A May 1995 trip
to Galway by Languedoc
Quote: Why I went to Ireland and why I don't intend to return.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on September 1, 2000
Ard Einne Inn
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 1, 2000
Galway seemed filled to overflowing with people who drink too much, who rear undisciplined children, who litter indiscriminately (I watched as a couple peeled the wrappings off their candy bars and dropped them right behind an elderly man picking up litter in a park). I asked the owner of a bookstore about the law for writers and he said that it was a good law but no writer he knew of had made a go of it in Ireland; they all leave after a while. He said Frederick Forsyth was still in Ireland but planned to return to England and pay taxes again. I asked him why writers left, and he only said that after a while they simply can't stand Ireland.
Still game, I went on a personal pilgrimage to the Aran Islands, which enchanted me when I was in graduate school studying John M. Synge, the great playright. But another disappointment was waiting. Since I was there to work, the Irish Tourist Board made me their guest and arranged for me to stay in the Ard Einne Inn. So when I arrived, after walking over from the ferry landing, the owner, Mrs. Gill, was upset that I didn't call for a ride. She commented on it two or three times, and I later found out that providing rides for her guests is one way she increases her income. She gave me an 8-mile walking itinerary out across the moonscape of the island, and it was blazing hot. I asked her if there was a cool place I could sit for a few minutes and have something cold to drink, and she led me out into the yard and sat me on a bench with no shade and nothing to drink. I sneaked back to the inn, drank several glasses of tap water and trudged back to town for lunch, returned and did some laundry which I hung in the room by the window.
That evening I saw someone in the dining room before the 7 p.m. dinner time and went in and began chatting with him. Mrs. Gill came in, shooed me out into the sitting room; it was her friendly husband eating his dinner. While I sat with nothing to do--I read the single magazine, which was a large-print Readers Digest--two other guests came in, two women from Indianapolis and one was a prison superintendent. While we were chatting, Mrs. Gill came to the door and in That Tone of Voice, ordered me out into the hall, where she loudly read me the riot act for doing laundry in my room. I went back into the sitting room and the three of us couldn't believe what we had just heard. The prison superintendent said even she doesn't talk to her guests that way.
The next morning Mrs. Gill tried to get me to pay her for the room the Irish Tourist Board was paying her for. I thought of paying her just to get her out of my life sooner, but I didn't have enough Irish pounds. So I dug out the paperwork, which she said she had. Then she told me the van was outside and it would cost me 4 pounds for the ride. No wonder she was upset that I walked over when I arrived. I went into the dining room to say good-bye to the Indianapolis women, and the prison superintendent asked, 'Are you sure you weren't here once before and trashed the place? That woman hates you.
I rode to town with her husband and at the ferry landing I handed him 4 pounds. He said the fare was only 2, and I said his wife told me it was 4. He tapped me on the shoulder, and said, 'And I say it is 2,' smiled and drove away.
So with the drunks, the record of several other writers moving to Ireland, the utter lack of friendliness on the Aran Islands--I think I know how a conqueror feels after a war ends, and I went there with only kindness in my heart--I was glad when the ferry left Rossaire for France.
Narbonne, France, -- Choose State --