After the symposium on (Post)Imperial Cultures, Ciara and I thumb our noses at the neoliberalization of the university and concoct an adventure over bananas and ginger beer. Ciara is gentle laughter, long russet hair, green and cream wools. The next day we take the Princess Corrib from Woodquay, up the river toward the lough. Inside the Princess is all dark wood and red upholstery, and suits Ciara; she might have lived on it all her life.
We nibble on custard creams and sip Tia Maria-spiked instant coffee through thick heads of whipped cream, while a pre-recorded voice tells stories which teem with people whose surnames beam from the shopfronts in the city centre, the Burgoses and O'Flahertys and so forth, stories of revenge and ghosts and skipped taxes, attached to ruined towers, brambly fields high with sedgewood, ring forts where only grey ponies dare nibble.
A bonfire burns under a waning moon, surrounded by an enchanted circle: myself, Jorge, his friend Tyler, and Tyler's family from Virginia. From lip to lip, a bottle of good French wine passes as marshmallows crisp black at the end of a spear, then ooze between gold-grain biscuits and Lindt milk chocolate. Stirring the embers to renew the fire's spirit, we shiver with our backs to the wind, to bird cries, to the sparse house-lights of the Burren, glimmering lowly constellation across the bay.