No Sleep Til Dublin

Late on Good Friday we travelled to Dublin. Because I am a non-religious idiot who consistently forgets that Easter exists. We could have left so much earlier in the day! It would have made Such a Difference.But we did not. Our flight was at 10pm and, delightfully, RyanAir delayed and delayed and delayed it.

 We were heading to Dublin for the centenary of the Easter Rising (YES THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A CLUE FOR FLIGHT BOOKING) but mostly because my parents were going to be there.


As part of the Hutt Valley Irish Society they had arranged a trip around Ireland and it all began in Dublin for the centenary celebrations.

 Despite the delays (just a day after I’d been praising low-cost airlines to a pal!) we made it to Dublin. After getting exactly the wrong instructions from the airport-bus staff which sent us overshooting our hotel and an unplanned for 2am stroll through eerily abandoned streets, we made it to a hotel bed just after 3am.


We were out of the hotel by 8am the next morning and met my parents at their hotel for breakfast. I honestly can’t tell you how we managed it but I think we were simply too tired to do anything other than continue in a forwards direction.

That and a lot of coffee.

 When in Dublin there are a few things you must must do: 1. Visit Molly Malone. 2. Guinness. 3. ???

(I love them)

 

We tacked on a quick visit to the Book of Kells at Trinity College (the book? Underwhelming. The library building? Excellent) and my family’s spiritual home, Mulligan’s Bar.


The next morning was Easter Sunday, the day of the parade, and the day I cried in the bathroom of an art gallery. Not my finest hour.


The city itself was almost entirely blocked off for the parade. We watched the beginning but honestly, every even peripherally involved army battalion (peace keepers from the congo in the 1990s!) were involved and I am just not that interested in military history.

 We tried to get across to the bus station but the parade! The parade. We could not find a way across for at least two hours. Two long frustrating hours. When we finally made it to the bus stop, of course the one we needed to catch (we had planned to visit Kilmainham Gaol) was on strike. OF COURSE it was. She sent us to another bus stop, across the city, and the heavens opened.


In the pouring rain I tried to navigate us to the bus stop but when we got there? There was no bus stop. And it was still in the middle of the closed streets.

Regrouping and trying to dry off over lunch we ended on the western edge of the city. A bus to Kilmainham arrived just as my parents were trying to find us to come with us. We’ll let it go, it’s a bus, another one will be along shortly. Of course, you know the punch line already. There were no other buses. We couldn’t even get an uber to stop for us.

 We never did make it to Kilmainham.


(on the other hand, we hadn’t booked tickets and it was part of the centenary celebrations so chances are that had we made it, we couldn’t have gone inside anyway)

 The National Gallery of Ireland is in Dublin and I can say that their bathrooms are excellent if you do want to have a short little cry about how nothing is working out the way it is supposed to. The art is pretty good too. No, actually, it’s excellent.


Pip and I were followed by a security guard. I honestly thought we were about to be thrown out of an art gallery. Which really would have just been the perfect end to the weekend.


In the end, we didn’t get thrown out of the gallery. We ended up going to the pub with my parents which WAS the best idea. After two ciders, getting caught in SNOW as we waited for our bus back to the airport was just the right side of ridiculous.

Dublin, man, it doesn’t make it easy.

Today was a Momentous day …

My Irish passport

I cried at my desk today.
Not a lot, just a few tears, but I was overwhelmed. So happy it had to leak out of my eyes.

My Irish passport has arrived.

It’s all official. It has my photo, my name, my date of birth, and there, nestled under the heading ‘Náisiúntacht/Nationality’ is proof of my dual citizenship. I am Éireannach/Irish.

Tuesday: my Irish passport arrived

I have been waiting for this exact moment for so long.
When I received the letter advising I’d been granted Irish citizenship, when I received the subsequent certificate of citizenship, it didn’t seem quite real. You can’t use those documents to travel between countries. I had this fear that, at any moment, it could be snatched away from me. No really, I did.

I’m not just crazy. When Craig and I were looking at staying in London it seemed that every time we made a decision to apply for a visa they changed the requirements. So, in my mind, there was precedent.

All of a sudden this pressure, this barrier, this cloud that has been sitting over me for 4 years and 34 days – since, literally, 15th February 2008, is gone. It was all a bit too much to handle.

I am a little scared.
Craig and I could move to London pretty much any time we wanted. If I wanted, I could move tomorrow. All Craig needs is a spouse visa and he could come with me. This is a daunting prospect.

