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Rugby Central

13 May

I hadn’t realised how huge the Rugby scene was in Limerick even after I witnessed the epic “40 phases of play” the Munster team pulled off in the Heinekin Cup opener of 2011 (which I wrote about here).  But after I started working and rowing there, if I had been in any doubt about the connection Limerick has to Rugby, it was erased the other day when I drove through a roundabout on the southern side of town and saw signs for three different clubs all in the same place!




10 Feb

This is where I row.  How cool is this:


I mean, Boston was great and scenic, and California is beautiful, but when the water in Limerick is low and I can row past secret underwater entrances to the dungeons of a thousand-year-old castle I have to take a moment and think “how lucky am I to be able to row on this river!”

Midlife Business Adventure

22 Sep

In case you were used to seeing posts show up here more frequently than they have lately, I have to tell you that my time has been under more demand as a result of my enrolment in the Corporate M.B.A programme at University of Limerick’s Kemmy Business School.

Like the decision we made when we moved to Ireland, the M.B.A.  idea had bubbled around in the atmosphere for a long long time and yet the actual process of deciding on it and committing to it was an impulsive and last minute decision which precluded second-guessing.

Here I am, back at school, almost twenty years after the last time I carried my own textbooks on a college campus so my posts might not come as frequently.  I’ve got a few in the works that will appear here at some point when I have a chance to finish them up.

En-chanted Evening

14 Sep

On the recommendation of a trusted friend, I left work the other day at 5:20pm and headed out East of Limerick to a Benedictine Monastary called Glenstal Abbey.

Every evening at 6:00pm the monks say Vespers – which is evening prayers – in Latin.  Technically, they don’t actually “say” the prayers, rather, they chant them…gregorian style.  Completely amazing to hear, it is a meditative and calming experience.

Just to approach the chapel is an experience…walking through the ambiance of this old Castle-like fortress-like monastary.  But once inside, the altar itself is spare and minimalist: just a simple table with an incense burner on a stand in front of it.

High above the altar is a equal sided cross suspended with thin wires in the air like a floating addition sign.  The smoke from the incense rises underneath it quickly expanding like a dancing genie….if ever there was a representation of the “Holy Spirit” this would be it.

The smoke dances into the air as the deep intonations of the latin chant fill the room and the mystery of spirituality surrounds you, transporting you to a timeless place of reflection.

You can buy the albums of the monks doing this…or you can show up twice a day and get the full experience just for the price of passing by.  I highly recommend it.

Emo Gas

25 Jul

Why do these gas stations crack me up so much?:

“the price of gas makes me wanna die…”

Because I’m pretty sure that the people behind the name had no idea that “Emo” was a descriptive term for an ultra-hip music subgenre and fashion style characterized by depressed teens with eye-obsuring hairstyles singing punk derived songs about death and suicide and other depressing angst-ridden melodrama.

I laugh everytime I drive past one of these stations thinking that I’d go inside and find some kid sneering at me through his bangs saying something like “you know you’re gonna kill us all with climate change driving that gas guzzling machine out there…”

Fair Weather, Friend

14 Jul

Yes, I’m back on the weather again. Simply because I am getting tired of telling people that I really don’t mind the Irish weather. But without fail, the second or third question everyone asks me when they find out I moved to Ennis from San Francisco is “what do I think of the miserable weather here”.

I am getting a little tired of telling the Irish people how awesome their weather actually is if you stop hunching against it and look up at it once in a while.

This photo is representative of the kind of thing I see regularly on my drive home from work in Limerick. In this case, it is a half ruined tower house near the Caherdavin offramp with the most amazing sunset taking place behind it.

The skies here are never dull, always changing, and invariably I can find something beautiful in them. So the next time someone looks to me for commiseration about the weather here, I think I”ll just send them to read this blog.

Independence Day

8 Jul

The Irish have a strong affinity for the U.S. 4th of July celebration, and it is partly a result of the Irish diaspora that has led so many Irish people to settle in the states.  It is also partly a kinship that the Irish feel for the American colonialists throwing off the mantle of English rule.  Without getting too political about it all, I was surprised by, and proud of the amount of attention paid to the 4th of July over here.

The ancient city of Limerick (where I work and row) declared its intention to have the biggest 4th of July celebration outside of the U.S.  – and their spirit was reflected by U.S. flags hanging from a great many businesses downtown.  Coming into Limerick, you could see the Stars and Stripes flying high on the bridges over the Shannon – it really was quite a sight.

I was fortunate enough to represent my company at a 4th of July event hosted by the Limerick Chamber of Commerce for the U.S. Embassy representatives  and while I did meet a lot of very interesting business people, I was particularly pleased to recieve the U.S. Embassy’s “friendship pin” with the dual flags of the U.S. and Ireland on it.  It’s a small thing, but I somehow felt that with my feet in both countries simultaneously, it would be a good pin for me to wear on my lapel.

As for the Limerick celebration, there was a lot going on over the weekend, but not so much going on during the actual 4th which fell on a Wednesday.  Nonetheless, I started to understand what Mary had been through all those years in S.F. during St. Patrick’s day when everyone wanted to text her or call her and wish the best to an actual Irish person.  I was personally quite touched by the number of people here who acknowledged my nationality on the actual day with a call, a text or a “happy 4th” greeting to me.

To mark the occasion, Mary and the girls came to Limerick for a meal at the most American place we could think of: a chain of 1950’s style Diners called Eddie Rocket’s (it was either that or a Mexican place I heard about).  But we avoided the crual irony of Mexican food on the 4th and milkshakes and pie were the hallmarks of the first ex-pat Independence Day we celebrated here in Ireland.

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