Wet. Gray. Soggy. I’m not describing the bread. We’ll get to that.
I recently spent a week on a road trip in Ireland, beginning with our arrival off the sea-ferry to the southern port town of Rosslare.
When I say ‘town’, let me be clear. I really am not aiming to be disparaging. There just wasn’t much to call this a ‘town’.
There was the sea. And the ferries. And the road. And a string of nondescript B&Bs that line the main road into and out of town.
And there was gray.
Rosslare seemed wrapped in this impenetrable gray that had replaced any semblance of Earth’s vaulting atmosphere with “a feeling of being wrapped in dripping cotton wool through which you would never find your way out again.” (I tried to say it in fewer words and honestly, I couldn’t.) I am as inspired as any over-eager American when they find themselves in a country they have never been to. I want to like it. I want to be enchanted as only Americans can be by every nuance of how life is lived outside of North America, with our endless stretches of new subdivisions and eminently practical, lookalike housing where every third unit is built on the same design. And I did enjoy this trip to Ireland; there are volumes to say about the lifestyle and the people and the villages that are both incredibly modern (the feeling of being much more integrated with Europe than Britain is surrounds you in Ireland) while still hosting vistas and villages that look straight out of some distance past. Rosslare, however, was one of the few places I felt with immediate certainty that I could never live; even spending more than one night would be asking a lot. The wind blew and the gray settled on your shoulders and you had the feeling the sun would never return. In my geekier moments, I would liken it to New Caprica, but you have to be a Giant Nerd to appreciate the reference, and that would be a different sort of article altogether.
What can penetrate a gloom as thorough as this? Bread. Homemade Irish bread, cooking to a golden brown in the oven. I promised we’d get to it, and honestly, it doesn’t disappoint.