We have no plans at this stage. Our trip to Europe notwithstanding. But just the possibility, the freedom, the certainty. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Also? They returned all of my original documents as well. It really was all fine.

It’s funny how things work out. Or it’s funny how they don’t.

Street Art, London

June 15 2008.
It was just a week before I was due to fly home from London. Knowing that there was only the slightest chance that Craig would get sponsored and we could move back to London.
I left knowing that the next time I would be there would be to pack up and move back to New Zealand.

LOST

June 15 2009
I posted this photo with tears in my eyes. I meant it.
Dear Universe, I know I have lost.

I was giving up, letting go, sick of yearning for a city thousands of miles away. All it was doing was making my life like marking time. I was resolving to stop living that way*.

I knew that if it was meant to be, it would be. I was giving up to the Universe but not giving up on the Universe.

Monday: naturalisation begins

June 15 2011
I received confirmation I was to become an Irish Citizen.

No, not really. The letter arrived on the 3rd of June. But wouldn’t it have been great if it had been the 15th?

The Universe works in perfect synchrony sometimes.

* And we did! We travelled to Japan, to Hawaii, we moved into the city.

I pledge allegiance to the Taoiseach

I love this letter! #síorgrhá
 
 I have been trying to write this entry for a week.
Every time it becomes all too much. I have too much to explain. I have kept so much from you. This is the resolution to TWO YEARS of waiting and hoping but mainly two years of trying not to hope.

I will start at the beginning.
 
My Mother grew up with an Irish grandmother. She was the Rose for whom I am named.
My Mother, wise in so many ways, did not get the Irish passport to which she was entitled until years later, 2009, years after her children were (mostly) grown. This small little slip precluded my darling sisters and I from getting Irish passports.
 
Since the mid 1990s my family have been involved in the local Irish Society. I consider the members to be my extended family. I feel connected to my heritage through the club.
In 2007 before we left the country they presented me with two charms – a shamrock and a St Christopher medallion – for luck and safe travels. Thinking about that still makes me a little soft-eyed. They are lovely people. They are a second family.
 
Ireland is a wonderful place.
In a spectactularly Irish move, they allow people to petition to become naturalised Irish citizens through “Irish by Association”. You make your case that you are Irish enough to be a citizen and, if they like you enough (I’m guessing – I don’t know the criteria) then you can become a naturalised citizen.
 
My darling Mother started this process for all three daughters early in 2009.
Copies of birth certificates and marriage certificates, letters explaining why we wanted to become Irish citizens, explaining the bonds we felt to our Irish heritage, three Irish citizens approved each of our applications. So many papers, each in triplicate – one for each daughter – sent away to Tipperary.
In June 2009 we heard that our applications had been received and placed in the queue. The average processing time was 24 months.
 
24 torturous months.
I knew it was only the slightest chance that we would be approved. It was our last ditch effort. We lived in the mindset that we would be New Zealand citizens and New Zealand citizens only for the rest of our lives.
 
24 months is a long time to come to terms with something.
Craig and I made other plans. To stay in New Zealand, perhaps, to move to Australia, perhaps, to move to Canada, perhaps.  Always including the little phrase “but maybe, just maybe, if the Irish thing comes through we can …”
 
Last Friday my Mother was acting squirrelly. Insisting more than usual that she should pick me up from the station.
Of course, I was oblivious, and spoiled all her plans. Instead she broke the news thus:
 
iReland
 
I was floored. I had spent so long preparing myself for the letter saying that I had been declined that the approval caught me off guard. It took the better part of a week for my to wrap my head around the idea. The implications. Changing the plans I had worked SO hard to be okay with.
 
Ireland is part of the EEA. Citizens of countries in the EEA have the right to live and work in the UK as they please*.
 
Becoming an Irish citizen means a formalisation of the ties to my heritage but it also means that Craig and I can move back to London if we so choose.
 
Did you catch that? I know this is long and detailed and, admittedly, rather boring, so let me say it again:
 
Craig and I can move back to London
 
Now we just have to decide if we want to (and I’m pretty sure we do). But there are so many things to take into consideration.
Our jobs, family, money, the olympics (yes, seriously). The fear I have that I will no longer be in love with the city.
 
At the moment we are testing out the idea that we will move to London sometime early next year. We will begin living like paupers and saving every spare cent. Turning this pebble idea around and around in our minds to see if we like it**.
 
