206.June 9

Dunmanway, Ireland

I slept until 14:00, and then walked to town with my flat bike tube, I still don't know how it got punctured. It wasn't when I arrived in Dunmanway. I think a kid came by and stuck a pin in it. I bought groceries, and a repair kit, and came home. It was a three and a half mile walk both ways. I fixed the tube, talking with the little girl who has been crying for her mommy the last ten minutes so loud that I think she must be getting beaten or something. Paul is with her. Paul is not her daddy. I ate vegetarian pizza, famed by Let's Go Ireland, at the hostel. It was very good. I have sat in bed since then. I'll go to bed early and get up as soon as I can to start again.


DINGLE, Ireland

It was all sun when we arrived. We checked into the Grapevine Hostel after trying to figure out the map. Then, after saying we knew a past employee of the place and being treated with respect and kindness for a change, we rented at the suggested bike shop next door. I got a brand new beauty on its first week on the road. It was heavenly, and I was flying all over fast.

(Now I'm flying over the upper penninsula of Michigan)

We had an incredible day on our bikes. It lasted as long as we could pump the pedals, and then we returned the bikes and walked to a vegetarian homestyle restaurant on the outskirts of town for excellent food.

Dingle, sitting at the lovely vegetarian wood dressed restaurant overlooking the bay, fittingly, through the two bay windows. There is a great standing stone, I believe, standing on the hill across the bay. I'm having fresh squeezed orange juice. We've spilled so many liquids on the small table, we're swamped. A group of five men just sat next to us. There are but six tables here. And barely twice as many chairs, and only three groups of us here at the top of this gravel hill west of Dingle, but still within it I suppose. We just darted at MacCarthy's on Main Street, where we drank Beamish and bought tickets for Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel. The actors, whom we met as they passed through the aim of our darts, were all quite nice to us. The director was weird and her vocal intonations were that of a flaming homosexual male, affected to the extreme. Why she had adopted that style I do not know.

We drank Beamish and did not care to try anything else, because it tasted as good as Samuel Smith. There is a pottery community near here, and all of our serving vessels are of a very tasteful firing. This is less a restaurant than a good cook's house with her daughter serving dinner guests. There is a limited selection, but it is all very interesting food of an incredible inventor. We have a good Irish alto in the background, although it is only a recording. Our meal was cous-cous ratatouille and soft cheese on Irish brown bread. Then for desert, Sam had kiwi with yogurt and I had chocolate cake with a custard top.

The Grapevine Hostel

This place had been suggested to me by Cynthia Weydert. She worked here. after Nottingham, and during her Spring Break when most go to the continent. We just left the Dingle pub, where we were playing cribbage. Everything in my score was messed up when I went backward, so it was an annoying game. But we heard two traditional bands playing this evening. One had dancers performing too. Lots of fun it was.

Two very attractive women have just left the music lounge where Sam and I sat down to write (in their presence). I explained about my sunburn, talked to one of the two, the other left shortly after Sam entered, and then we lost the talking one. They seemed to be enjoying the silence of Big Blue together. I brought food, which she called "Dinner?" It's a cheesy scone (brown with cheddar on top, by David, really hits the spot tonight). Oh well. It would be nice to meet some people while here, Irish or not, and beautiful people are usually so much more fun to meet. Then one can dream of being in beautiful places with them at your side, as an assistant to beauty. This is a pretty hostel. The downstairs area is quite done up. There is an elegant fireplace, yet very functional. A nice red rug, maroon walls, white ceiling, wood floors, plus cushioned couches. Virgin Vodka bottle on the fireplace, mirror.

POSTCARD: The Aran Islands, continued

We rented bikes yesterday, we are on the Dingle Peninsula in Dingle town. this is incredible land. There all the ancient stones with carvings and the stone huts like beehives piled perfectly, so that they can last two thousand years. I've got a new goal: to learn Gaelic Irish. I've gotten some out of print text books, one in Welsh and two in Gaelic. I will learn Irish and then make myself marketable so I can move to Ireland for the rest of my days.

Another night of darts, and we bought tickets for a play. We had to let off our darts because of the plays ticket table being moved in the way, so we went to live music and dancing at another nearby pub. Then the Dingle Pub for cribbage before bed. Sam had a Bailey's and I had a Guinness. Great music there.

We named the dart place the Beamish place, or McCarthy's. It rained all of the next day, but we went for a walk along the shoreline, trying to get to a Castle but the way was too windy and we met a river and cliffs.

We hitched back to Dingle, and took it easy, writing, and drinking coffee. Shopping for nothing. Post cards and such. We saw the play, Dancing at Lughnasa. Well, first darts and Beamish. We met an interesting older white haired woman who told us all about our names and stroked Sam's hair, She said she had hair just like that when she was young.

REVIEW: Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel, Mac Carthaighs on upper Main Street, Dingle. The Beehive Theatre Co. This, I believe, was an excellent introduction to Brian Friel for me. But I also think that it might have been too slow. The pacing was the primary fault, esp. that of shifting from the visions of Michael to the monologues. They are long, but they were taken too far as somber epitaphs to the lives of the people who were his family. The super real tears he shed were nearly unnecessary, and of course, that is up to the actor. But as a director, I don't think you can do that to the pace of the play. Without causing serious problems at those points in the comprehension of what is important to pay attention to. Some of the acting was good. It was not in a style I'd pursue for this show. I'd call it over acting. The space had a lot to do with why it was ineffective in this way . ..J:D~ motions that one character flourished on did not feed into the next. Plus, there was never an overlap of action or words. Action, I understand, but their were times when the pace could have been snappy. When you add too much space, the conversations lose their responsiveness, like a rubber ball flattening with each bounce. Some characters picked it up again, but usually with very personal fidgetings. Fidgeting for sense of character is nothing to just throw on and continue laying on. It must be layered from the first second. I think it is more effective to reveal by surprise. Because that is how we get to know the extent of someone's characteristics or nonconformities. Like a man walks into the pub, lights his cigarette, immediately puts it out and leaves, then comes back in relaxed, sits down and adds to conversations about football. Then, when the 2000 hour bell rings, the man takes out a gun and shoots everyone in sight. Anyway, tonight, I feel a little stressed. I'm writing to give my opinions of things as long as no one contradicts them by over praising a play, or saying that fall backs are there, because "that was what they were trying for." I think bad pacing can be fixed, and is always noticeable, but a lot of other things can be blamed instead. My note would be, if a director of the Beehive group, "I saw fidgeting, of all kinds, from all the actors. Some had it in their feet, some hands, some other parts too." I don't think so much of that was necessary. Kate especially was that way, but did not direct her fidgeting at anything outsided her own things. She'd use her napkin or towel. But she had no place to escape to. I felt the same in Grunts when I said "That son of a bitch" when I had a pole in front of me to hit. It was just too preconceived. Dancing was always blocked to face forward, which no matter how necessary, feels weird when the show becomes too presentational. It didn't always work. The rooster that the fox got was a little too plastic. These kinds of things convinced me that they were not a professional theatre. I think they were just having fun. They had so many characterizations, it was a bit scary. The acting was probably the worst part of it. Too much was going on, to many responses. But the men were not as good as the women at all. The main man in it was the son of the owner of the pub.

Tomorrow morning we are off on a bus to Killarney, and the train to Dublin. Zoom.