Ryan O'Hern



well, this is me here, in Ghleann Cholm Cille, writing my first email.  It turns out there is this one computer here that i am able to use for brief periods of time.  Dublin was a crazy city.  We spent most of our time walking around here and there, shifting our things from hostel to hostel.  At first it was so strange and uncomfortable being in such a new, loud, and unfamiliar place.  Like all cities, there was a great deal of hussel and bussel all along the main streets and downtown.  Shops of your usual clothing and pharmacy stores, lined the streets.  there were also quite a bit of internet cafes, and some antique shops, and strange corner markets.  The architechure of all the buildings there, quaint and european looking, were the most notable unfamiliar aspect.  So was the traffic;  i still have to stop and watch what other pedestrians are doing in traffic situations;  people in dublin, despite how congested the streets could get, would really zip around.  I thought the coolest parts of Dublin were outside the city center.  there's all sorts of alley ways that i went down, tenement style residential areas.  I would stumble into these apartment buildings that probably housed a ndred or so families, and there's be an open cement lot in the center where all the kids would be playing there little games, or huddled in circles, sitting.  I got my head buzzed at a barber, and have been useing my irish looks as an advantage fitting in here, although i'm sure they could all still tell i'm american.  maybe by my walk or something.  nevertheless i never got jumped, or got any shit from the locals, and i found myself walking in some pretty rundown parts of dublin .  Those were the times when i had the most fun, and learned the most about the city; when i was on my own just makeing my way around corners and alleys, not heading anywhere in particular.  Another grand time was on friday afternoon, me and derek stumbled into a city park just north of where our hostel was for that night.  there were many kids playing all through, and the first basketball court i'd seen there.  i wanted to play, so we went up to this black kid to play 21 with him, and then everyone on the court came over to us and we organized into a 5 on 5 game.  our team got smoked by a team of irish kids who were being jerks, but then we mixed up the teams, did a zone defense, and got them back real good.  that was fun.  I'll write more about dublin later, for now, i should wrap this up because someone else is waiting.  As far as the glenn goes, this big valley, it's amazeing.  we've gone on some walks into the hills that have been incredible, really cold with wind that was thrashing us around, and high cliffs that i looked down hundreds of feet into the crashing water below.  it's chilly, and sometimes rainy, but also beautiful.  i love you all, and will write more soon., love ryan

Sent: 04/27/2004

dear loved ones.  today is tuesday, two weeks from the day i left chicago.  my health is still well, my spirits too.  Our schedule leaves little room for feeling to bad about things, even so, i have heard from some people that they are homesick.  that comes with the territory of being far away, buti have mainly just been trying to do what i can to get a feel for this place.  This past sunday a group of 10 of us went on a walk up the cliffs through a very untouched valley, and near the ocean.  we saw a place where the farmers and families would come to practice mass in secret during the days of the penal laws when catholics were persecuted.  we saw old old stone cottages that have been standing for centuries.  we saw lot's of heather, which is all over the hills here, and i saw my first raven, but it flew away before i could take its picture.  we eneded up in a place called port, the 10 of us, which consists of a couple of houses and an inlet for fishiong boats.  the fishing stories in these parts are incredible, the people have lived off the water for so long.  An old style (sean-nos) singer lady came and sang to us and told us stories, and i have been entranced by all the stories.  Thinking about what it would be like to know the waves so well, and be out with your son on a small boat amidst all that ferociousness.  |Many songs are about people drowning.  There's a saying that the sea takes whats hers, and so if someone falls out they won't try to save you, because if they do, they think the sea will try to reclaim the life you took from it by either takeing yours or someone dear to you at a later point.  I have been wanting to camp near the bezch one of these nights, and i think i will.  slan agus slainte sibh, le croi mhor maith, Riain