Well, the bailout of AIB is definitely the topic du jour on the minds of everyone in Ireland, so I'm going to co-opt this travel blog with my thoughts on the economic crisis. Since it will definitely define much of my working life (only the rosiest coloured lenses could pretend otherwise).
Anyways, some frivolities to start with. From Cork, we took a bus to Killarney and had another fab time eating, shopping and visiting OPW sites. Killarney is the gateway to Killarney National Park, and has been a tourist destination for quite a while. Most of the land in the park was bought up for development by a group of US businessmen, but when it came down to actually developing the land, one of the men had a change of heart: he bought out the other two investors and donated it to the OPW. As such, Killarney National Park contains no less than 3 OPW sites. We toured Ross Castle (did you know that people used to store their clothes above the loo so that the wafting ammonia could disinfect their clothes and kill all the bugs?), Muckross house (we saw the chambers where Queen Victoria stayed), and Muckross traditional farms (complete with peat fires burning in the small stone farmhouses). To get around the park, we rented bikes from one of the many O'Sullivans (O'Sullivans seem to run much of Killarney, and besides renting bikes, we would recommend you try the O'Sullivan's Deli if you happen to be in the hood.)
The weather held out for the most part until our train trip back. But what could be cosier than a 4 hour train ride with the rain pelting down outside? And sadly enough, the day after getting back to Maynooth, Jet-set-Claire flew off to spend a few days with friends in London (...and to participate in a training workshop/conference for her job...).
The transition between topics comes with a reference to the book, Generation X, which Claire borrowed from the library and read during her visit. In general, she found it all too negative and depressing. I've picked it up in her absence for a re-read, and find it all too pertinent and timely. The young student, living with us now, doesn't have a hope in hell of being able to find a job that actually can use his double major of English and History. He will certainly be stuck in the realms of a "McJob" for at least a few years post graduation.
And this problem doesn't just apply to Ireland (though perhaps the Irish are the best at admitting to the financial woes, as they have already been here many times throughout their history), for the Macleans magazine that landed through my letter slot two weeks ago boasted the cover story of "Third World America". While Canadians may sit smugly in their still highly over inflated (price-wise) homes, and our banks have yet to be nationalized in a way that is clearly becoming a worldwide trend (c'mon Canada, if everyone else is doing it, why can't we?) we shouldn't forget if the elephant next door sneezes we're still bound to catch a cold.
The latest (and continuing) bail out of the Anglo Irish Bank has roused a fervor over here, as it is going to require higher taxes, pay cuts and a dip into the welfare fund to sort this all out. But really, unless you can find a time machine to start your protests circa the year 2000, you can smash all the cement trucks in the world into the Dail (Parliament) and it will hardly make a difference, as there is NO GOOD SOLUTION. As upsetting as this all is... I have brainstormed a means of self expression and activism that will at least appease my restless soul (and it may even help out in a small way).
However, this blog post has grown long enough, and an explaination of my grassroots functional protest would make this blog far too long. So for now I leave you with a picture of Claire Brad and Nikolai cycling to Muckcross house.