My trip is starting to take shape nicely. I have made hostel reservations for the next two nights in Dublin as I adjust to the time change and two days of flying. I will be lucky enough to share a night with Deonne Kahler and her mother. Deonne is a wonderful writing coach and woman from Taos, New Mexico as well. After checking into the Liffey, just a block away from the River of the same name and the Ha’ Penny Bridge, we’ll meet up for a bite and take in the Ireland Italy EuroCup tilt. It may not be a victory for the boys in green, but you can be sure of the celebration. Dublin will provide me with the chance to see Trinity College, the Ireland Writers House and find a hole-in-the-wall bookshop to purchase some poetry.
I have been researching and reading some modern Irish poets to gauge their take on the Troubles and begin to immerse myself in the artistic representation of this time in Irish history. Seamus Heaney is a poet of global renown. He is Derry born and selections from his first four books, especially Death of a Naturalist and North, have been with me for months. He captures the rural quiet of Ireland’s past in his early work and delicately grapples with the growing turbulence in Northern Ireland as the timeline of his work and the 70s intertwines. Another star of this time, though a bit younger, emerged from Belfast in 1948. Ciaran Carson’s work has been a revelation for me. I will be buying his books Belfast Confetti and The Irish for No if possible (use the link to hear the poet recite Belfast Confetti). Just as in our country, there are hundreds more poets more than worthy of mention, but that’ll do for now.
After my time in Dublin it will be time to really engage in the ethnographic study of my fellowship. I will take a train headed for Londonderry or Derry, depending on who you ask. I will be staying in a quaint spot within the Bogside and minutes from the world famous Mural Walk on Rossville Street. Waiting to hear a confirmation from the Bogside artists, but I hope to use these artists to dive into how legacy of the Troubles for Derry youth. Two days in Derry for now. But that’s as far as I’ll commit. Otherwise I’d like to allow for an organic experience and allow for opportunities to present themselves as I travel. I have no idea the wealth of expertise for my classroom I will meet until I meet them. So why build it up too much.
As I experience Dublin, I will look into a firm itinerary beyond Derry and into the weekend. I plan on arriving in Belfast Sunday night to extend the fellowship into the most war ravished city of the Troubles. Exciting stuff!