Dublin Weather, Cathedrals and Illnesses

What a week here in Dublin. The week started out pretty normal, but then Baby got sick with a bad throat, viral infection a couple days ago. She’s been very volatile and clingy to mom, such that Mom can’t basically do anything but nurse the baby all day. She also screams and cries like we’ve never seen her do before. Last night at 2am when she wouldn’t sleep at all that night, we went to the emergency room of Children’s Hospital on Dublin’s Temple Street (highly recommended by a few folks we know here), and they were very good to Baby, and confirmed that her throat was very red, but thankfully no ear infection or anything else of concern.

Today she was still extremely clingy and volatile, but we think her fever (averaging around 100°F) finally broke around dinner time. She’s sleeping more peacefully tonight with Mommy, and since neither got any sleep last night, this is a good thing. I’m about to do the same as I am also very sleep-deprived right now over the last couple of days.

The other thing of note is the weather in Dublin. I can’t tell you how many people in Dublin have joked about the weather to me. It’s the single most popular inside joke in all of Ireland. That’s because the weather in Dublin is really interesting. For the most part, it’s cloudy most of the year, and rains a lot.* When we first arrived in Dublin, it was about 65°F (18°C), which was very surprising and a bit of a let-down since we just left 85°F (29-30°C) weather in Seattle and Chicago.

People told me here that it does get sunny and summery, but usually doesn’t last more than a day before the sea mists roll in and it gets cloudy again. Turns out that is true. Wednesday was a very, very pleasant day with sun and a light breeze, but today was cloudy and raining a little.**

Otherwise, I have been swamped with trying to get settled. I still haven’t setup a bank account here in Ireland, as it turns out the banking system is a little more bureaucratic than what I’m familiar with, and I have been house-hunting. We’ve narrowed down a more permanent place to live, but tomorrow and such we’ll be hammering the last minute details. I’ve been told here many times that it’s very much a buyer’s market now that Ireland’s economy is cooling down and inflated housing prices are finally dropping.

Where I currently live is about two blocks away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral***, but I also live right next to a Carmelite Catholic Church that was established in 1274! Having lived in Seattle where nothing is older than 1850, this is interesting. However, the area overall isn’t all that nice, and is kind of run-down. I like the old-world character, but it’s not a good place to raise Baby, so we’ve been looking further outside the city where we’ve seen some very good places to live.

Speaking of religion, I couple times now I’ve had interesting reactions to my family being Buddhist. At the reception desk of the emergency room, the receptionist asked what religion, if any, that Baby was identified as and I replied “she’s a Buddhist”. He looked confused, but I don’t think in a rude or mean way; I just think he doesn’t get that reply often. Also, while house-hunting, the question of whether we wanted to live near a church of our faith came up, and I mentioned that I am Buddhist, but Buddhist temples of our denomination (Pure Land) aren’t really found in Ireland, so we’re not worried about it. Again, the person was surprised, but not rude about it at all. It’s not a big surprise, but it confirms my understanding that religious Buddhists (i.e. not just the folks who meditate or “follow the philosophy”) are not very common outside of ethnic immigrant communities here. Arguably, they aren’t really common at all in the US either, except for the West Coast.

It will be interesting to meet some Irish Buddhists if my life ever settles down long enough.

So that’s all for now!


P.S. Irish (gaelic) lesson for the day: Many words in Gaelic are pronounced very similar to words in English, though the spelling is entirely different. For example the word “service” is written as serbheis. Remember that “bh” is often times a “v” sound, and you’ll see how it works. It also helps to remember that “mh” is often like a “w”, while “dh”, “gh” and such are silient and not pronounced. For example, the place name Dún Laoghaire, which I visited for house hunting earlier today. The “gh” there is silent, while the “ao” sound is like an “ee” sound. Knowing this, the correct pronounciation “leery” makes more sense.

* – I’ve heard that it rains more than Seattle, which I can believe, though it’s a very light, steady rain from what I’ve seen.

** – Dublin slang: people call it “spitting” here when it’s a very light rain that comes and goes.

*** – Like other major cathedrals in Dublin, it was taken over by the Church of England (the Anglicans) during British occupation, and is now part of the Church of Ireland, whose parent church is still the Anglicans. Odd piece of trivia: a disproportionate number of Dublin’s famous writers were members of the Church of Ireland.

About Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

4 thoughts on “Dublin Weather, Cathedrals and Illnesses

  1. I do hope Baby gets to feeling better. I remember when my kids were that age. It’s so hard when they feel like that and there’s not much you can do to comfort them. It’s kind of a helpless feeling. But she’ll get to feeling better soon. And it’ll help when she feels more settled in. As for the confused reactions to being Buddhist, I’ve had a lot of that here in the states. I am also in the military and had to spell out the word Buddhist a few times for them to get it on my dog tags. I was even laughed at once on a deployment when asked what my religion was. It wasn’t meant intentional, he just really thought I was joking because he had never known anyone who was Buddhist. He did apologize and I told him not to worry about it, it must sound strange for someone from Kansas.

  2. Thanks Michael,

    Yeah, it’s been a helpless feeling and extremely frustrating at times. I feel especially bad for Mommy who had to be with her a lot more. Today she woke up a lot more cheerful than in recent days, so I am happy to see she’s quickly bouncing back. She ate and drank a lot more than yesterday.

    I didn’t know you were in the military (and Buddhist). That’s very interesting. I can understand the confusion from the Kansas guy about you being Buddhist and in the military. There’s an implicit assumption that the military is a Christian culture, but I think this is changing more and more. Of course, the Japanese-Americans who fought on the American side in WWII were by and large Pure Land Buddhists, but that’s assumed to be an ethnic thing only. I suppose we’re showing that Buddhism is available to a much wider audience than the immigrant populations and the dilettantes.

  3. I’m glad to hear she’s doing better today. The military does seem mostly Christian. I remember when I first got in and felt uncomfortable at times that I was made to pray with a few different Sgts. The first Sgt that did this also asked us if we believed in God, if we had been saved and other similar questions. I felt like I was put on the spot. Now, they can say what they want. I am not at all uncomfortable with saying I’m Buddhist. I think things are changing. The Navy has a Buddhist chaplain now and the Army has a Buddhist Chaplain candidate. When I was in Baghdad, there was a SGI group that met once a week.

  4. I am sure part of it is baby is adjusting to the travel and time differences. Baby will get back to normal soon.

    I can see how they would be surprised to here you are buddhist. I am sure they assume everyone to be protestant or catholic.

    Good luck on the house hunting.

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