When I first arrived in Ireland I knew nothing about the place except for what I’d seen on the news or in twee tourist shows. I didn’t understand most of what was being said to me (and that was in Dublin – imagine the fun of my first encounter with Cork!) Sure, there were bombs being defused every week but I got used to that, the grass was *always* green, the rivers *always* had water in them and the pubs all served Guinness. Eventually I even managed to even get used to the spelling, but let’s not talk about your addresses…
Ireland is a fabulous and beautiful and totally crazy place. There’s castles everywhere (although the advertised two castles in one street in Dalkey didn’t quite live up to my early, naive expectations), lots of cows and sheep with cute black faces. I’ve been given directions that included the line “if you think you’ve gone too far you’re not there yet”. I’ve driven miles and miles through winding country roads behind herds of cattle or sheep, met a lady who was the last surviving occupant of a ruin I’d just been climbing over in a deserted village, had afternoon tea at Father Ted’s House (a show I didn’t understand until I’d been here for a while). I’ve walked over rope bridges, explored neolithic ruins tombs, sat under the capstones of dolmens and drunk whisky at the source. I think it’s fairly safe to claim that I’ve seen more of the place than many of the locals have.
But what the tourist shows and the news don’t show you is just how wonderful the people here are. I’ve been made to feel completely welcome here from the moment I stepped off the plane back in 2005 and heard “I Come From The Land Downunder” playing on the taxi radio.
I’m going to miss all of the great people that I’ve met – from all of those I’ve lived and worked with through to the amazingly resourceful and eclectic fibre artists who have truly inspired me. But at least Edinburgh isn’t too far away, so I’ll be able to come and visit from time to time.