by you) LOL

MJ said...

It was just very awkward when the girl was talking, the mom was nice :P

I can't wait to meet more people like Martin. It was a really special experience

3v3 said...

The Prom was really great for me because I walked it by myself when my roommate for the trip was being especially difficult, so it was just what I needed to listen to my mp3 player and have a nice, long, beautiful walk. Salt Hill is nice, I just remember seeing all these resort areas.

GO TO THE BURREN. IT IS AMAZING. That's really all I can say. I don't remember if you saw all of my photos from my trip, but the burren was just incredible, and get a tour guide if you can. You should also climb Croagh Patrick and visit the Cliffs of Moher :3

MJ said...

I'm pretty sure I looked at all your photos, don't know that I remember them all though. I'll be taking a tour of the Cliffs and the Burren next week I believe! I don't know if they include any climbing though.

The Prom was a really great "alone" time. Much better and different than sitting in my room alone xD

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