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stole a pig and away he ran

Late yesterday afternoon, somewhat frazzled after getting a phone call from my editor asking me to totally rewrite an article to make its subjects sound "less worthy", I went for a walk in the park. It was gorgeous summer evening, even though it's technically the second month of Autumn (yeah, we Irish and our crazy seasons), and the park was looking particularly gorgeous. I love the park - it's part of what used to be the grounds of an 18th century house, and it was landscaped in a way that would delight Marianne Dashwood - all rolling hills and winding paths and copses of ancient oaks. And in the early evening, when the sun comes in and hits the hills and bathes everything in a gentle golden light, it's the loveliest place in the city. So I was heading off in my usual route - round by the Big House, through the little copse with the horizontal trees that just beg to be climbed on, around the big field and up through another little wood. And when I was on the latter stretch, I heard a strange sound.

Someone was playing the bagpipes.

I looked through the trees onto the lower field where the picnic tables are, and there he was, a youngish man in ordinary summer casual wear, playing the bagpipes. Not the uileann pipes. The big old bagpipes. And what was strangest of all, it sounded absolutely enchanting. I've only ever heard bagpipes playing whiney military anthem-style music, but this bloke was playing the most beautiful traditional Irish stuff, and if you can think of any more suitable music to hear when tramping through a sun-dappled path surrounded by 200 year old trees, I can't imagine what it is. It was just amazing. And you could hear him all over the park, and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. There was no laughing, or eye-rolling - the music was so nice that even the usual tracksuited teenagers who turn up in the park and pretend they're not all posh private-schoolkids weren't hanging around laughing at him. I heard a little kid ask its mother what the "nice sound" was. I don't know who this mysterious piper was, but I hope he comes back.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
microgirl
Sep. 3rd, 2005 12:38 pm (UTC)
Via friendsfriends
What park? Not Iveagh Gardens, I think.
stellanova
Sep. 3rd, 2005 01:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Via friendsfriends
Heh, no, Cabinteely Park out by Cornelscourt. My only local parks for most of my life were Elmfield Park in Whitehall and Griffith Park in Drumcondra, so all these fancy rolling fields are still something of a novelty.
microgirl
Sep. 3rd, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Via friendsfriends
Never been out there. It sounds absolutely gorgeous! The park of my life is St Anne's in Clontarf :)
stellanova
Sep. 3rd, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Via friendsfriends
St Anne's was always familiar too, because it was near the Grove, weekly haunt of my youth! And at least it's kind of large and expansive. But I'm from Gracepark Heights, between Collins Avenue and Griffith Avenue, and lived further down in Drumcondra and Marino after I moved out, so it was too far away to ever casually stroll around in - our local parks were just flat boring fields with a few bushes here and there. And any bagpiper would probably get beaten up by kids who were not pretending to be tough like the kids round here.
theodicy
Sep. 3rd, 2005 08:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you, thank you so much for this. I needed to read it.
yiskah
Sep. 5th, 2005 10:02 am (UTC)
Such a lovely post. There was a bagpiper who used to practice in the park opposite my school (where I boarded) every evening, and I always associate the sound with calm, misty evenings.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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