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Yet Another American Goes to Dublin

An Anthology of Rain (or, The Wicklow Mountains)

USA | Thursday, 15 May 2014 | Views [904] | Scholarship Entry

As could be expected, it was raining.

Seven months before I'd left the USA to act on fantasies of finding 'my true home' in Scotland (admittedly influenced by an unnamed Disney princess) and attend university. Instead of home I found rain fresh from the sea. It rarely fell in downpours, like rain back home often did, but instead it came with such regularity and habitual softness that I got used to it like one gets used to altitude oxygen.

In the Highlands I found rain in new quantities and qualities. Whilst bent over double to climb munroes I learned that it doesn't actually have to be raining for the wind itself to be drenched and therefore drench you. (I also learned that in Scottish streams and paths are interchangeable, which means tadpoles sometimes swim in paths.)

A few days after I got back from a Highland trip, my friend Ada and I booked last-minute tickets to Dublin.

The first evening we were in Dublin, Ada went to visit her aunt and I went to the hostel. I took my book and sat outside. It rained a bit, so I watched people instead of reading.

That's when I started talking to Paul. Paul's a young dark-haired Dublin native, about my height (5'9"), and well above my very American level of sarcasm. As he's a staunch atheist and I'm a doubtful Christian, it made perfect sense to both of us to spend hours talking about neuroscience, God, 'random shite' (what he called books), and American hicks. I've roadtripped over all the lower 48 states, so I laughed when he told me he was regarded as a heathen foreigner by a bookstore attendant--he'd bought 'Darwin's Origins of the Species' and 'The God Delusion' at a very Christian charity shop.

'I'd tell you to go to my village while you're here,' he said. 'You'd like it. But you look like a kid; there's no way they'd rent you a car. Go to the Wicklow Mountains and come back and tell me if you missed the rain.'

And so, after a few days in Dublin, Ada and I caught a bus.

It looked like rain, but we went for a few-hour walk anyway.

Wicklow Mountain rain was, once again, different. It wasn't the drenched-air that I'd experienced in the Highlands, nor was soft and St Andrian--it was heavy and steady, cold and misty. After we walked around a few lakes, a ruined abbey, and a waterfall, I decided I approved of this rain.

'Did you get any rain?' Paul asked me later. Ada and I were just leaving the hostel to go see a play.

'As could be expected,' I said. 'I'm acquiring a taste for it.'

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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