Life of a Galway Girl - #2!
Hey my Irish Dancers,
How are you this week? Unfortunately, the weather here in Ireland hasn’t budged since my last blog post. Rain still spills down at unexpected times and I’ve found myself still wearing my winter coat (only on occasion)! But let’s hope it turns around soon. As so many of you probably know, there really is nothing better than a beautiful summer day here on the Emerald Isle. The magic of this place that so many speak of becomes undoubtedly evident on a sunny day. So as we say here in Galway..roll on summertime!
But on another foot, I just finished watching the amazing video of the An Comhdhail World Irish Dancing Championships on the magazine’s website. I caught a glimpse of Michael D. Higgins, the President of Ireland, and thought that I would share with you my very special meeting with him last year.
It was last April and the previous President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, came to my university – The National University of Ireland, Galway – with her husband and Michael D. Higgins to give a talk to students. After the speeches were over, we had the opportunity to stay and mingle with the country’s future president. After a short and nervous introduction (on my part), I told President Higgins a very short version of how I cam to live in Ireland and how much I love the country and its people. And to my surprise, he asked about my hometown of Elmhurst! He was delighted to hear about my small suburb outside Chicago, my history with Irish dancing and if I had ever met Obama. He is a very sweet man – one you wouldn’t mind having a pint with in the pub if time would allow!
And speaking of pubs, I have an even better story for you dancers to get you on your feet. It was about two weeks ago and I decided to go down to the pub called The Spanish Arch with some friends for a few pints. We had planned on having a quiet and relaxing evening, one with shared conversation and a few laughs with quiet Irish music as a backdrop. But once we ordered our ciders and settled in to a table at the front of the pub, the idea of a quiet evening soon became a thing of the past.
With live Irish music on the stage just a few feet away from us, we couldn’t help but join in the sing-alongs to classic Irish songs such as “Whiskey In the Jar,” “Wild Rover” and “Galway Girl.” It wasn’t long before people were up on their feet and dancing simple steps to the beat of the music. And with my friends not ones to be modest, they sometimes take it upon themselves to tell everyone who is dancing that I did many years of Irish dance and would love to join them!
A few sips of cider and a little convincing later, I was on my feet doing the slip jig – steps I had done so many times they became embedded in my memory. And before I knew it, I was doing the slip jig and treble reel in the pub.
It wasn’t until my friends somewhat forced me to start dancing that I remembered how free it actually makes me feel. Sometimes, it’s as if the entire world falls quiet and it’s just me floating across the floor, doing the steps that I have done so many times before, and realizing that this is one of the greatest forms of expression – a feeling that I know so many of you know all too well.
Well dancers, that’s it for me this time from across the pond. I can see the sun trying to peak out of the clouds so I may have to take a walk out to Salthill – I have to soak it up while I can! I’ll be sure to write you again soon.
Stay reel, dancers. ☺