|Clockwise from Top Left: L.E. Orla, Wool Socks, Galway Film Fleadh, Gold Bangle,
Jasper Quinn, County Cork, 10DaysInDublin Festival, Sweater Sleeve, Galway.
Aside from soaking up the fashion scene in Ireland, I’ve been taking advantage of the wide range of summer arts festivals happening all over the country. The 10DaysInDublin arts festival was full of hilarious plays, dance performances, comedians, poetry slams, and concerts. It’s run entirely by volunteers who are passionate about the arts, and I attended two of the multitude of events: a musical performance by a band called Bouts and a play entitled A Play for Bad Actors. Both venues were perfect backdrops for two magical evenings of live music and theater.
In my study tour to the Southwest of Ireland, the Literary Festival in Bantry, Co. Cork provided a sense of adventure and quenched the needs of my inner poetry nerd. I chummed around with tea and scones and the Irish Navy whilst listening to a reading by Jasper Quinn, a freelance writer who sailed around Ireland on a kayak and then wrote about his experiences. He was witty and hilarious, and knew how to make fun of himself. The officers in the Irish Navy on the L.E. Orla were kind enough to offer their ship as the venue, appropriate enough, seeing as the reading was about being out at sea. One quote that stuck out in my mind was when Jasper said, “Coming home means going out to sea.” Many an Irish writer has written about Ireland from outside its borders, which was true for Jasper as well. I’m not sure why so many literary geniuses have felt the need to leave Ireland in order to properly write about it, but it’s definitely a common theme.
After Cork, we made our way slowly up to Galway for the 24th Annual Film Fleadh and saw a thrilling drama called Jump. It was the perfect art house film to see and I was completely drawn in by the plot, which followed eight loosely connected characters over the course of a hectic and fatal New Years Eve in Derry. I’ll be visiting Derry and Belfast next weekend, and I’m curious to see what Northern Ireland is really like after learning so much about “the troubles.” On my travels, I purchased a silver claddagh ring, a gold bangle, and the most comfy sweater I’ve ever worn. Aside from the many arts festivals, I had quite an outdoorsy adventure. I rode a pony up a mountain, scaled the steep cliffside of Skellig Michael, was mesmerized by the Cliffs of Moher, and found a peaceful, rocky perch in The Burren. After three weeks of living in Dublin and travelling to Cork, Kerry, Clare, Blarney, Cobh, Bantry, and Galway, the best way to sum up this journey would be to say that I’ve found the perfect balance of art, academia, and nature.