Thursday, December 19, 2013

TWO OMANIS IN: the village of Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Waking up in the village of Doolin in County Clare was the most authentically Irish thing we could have done on our holiday. My husband said, to him, there was just something about the village itself, and the people. "I don't think they've had an easy life. It shows, in their closeness, how the locals are together." We stayed here three days.
 
We didn't do much. We just lived.
 
We stayed at a cosy little bed and breakfast http://www.doonmacfelim.com/ which I highly recommend. We were cold, the skies were white with mist and rain, but our room had a heater and warm quilts. I could snuggle in the bed with a warm cup of coffee, staring out the lace curtains, to the most lovely sight. Across from us were pastures, with grey horses on the hills.
A full Irish breakfast or your choice of smoked salmon made us brave enough to visit the village on foot. Wandering over a stone bridge over a gushing brook you will find the village, with the bright pink thatched cottage of a sweater shop, between a tea room and fudge store with marshmellow mishakeek, and Irish music coming from Gus O' Connor's pub. Or your could walk farther on to the docks, with the Cliffs of Moher in the distance, and tourists excited for cruises there, or to the Aran Islands.

The atmosphere in this village is rich. It needs no tourist trappings. If we could go back tomorrow, my husband and I, we would. I think he'd be quite content to live here, were I content to leave Oman. I don't know. My grandmother, an O'Conner herself, came from the Aran Islands, near to here, we always figured, but she never longed to go back. Life was hard in the 40s.

It made me smile, at the ferry docks, to be so close, and yet so far from where my ancestors (at least on one side) had come from. And to know, that in abaya and hijab, not a single other human being would have guessed it;)...

Maybe just that old man playing the bodhran who let me in...who could see that the old music always makes my blood jump.

...I always try to stop listening to music, and I am mostly sucessful, for as a Muslim, I find it a doubtful matter and try my best to avoid it. But Irish music always tempts me...

I start with the bodhran, similar and halal as an Arabic duff... but somewhere in the middle of a ballad, a fiddle or tin whistle always sweeps me away... and it is minutes before I have to fight my feet not to be tapping, or any other more immodest or wild gesture my history would expose my horrified Omani husband to;).

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