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Meeting Kim

Cosmic background

To Nijmegen

To get out of town

June 2003, Republic of Ireland —

I'd been living in Kilkenny for about two years and was cracking up to get out of town for a few days. I headed west on Bue Éireann without a plan.

I had a destination goal, but it wasn't a firm target, and I haven't been there yet.I was going to go to Staigue Fort on the "Ring of Kerry" peninsula, but my path diverted.

I got a bus to Killarney. In Killarney off the bus, I met a lad from Wicklow. Eoin was just on a bit of a nondescript journey as well — I think he had freshly graduated university. Anyhow, we agreed we'd go for a pint after checking in to the nearby hostel.

The woman at the desk said that there would be no places to sleep anywhere in town the following night, a Friday and the date of a large sold-out musical event.

Eoin and I spent the evening visiting different pubs until closing time. We probably traded rounds in six or seven establishments — proper tourists.

We talked about the weekend. Eoin had a tent and wanted to see the show that following evening. I had to move on, somewhere. Eoin said he'd been thinking of going a bit north and returning the next day. He suggested we go have a pint in Tralee.

For me — having no plan — Tralee was as good as any place.

Tralee is a different kind of place — not Killarney (which is outstandingly friendly, surprisingly genuine although a major locus for tourism.)

Tralee is rough. It's not a pretty place. No matter the "Rose of Tralee" beauty contest heritage — no matter the rose garden. Tralee is rough. I don't know if it's violent-rough. It's just got a rough characteristic to it. Its features, its feel, have no particular grace. Just my impression. it's a working town.

Anyhow, Eoin and I struggled with a few uncomfortable pubs before we found one to stay in for a while. It was a doozy, too.