It’s evening. Around 8 pm. The sun still hasn’t set. Aleah and I are sitting in the living room of our next Couchsurfing host, Ciaran (pronounced “Kee—rahn), with his roommates Ronan and Conor and his friends Kieran and O’Shane. There’s a huge music festival—Live at the Marquee—going on outside Ciaran’s house not more than a half-mile (or however many meters that is to them) from his doorstep.
“‘Ey shall we have a listen to the music, then?” asks Ronan, setting down his Heineken and looking around the room.
“Ay,” “Ay,” we hear. Apparently, the big act that night was Z-Z-Top—but clearly, the boys (or “the lads,” as they call themselves) were not going to pay for the full-price ticket. These guys are working class and constantly talk about how much they hate their jobs. But after eavesdropping on several Irish conversations unintentionally (they sometimes talk quite loudly…) I’ve found that, as Ciaran likes to put it, “we’re complainin’ about everythin’ and doin’ notin’ about it.” Fun Fact: The Irish also, I’ve found, pronounce “th” as “t.”
Anyways, now it’s about 9 o’clock. The sun is still in the sky. We all walk down the hill Ciaran’s house is on, talking about nothing, laughing a ton, and Aleah and I find ourselves with the group on a dirt path that loops around the concert venue. It turns out there’s a bunch of other people back there as well. (One very drunk Irishman walked up to our group with a beer in hand, asking, “Wanna fight me? Eh?” We politely declined.)
We just stood there listening to the music for about 15 minutes because we couldn’t see anything, and Ciaran suggested that we “take a lap” around the venue and head back home. We started meandering along the path and ended up drifting towards the river that runs in front of the festival. We all stopped at the railing that lines the river’s edges and sat or stood—without really acknowledging we had. It was unspoken yet understood that we’d sit there and watch the sun set. We kept talking about nothing and everything (Bruce Springsteen was a topic of conversation at some point), and then it happened. The sun began to set. It was 10 pm. It turned the sky and the river a soft pink, and everyone was suddenly quiet. All their heads were turned towards the most beautiful show that no one needs a ticket to see.
If there’s one thing that can said for the Irish, it’s that they appreciate the beauty of their country. But really, can you blame them?