Thursday, February 25, 2010

As If I Needed More Irish Exposure

Anyone who knows me knows that I have an unhealthy obsession with Ireland (and that's putting it lightly). I couldn't tell you where the obsession started, only that I love Ireland so much that I decided to get my Master's in Irish Studies. I'm gonna stop you right there, because I know what you are going to say. What am I going to do with a Master's in Irish Studies? I'm going to be honest with you...most likely nothing. But I enjoy the subject, so that's enough for me. (And it certainly seemed like a good idea to at least be doing something right after undergrad graduation, when I had no job and no prospects.)

This is a shot of some buddies and me in July of 2006 when we studied abroad in Ireland. On the way back to Dublin from the Dingle Peninsula (that's really the name), we stopped off for a little taste of the opposite side of the Atlantic.

One of the courses I'm taking this semester is Irish Language. What. A. Joke. I'm serious. You think Arabic is hard? Hold onto your hats, my friends. This language is impossible. In what universe is the world "bhfuil" pronounced "will"? The Irish one. While I can't see myself getting anything more out of this class other than knowing how to say "My name is Meagan," (Is mise Meagan) there are certainly a lot of perks.

1. My professor is the man. Imagine Shrek, but not green, and with a handle-bar mustache that curves around to his ears. Then you have Professor Art J. Hughes, originally from Belfast and lecturing as a Fullbright Scholar for the year at NYU's Glucksman Ireland House. He knows no one is going to amount to much in our class, so we spend the time repeating after him and then learning the history of language.

2. You get to attend events. Last night I attended a reception at the Consulate General of Ireland on Park Avenue in New York. It was in honor of the Deputy Consulate General's launch of the European Certificate Irish Language program, which will be run in conjunction with Glucksman Ireland House. I must admit I didn't know what to expect. But when I got there I saw a table of food and an open bar. Score.

The evening continued with poetry readings and a lot of Irish speaking. I absorbed about 15 percent of the night. But with my glass of wine and the bouncy, traditional music (which makes me weak in the knees) it was smooth sailing. Cap the whole night off with a private show of traditional Irish step-dancing? I'd say it was a success.

Now all I have to do is get back to Ireland (for my sixth visit). Oh what a post that will be....

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