This Tuesday Wall Street Journal crossword was annoying. Like a dull pain. One that lasted for 13:23. I didn’t like that an answer in the crossword puzzle was CROSSWORDPUZZLE. It’s not meta. Just a bummer.
But I learned something new today: Erin go Bragh. I hadn’t heard that phrase before. Exactly a year ago I was flying back from Northern Ireland. I had gone to Derry/Londonderry to fulfill a college dream of going to watch Derry City FC. The game lived up to everything I’d hoped it would be. But the Free Derry/Republican side of the city is mad sketch. Really, really sketchy. I had thought that the IRA and RYSM tagging were preserved bits of how things used to be. A nod to the history of violence that resulted in peace that’s been undisturbed for my whole life. I know what you’re thinking: Somebody doesn’t read before he goes on trips. Of course, broken glass and graffiti CAN be found anywhere, but I didn’t expect the swastikas. Those made me very unhappy. The Londonderry/Unionist side of the city was clean and bright. My walk of The Walls drove something else home: Looking into the Republican side, there were signs the sentiment of “no matter how many of us they (the British) kill, we will never give up the fight for a unified Ireland!” and signs on the Unionist side with a similar but opposite sentiment of “no matter how many of us they (the Irish Republicans) kill, we will never give up the fight for our own sovereignty!” I was lucky to be able to walk around unencumbered through Derry/Londonderry on that day because nightfall brought torrential rain. Walking from where I was staying to the bus depot made for a soggy ride to Belfast.