But mainly, lastly, most importantly, I am proud to be an (almost) Irish citizen.
 
Everyone Loves an Irish Girl
síorgrhá
 
 
* I’m pretty certain. Only so long as you’re not a drain on the state.
** I think we do.
 

Week Twelve

365 in 2009!

Sunday: Fringe Necklace
Sunday
I made the first prototype fringe necklace and I loveloveloved it.

Monday: latelatelate leaving work
Monday
My first day working two jobs, I was soso busy that I didn’t even leave until 5:40pm and didn’t have time to take a photo any earlier in the day!

Tuesday: Adrian on the Bodhran
Tuesday
St Patrick’s Day. My cousin Adrian playing the Bodhrán. Impressive much?

Wednesday: Light Box!
Wednesday
Another day where I didn’t get to take a photo until the night had most definitely descended. But I did get to use my iphone as a lightbox! Like this.

Thursday: Andrea Moore Jacket and Frankie Magazine
Thursday
I caved and purchased this adorable Andrea Moore jacket (she opened another sale store! right near my work! sigh) and it reminds me of Frankie Magazine. Which I also bought.

Friday: Sky
Friday
Exhausted. Sky. Exhausted.

Saturday: Fake Flowers, Petone
Saturday
Bright bright fake flowers in a storefront, Petone. Spotted while wandering post-brunch.

&

Self Portrait Eleven: Happy St Patrick's Day!

St Patrick’s Day, sans well-wishes.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh

(La ale-lah pwad-rig son-ah jeev)
Happy St Patrick’s Day!

St Patrick’s Day and Christmas are the only festivals that Craig and I actually try and celebrate.

At my work the other day I had a conversation with a coworker that amounted to
CW : Do you have your leave sorted for Easter?
ME : No … when’s easter? I have my leave sorted for the day after St Patrick’s Day
CW : huh. When’s St Patrick’s Day?
Ah priorities.

Anything that advocates drunkeness is alright by me.
Drunken singing of crazy songs is even better.
Today Craig and I are both wearing green and tonight we will join a green sea in our local Irish Pub (Cheapest Guinness in Wellington!).

I mean, tonight we will be watching The Sound of Music and tomorrow we will be donating puppies to blind orphans. yes.

The other day I lost my Claddagh ring and ended up spending the better part of a day looking for it. I was actually quite upset, what with it coming up to St Patrick’s and all.
I’ve worn a claddagh since I was … 11? 10? 8? I must have been younger than 11. My cousin sent it to me when she was living in Ireland. So it really was an Irish Claddagh Ring. What? it was cool when I was in primary school.

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The traditional wedding ring of the Irish since the 17th Century, the Royal Claddagh ring is today worn by people all over the world as a universal symbol of love, loyalty, friendship and fidelity, and of their Irish heritage.

For love, we wear the heart. In friendship, we wear the hands. And, in loyalty and lasting fidelity: we wear the Royal Claddagh crown.

Worn on the right hand, with crown and heart facing out, the ring tells that the wearer’s heart is yet to be won. While under love’s spell it is worn with heart and crown facing inwards. Wearing the ring on the left hand, with the crown and heart facing inwards, signifies that your love has been requited.
from claddagh.com

My first Claddagh I wore so much that by the end it wore through. Split right along the seam where it had been sized and they told me there wasn’t enough silver to repair it. Poor worn out dead ring.
So naturally I went straight out and bought a replacement.
This one didn’t last long enough to wear out. At the time, I was working at a Subway restaurant (oh the shame) and as far as I can tell it ended up in a rubbish bin buried beneath plastic gloves and lettuce remnants. Even I have my limits.
My third Claddagh (and the one I’m wearing now) was bought for me by Craig after the plastic-y death of my previous one, it has a black sapphire heart, apparently to match the cold hard blackness of my own heart. He’s lucky that I love him.

I hope tonight lives up to the hype. I think last year I had to start work at 7am the next morning but this year I planned ahead and I have no work tomorrow. I needn’t get up at all!
Kat is going to come with us tonight, with a view to drinking and meeting some Irish (oirish) boys. I hope she knows that most of the people will be over fifty and that they don’t have eftpos – it’s a hardcore Irish Pub. But the drinking will be done.
Oo that reminds me. I don’t have any cash either. Must remedy that. Don’t forget!

(oh and I found my ring by the way)