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It'll Be Grand


Stacey Teague

In order to get from Barryroe in County Cork, to Dublin, I have to get dropped off in a nearby town, Clonakilty. Then it’s an hour bus to Cork, then a three hour bus ride to Dublin.

I arrive in Clonakilty in time for the 8:05am bus. I had been living in Clonakilty for the 5 months previous, working as a nanny. Clonakilty is a tourist town in West Cork, Ireland. Its most notable features are the model train village, and its black pudding factory.

I mostly frequented the small cinema, the beach, and the square outside my house, where a lot of the town tended to congregate whenever the sun came out. Occasionally my friends would drag me out to the pub or ‘da club’. We danced around to awful house music and mostly I just watched other people, fascinated by this situation that I found myself in. I developed a taste for Guinness and Murphy's beer.

The people I hung out with in town were other nannies, people who in normal circumstances I would probably never be friends with. They were Bianca, the two Betty’s, Audrey, and Jess. Two Americans, one Austrian, one Serb and one Kiwi.

Betty the Serb was an artist. She had an exhibition of horse paintings in the local art gallery. They were, frankly, hideous. One day we sat in the square together and she asked if she could sketch me. She gave me the picture afterwards. I had my hair in braids with a neutral expression. Betty mostly talked my ear off about whatever boy she was seeing while I tried to feign interest. She did not pass the Bechdel test.

Jess was a very loud and friendly American. We got drunk and went to the movies once. She kept talking during it. I don’t remember what the movie was. Audrey was the other American. She was pretty cool but had a very ‘sorority girl’ vibe about her, probably because she had been in a sorority. Sometimes Americans don’t seem real to me.

I spent the most time with Bianca, the other Kiwi. Usually when I’m overseas I purposely avoid other New Zealanders, but it is, at least, a common ground. Our kids often had play dates together. She was always excited to have me around so she could use NZ slang. I was ambivalent about this. She would say something like, “hard out” and wink at me. ‘Hard out’ is used when you are agreeing with someone, for example:

“That movie was really sad!”

“Yeah, hard out!”

Betty the Austrian was probably my favourite to hang out with. She was 10 years younger than I was but we got along pretty well. One day we walked for a long time to a lake. When we got there we just read and didn’t talk much and I thought, “Thank god”. We took photos of each other by the lake on our phones. Last time I saw, she was in Thailand.

I will probably never see any of these people again.

For the most part I stayed in my apartment embroidering, or walking my neighbour’s dog, Daisy, or going on trips to castle ruins or other towns. Or feeling sad or feeling grateful or feeling tired or feeling far away. My job made me exhausted and took up most of my time. I was looking after three kids who were, at times, extremely difficult. Sometimes we got along and it was fun. I watched the Minions movie a lot.

It’s hard to say why I wanted to live in Ireland. There’s a sense, when you live in NZ, that you are not a part of the world. I think maybe I just wanted to be a part of the world again for a bit. I missed all my friends in London. I wanted to feel like life was possible again. There’s also a liberating feeling when you’re in a strange country. Walking down the street and knowing no one is a relief.

My favourite thing about Ireland was the people, and by extension, their colloquialisms. Here’s my favourites:

Good craic = good fun

Cop on (or even more endearingly, cop yourself on) = have some common sense, stop being a dick

Happy out = just means you’re happy, can be used with other emotions too

Bold = when you’re being bold you are being badly behaved, applies mostly to children

Grand = good, great, “it’ll be grand”

I arrive in Clonakilty in time for the 8:05am bus. The bus takes approx. 1 hour. It was on this same bus ride a few months previous that I had decided to become a vegetarian while I was admiring some cows. I arrive in Cork around 9am and walk ten minutes to the other bus terminal. I like Cork a lot. It has a butter museum which is a must-see. Almost as good as the pencil museum.

The bus to Dublin takes three hours. I skip through spotify playlists the whole way, looking at the scenery which is not dissimilar to parts of New Zealand. There are parallels to NZ and Ireland, but mostly it’s just how green it is. For one thing, NZ is much more multicultural than Ireland, and the Irish have a better sense of humour than we do.

When I arrive in Dublin I wander around looking for craft stores. I’m only here for one night. I manage to track down a craft shop and buy various haberdasheries. I go to the Dublin Castle and walk around, kind of half-heartedly. I am a reluctant tourist. I go to a restaurant and treat myself to a lentil burger and an aperol spritz. I look to see what is on at the movies that night. There’s a screening of the extended version of the last Lord of The Rings movie which I think would be funny in theory but in reality, a nightmare. I decide to see a movie called ‘The Little Stranger’ which is a kind of mystery/thriller. It was a spoopy watch but I liked it fine. After the movie I go in search of my airbnb which is about forty minutes walk from the city. When I arrive, my room is a child’s bedroom, but it was cheap so I don’t care. They leave me a bottle of water and a chocolate bar, which I consume, and watch tv shows on my phone until I go to sleep.

In the morning I walk into town, via the park. I have hayfever and my nose keeps running. I look at some ducks in the park. I stumble upon the Irish Museum of Modern Art, then get ramen. I go to some book stores before I have to get the bus back.

Three hours to Cork. One hour to Clonakilty. 20 mins to Barryroe.


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