What’s the craic?
The best thing about this word is it’s spelling versus it’s actual English pronunciation: crack. This is why there’s a disclaimer at the bottom of the primary Urban Dictionary entry: “Note: Very tricky to get away with saying this in the US without getting strange looks [from] police officers.”
Craic is a term used in Ireland to describe everything from a great party to good conversation. We have several students in Ireland now and at least one has made a reference to the word in her blog. It is sprinkled throughout literature and used heavily in travel guides. It is one of the true words that say many things at the same time, without trying.
As you know, I’m off to Ireland in just two weeks. I’ll be headquarted in Dublin for my conference – The Forum on Education Abroad: “Reinventing the European Experience: Culture, Politics and Diversity in U.S. Education Abroad,” held at University College Dublin. Taking the opportunity to do some site visits with our international partners and (hopefully) see some of our students, the majority of my time in Ireland will be in the capital.
Of course it didn’t take long for the traveler in me to kick into high gear and demand exploration of further reaches of the island. Ireland itself is quite manageable, thanks to a public transportation system easily linking Dublin to other cities. With my work week bracketed by two weekends, I hope to take advantage of both north, and west coasts.
BELFAST, United Kingdom
Navigating to Northern Ireland appears easy, with buses and trains from the city. I hope to spend my first weekend in the city of Belfast, although it will be a short one. I have been reading endlessly about the Troubles, from the late 1960’s to the mid 1990’s, an intense political time in recent history. The challenge will be finding a nonpartisan view of said events between Catholics and Protestants. Fingers crossed a recommended local guide is available for a tour and some storytelling.
Points west lead to one of Ireland’s most massive tourist attractions: the Cliffs of Moher. When my last group of students was preparing to leave for Ireland, I saw so many photos of this stunning vista that I quickly found myself wanting to see it with my own eyes. The city of Galway is the largest in the West at a population of 72,000+, and is home to University College Galway, where it’s said a fair share of students are pursuing studies in the Irish language.
While I will be skipping the Blarney stone and the outlying Aran Islands, I hope slide around the tourists to get a glimpse of true Ireland: craic, rain and all.