Did you know this is Holy Week for Christians? I managed to be oblivious to that fact, despite living in an overwhelmingly Catholic country where they take their holidays seriously. For instance, at Christmas, everything was closed for nearly a week, and god forbid you forgot something and had to run to the grocery store on Christmas day or the day after!
I have been aware that Easter is coming. They also take their chocolate seriously here. With good reason, too. They know their dairy and the chocolate -- ahhhh! There is something about the texture and the taste that takes the yummy, milkiness that Americans know of chocolate and cranks it up to eleven. It's like solid pudding, meltier than American chocolate, and coats the inside of your mouth with sweet silk. And every store has been stacked to the roof with Cadbury since January. No Peeps, no jelly beans, no candy-coated marshmallow eggs. Just Cadbury. Wall-to-wall Cadbury. Yummmmmm!
So, yes, I knew that Easter was coming, eventually, sometime in the future.
We plan to go to the West Country this weekend, because one must. In booking our hotels and trains and such -- trains because we are still keeping the roads of Ireland safe by not driving on them -- we had a difficult time finding a room on Saturday night. "Must be some kind of trad music or arts festival," I said, searching for "Galway festivals" on Google, because there is always something traditional or artsy going on in Galway. I found nothing that would explain the problem. Then, a few days later, filling in upcoming events on the calendar, I noticed "Easter." There was our explanation.
Later, we went down to the liquor store, as one does. They had a sign posted saying that they would be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. A liquor store? In Ireland? Closed? Not to indulge in stereotypes, but this is not exactly a dry country. Every crossroads has at least one pub, and mathematicians have proved that you really cannot walk across Dublin without passing a pub. Seriously, I've gained back the 20 pounds that I lost solely through alcohol consumption (and cheese, I should include cheese; and bread, the bread is phenomenal, too). Apparently, there is a national law here that requires off-licenses from selling liquor on these days.
That strikes me as funny not just because of the predominance of alcohol but also because Easter is one of the Christian holidays that specifically involves the consumption of alcohol. Didn't Jesus turn wine into his blood at the Last Supper? Perhaps they want to ensure that everyone goes to church by making church the only place that you can get a drink? We will be stocking up.
Meanwhile, I'm hoping for good weather. There is nothing like Ireland in the sun. The light glows a little differently here, and the particular bright green color of the grass seems to cast light upward, too. Plus, stormy weather in the west is, so I've heard, quite a hair-raising adventure.