The words for the title to this post are from the book Twenty Years A-Growing, and are spoken by Maurice to his grandfather, after Maurice was asked if he believed in something he had not seen while on the mainland for a day of fun away from the Great Blasket Island. The grandfather says, “No doubt it is hard to believe, but we have to believe many things we never saw.” And that is when Maurice replies with (my translation), “C’mon Gramps, there is some stuff you don’t see you can accept, but you know, then there is other stuff you say, that is rally hard for me to believe.”
Today, Patricia and I went for a late brunch at the a square in the lively energy of a throbbing Saturday morning in Dublin. We chose a vegetarian bruchetta – (well, we also had a muffin each before that . . . and a cup of irish coffee after) The bruchetta was delicious. Patricia could have done without the kernels of maize that were thrown in for fun . . . but that was OK because the pigeons of the city square were happy with any kernels that made it to the ground in front of us.
It was a spectacular day of sun and warm today, so we decided to take the half-hour train ride (from the Tara Station in Dublin) to Howth, which is described on their map as a “Dublin Coastal Village.” It is a community a bit to the North of Dublin. It is kind of like a knob extended from the mainland by a fairly narrow stretch of land, so when you look at a map of Howth it is almost like an Island – surrounded by the sea. To the east the land climbs to a fine, great height, so you have a magnificent view of the sea and ships and town below, “from on high.”
What a magnificent day for a hike “up the hill.”
Here are a few images to give you a sense of Howth’s extravagant beauty:
The return trip on the train takes passengers from the beauty of breathing easy in Howth to the pulsing sprawl of the Dublin scrunched with people and buses and row houses and businesses and poverty and homelessness and really old stuff and new stuff and . . .
It’s a ride.
As we were getting ready to board the train we heard people shrieking on the rides of a carnival that had been set along the harbor, I suppose for the end of summer. I don’t know what language the riders were shrieking in with glee/terror, but it sounded exactly the same as the sounds I have heard at the Minnesota State Fair, or a county fair, or anywhere people are being tossed about in the air by machines, and paying for the privilege.
No doubt it is hard to believe, in a city as diverse in language as Dublin, I understood the language of the riders even though I don’t know the language in which they screamed.
On the train, facing us in our little booth of four seats were two women engaged in a fairly animated conversation in French. I did translate one word they spoke to each other, “Oui,” otherwise I didn’t understand a word of their half-hour conversation. Not too far away was a group of seven or eight 20/30 somethings in an animated conversation in a language Patricia was sure was Russian. I didn’t understand one word. We didn’t hear a word of English on the ride that we understood as such, except our words to each other. The train had a grand gaggle of young teenagers strewn throughout. In our car there was a very animated group behind us. They were, how do you say, ebullient with the overflow of young teenage joy after having spent the day together in Howth with no adult supervision. One of the girls got to giggling, and giggling and giggling. She was bubbling over with an effervescence she could not contain. The sounds of her joy, echoed throughout our train car. I have heard that exact joy from other teenagers in other settings.
No doubt it is hard to believe, in a train car of languages foreign to me, I understood this teenage girl, even though I do not know the language in which she giggled.
Ah, but there are things and there are things.