The end of October is a pretty shite time to be living in Ireland. The 29th rolls around, and the clocks change. Suddenly you’re waking up in the darkness and leaving work in the darkness. Every other day, it’s “pissin’ rain”, and the sun seems to have taken paid leave with a note scrawled in the greyscale cloud coverage: “Couldn’t be bollocksed, see you in 6 months”.
But, that’s the trick to Ireland. Every expat knows what their getting to when they move here, and the real trick is how you choose your fate and plan your life around it. You need to engineer your own excitement. There’s plenty of craic to be had in the weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, pints with the pals, but the real trick comes from having something to look forward to down the line. That one thing that’s always staring you down, perhaps months away, keeping you satiated and keen to run a few more laps round the hamster wheel.
The plan was fucking brilliant. My 25th birthday was to be the 4th of March, a Sunday. My favorite band, Thee Oh Sees, were to be playing back-to-back shows the Thursday and The Friday. Night 1: Manchester, The Royal Albert Hall (the second most Royal after the Royal Albert Hall of London*) , and Night 2: The Troxy in East London. I would take the Thursday and the Friday off work, having bagged my nasty share of vacation days. Then, I’d fly off to Manchester at a cheeky 1pm, allowing for a last hurrah pints session on the Wednesday eve, resulting in a minimal hangover to match the comforts of a RyanAir flight. Rock the absolute wax off of my face at Thee Oh Sees gig, then hop a train to London and do it all over again. Even decided to splurge on hotels, given the advance notice, and on account of the birthday festivities and all. By the first of November, I was all booked up for the trip of a lifetime. 4 months passed. And then the fucking beast hit.
A winter storm the likes of which Ireland had never seen. No more than 4-6 Inches of snow over the course of three days, but blizzard like conditions, with wind and ice to boot. Not a single plow in Dublin to be seen, “Red Warnings” issued by the national government, people told to stay in their homes. Work cancelled. #beastfromtheeast is what the goddamn kids called it.
Wednesday evening, 28th of February, I sat away, sipping my pints with four mates from work, calm as the cool blizzard air outdoors. “Not to worry,” I’d say, “never missed an Oh Sees gig yet, and no storm is going to stop me from getting off of this damn island.” You see, earlier in the day, I’d hatched my clever little idea: Stena Line Ferry tickets to Holyhead, Wales, cheeky train to Manchester, there in time for the opening act. Genius like. Blizzard might whip away the streets, the runways, and the skies, but the high seas were all mine.
Waking up to the crude hangover of consecutive cancellations of ferries and flights and hotels and concerts and birthdays at 5am on the 1st of March in the dead of Dublin winter, when it’s still fuckin’ dark all the time just isn’t that fun, I’ll tell ye that much. But anyways, ya laugh.
That’s why I love this place. It’s the reason I always have, and always will, it’s why I love the novels and the films and the history. It’s why I love the people and the pints and the weather and the cobbles. It’s because everyone knows the same secret truth: we’re all g’wanna end up in the same state anyways, so when our measly plans go to shite, yer left wit nothin’ but yer laughter. And that’s that. Ha ha fuckin’ ha.
Bobby: “Having lived in New Jersey, Georgia, California, and Ireland, all in the past decade, I’m not really sure where I’m from anymore. What I do know is that I love music more than anything, movies after that, and I pretend to read more books than I actually do. Currently working in Sales for the tech company: Asana. You can usually find me watching trashy 90’s Japanese Gangster Films, listening to Thee Oh Sees on repeat, or drinking a pint around Dublin.”