Irish You Were Here

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“Legally” I was supposed to leave Ireland after just two weeks, but after a dozen days in Dublin I wasn’t going to leave after my first day in glorious little Galway. Overall I ended up spending nearly a month on the Emerald Isle, and yesterday I made it to Edinburgh, Scotland without any immigration problems overstaying my two-week limit in Ireland. My laptop was in the shop for a week, and I was working like a madman in Galway, so I’m now backdating on my travel updates.

After a few weeks of fruitlessly searching for buskers in non-English areas, Dublin was a relief as my jokes in English were once again met with laughs instead of silence. However, the hustle-and-bustle of the fast-paced shoppers on Grafton street quickly wore away on my nerves. After nearly a month of only spending it was nice to be making money once more, but Dublin wasn’t really my scene.

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What drew me to Ireland in the first place was the World Street Performing Championship, now called the Laya Healthcare City Spectacular. When I looked up street performing festivals for the summer it was one of the few where I knew for certain I’d find performers. I was not disappointed, and saw several big name festival acts I’d heard about several times before. After the fest I took a bus across Ireland to the West coast to check out the Galway International Arts Fest.

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Galway was truly grand. I only saw a small slice of it, but the arts are thriving and the resting heart rate of its inhabitants seems to be much slower than those in Dublin. For being such a small neighborhood, the Spanish Arch and the Quay street area has a surprising amount of book stores, music stores, pubs, and costume shops, signifying that the people of Galway have their priorities straight. Music comes from every other pub, some of it traditional Irish music complete with dancers.
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Performing in Galway, I found myself on the other side of a problem us New Orleanian buskers face during Mardi Gras — out of town performers coming in during peak season and taking up the busking spots from the year-round locals. I knew first hand how annoying that could be, so when a local was queued up behind me I did my best to keep my shows short to make room for the locals that worked Galway year round. Overall it was a fantastic experience both as a tourist and as a working performer. As of now Ireland has been my favorite country — the weather and glowing-green reminds me of my home in the Pacific Northwest, and the Irish are a warm and inviting people. I met some awesome people, padded my travel funds, and saw some of the natural beauty in Ireland.

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After only two months of travel, I can already feel myself growing bolder. Magic is responsible for so much of my personal growth — it has been the water that allowed me to socially sprout out of my shy shell. Before pushing my comfort zone with magic I was the guy that would sit in a college class and not meet a single person throughout the entire semester. Now, in places completely unfamiliar I have no problem making eye contact, sharing a smile with, and immediately approaching a stranger or group of strangers and engaging them in conversation. This is a level of comfort I once only dreamt of.

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I’ve also learned a lot about traveling. One of the most important things to bring in your bag is nothing — empty space; don’t fill your bag unless you’re certain the familiar crap you bring from home is more important than the endless possibilities of what you might find along the way. As a solo-traveler I’m biased, but I think this theory may apply to the people you bring along with you as well. Though the road is lonely at times, I know there’s a high possibility I wouldn’t have met the people I did if I’d brought company along with me. It’s been great to team up with other travelers along the way, but as of now I”m convinced solo-travel is the way to go. However, I’m open to the possibility that one day I’ll meet some wanders that may change my mind.

That’s all for now, I’ll try to stay up to date for the rest of the trip. I’m in Edinburgh for the next three weeks for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of the largest shows on Earth. Stay tuned for more adventure!

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