Dublin city freezes. Not like Vancouver cold.
But green cold, damp cold that penetrates my bones
in the hours before dawn.
A group of strangers wait, star clusters of three or four
that form a galaxy of fifty or more. Later they will talk and smile
and by lunchtime they will be friends.
I gather them, bleary eyed, smiling
in the harshness of early morning and I shepherd them to my bus.
Today’s adventure? The cliffs of Moher.
I introduce myself, keep it light and friendly as I talk my way out of the city.
Past Christchurch, the hay market and the brewery. Guinness,
an Irish institution. St Patrick and St Arthur, ha ha ha.
I let them sleep on the road from the city limits to the first stop. Mountrath.
Tours run on tea and pee. Stops timed to be kind to bellies and kidneys.
I answer questions as I announce a twenty minutes stop.
Rolling again past Moneygall, tell them all about Obama Plaza,
He’s Irish don’t you know, white as snow under that tan.
That gets a laugh and then I tell them about Sarsfield,
The wild geese, fleeing to the vineyards of France.
Next stop the treaty stone and the castle. Then.
The last stretch of the outward spin is through Co Clare,
Poor and barren but beautiful. I talk about the famine,
the cries of hunger, mounded graves in Ennistymon, Coffin ships in Lahinch.
The Aleen wave and the surfers get us to the cliffs.
The Cliffs are beautiful. I allow two hours here to enjoy the views and the air, to take photos of the peregrines and the hares that fly and graze above the haze of sea. Fog ruins this stop and I will cut it short if visibility is poor.
This is what I do. Different trips on different days.
The Cliffs, The Causeway. Connemara and Blarney.
It’s different every day. Strangers at dawn and friends on the yawning return to Dublin.
I laugh and I smile all day, I tell them about our verdant country.
And when I am done I return happy to my own family.
– Dave Kavanagh