Month: May 2014

Irish slang and a few local shots

25 May 2014

I remember having a conversation a few months back with my friend and colleague Kendal Peiguss where she asked me something along the lines of, “Miles you gotta tell me what it’s like to talk with the locals in Ireland!!!” (Extra exclamation points are an effort to capture her seemingly never-ending energy and enthusiasm).

Now that I’ve been in Galway a few months I can say for the most part there has been a minimal communication barrier (save for a few local cabbies whose accents are so thick I just laugh every few minutes to provide positive feedback on their bits). However there are definite differences in what I would call the local slang. Maybe not “by the book” perfect English, but commonly used phrases that are unique compared to what you would hear walking the streets back home in the US. Realizing today is my 10-week anniversary of moving to Galway I’ve put together a list of the top 10 commonly used phrases I’ve heard so far in my time across the pond:

1) What’s the craic? Most common and iconic local Irish saying, meaning “What’s up” or “What’s going on?”

2) How ya keepin? Commonly used to start a conversation, meaning “How are you?” or “How have you been?”

3) Ey lads how ya gettin on? Similar to above, when referring to a group of gentlemen.

4) Happy days! No real direct translation to American slang. Generally used to mean your enthusiasm that something works great for you. Eg: “I have an extra ticket to the concert tonight for you. Oh, happy days!”

5) Brilliant, Grand, Class – Replacing terms like ‘awesome’ ‘sweet’ or ‘cool.’

6) Bullocks, Rubbish, Shite. Common phrases when describing something you don’t like.

7) Ya’right? For the bartenders out there, meaning, “Are you all set?” or “What can I get you?” when ordering at the pub.

8) Does that suit? I see this a lot in emails. Meaning “Does that work for you?” when scheduling a call or meeting.

9) H’ya! Used mostly for quick exchanges when passing by someone.

10) (and technically 11 but that would’ve screwed up the Top 10 theme) A tenner = $10 bucks, and No panic = no worries.

So there you have it. A crash course in Irish slang. Thanks again to Kendal for the inspiration. Hopefully you will get over to the new Galway office this summer to experience first hand the local culture!

And keeping with the anniversary theme, here are 10 shots I’ve recently taken around town. Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend back in the US. #forever1066 #resteasyBT

Sunset outside my front door last week

Sunset outside my front door last week

 

Galway street art.

Galway street art.

a life lesson that makes you think a little bit.

a life lesson that makes you think a little bit.

Inspirational.

Inspirational.

follow the signs to Sheridan's.

follow the signs to Sheridan’s.

good chance these show up at a future Fitz family Christmas..

good chance these show up at a future Fitz family Christmas..

 

will never tire of the views down at the Spanish Arch.

will never tire of the views down at the Spanish Arch.

can't beat the Irish outlook on life.

can’t beat the Irish outlook on life.

This one's for you Mike McD. A quiet night outside the Galway Fire Dept.

This one’s for you Mike McD. A quiet night outside the Galway Fire Dept.

exploring the streets of Salthill.

exploring the streets of Salthill.

P.S. – late breaking news right before I was about to post this tonight – the Kanye and Kim honeymoon is taking place in Cork?????? Take that as a sign the apocalypse is upon us.  http://www.independent.ie/woman/celeb-news/exclusive-kim-kardashian-and-kanye-west-jet-into-ireland-for-their-honeymoon-30303520.html

-MLK

 

 

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Your Weekly Irish Culture Fix

Greetings friends,

In the latest installment of mlkinire.com I’ve curated a roundup of all the latest news from IRE that’s fit to print. Ok maybe not, but the following four stories entertained me this past week so I wanted to pass along. I trust these will give you the Irish culture fix you are seeking on this beautiful Sunday. I hope you are all healthy and well in the world today.

The Donald in IRE

The Donald in IRE

First up we have news of The Donald coming to town! That’s right, notorious American billionaire Donald Trump was just south of Galway this week in Co Clare (still can’t believe I didn’t get a call or text). The Donald has apparently given up chasing down Presidential birth certificates and is back to his real estate mogul ways. Scooping up the Doonbeg course for $15M Euro he is pledging to invest 3X as much in the coming years to make it an iconic golf destination. Welcome to IRE, Donald!

The Donald Comes To Town

Next we have a video from budding local politician Seamus Sheridan – I loved his pitch on his interests in Galway and what makes this town unique. Galway City Council elections will be held this Friday May 23rd. Best of luck, Seamus!

 

Here is a fascinating story about the late Jackie Kennedy and her longtime pen pal relationship with a Dublin priest. She apparently met Fr Leonard in Ireland while traveling around Europe in 1950 and kept a correspondence that would last until he past away 14 years later. The former famous First Lady was known to keep a very private life, and these letters which are set to auction next month for at least $1M will provide an inside look into her life and marriage with JFK.

JackieO in Dublin

Jackie Kennedy’s Personal Letters to Dublin

And for your laugh out loud moment of the weekend, here is an article about the reasons Irish people are hopeless at dating. I will hold my opinions until I’ve had a bit more time in this beloved country.

Irish People Bad at Dating

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Have a great week everyone.

MLK

 

P.S – for those interested, currently spinning on repeat @ mlkinireHQ:

and

 

Letter to a College Graduate

I’ve been thinking about a FitzPatrick recently. No not one of the countless who are now my new closest friends and neighbors in the west of Ireland. I’ve been thinking about a Fitz who is 5,000 miles from Galway in sunny Los Angeles. My cousin Dan FitzPatrick is set to graduate from UCLA next month. I couldn’t be happier or prouder of him and can’t wait to see what he does next in his life. Aside from being extremely jealous of his role acting as the unofficial mayor of Westwood for the past four years, Dan was also an integral member of the men’s hoops team, rising through the ranks most recently this year as the head manager for the Sweet 16 Bruins. I’m hoping the connections he’s been making since landing in LA will lead to us having courtside seats next to Billy Crystal and Rihanna at the future Oprah-owned Clippers in the next few years.

Without being there to celebrate I thought I would do something a little different for a graduation present. As someone who wasn’t that long ago in your similar shoes (granted I haven’t been able to rock the sock-less boat shoe look that you seem to have perfected) I thought I would jot down some advice for your first few years outside of school. It was seven years ago this month that I was sitting around my shoebox sized apartment in Boston’s Beacon Hill, not having a clue as to what my next chapter in life would look like. Most of this advice I learned the good old-fashioned hard way. By no means do I claim to be a career expert, however as someone who somehow managed to flip a Political Science degree into running Europe for a high growth software company I wanted to offer anything I can to help the transition out of the college bubble into the real world. The old saying of “If I can do it, anyone…” ah screw it, here are a few pieces of unsolicited advice Fitz. Congrats brother, can’t wait to celebrate with you later this year:

-Start building your personal brand online now. This is the way you will get your first job. Any company worth their salt is going to google you during the interview process. Give them something useful to find. Create a LinkedIn with your college experience and begin connecting with people. Start a Twitter account that builds off your interests and where you want to land. Follow the thought leaders in your industry. Whatever the industry, there’s a conversation going online about it. Join it and add to it. And yes, it’s time to retire any unflattering pictures on Facebook from your days running the show at ZBT. These will be vetted as well.

-Read. A lot. Blogs, books, tweets. Learn something new everyday. Show a proactive personality to take initiative. I know you are a history buff. Reading biographies of the great coaches over the last 100 years will undoubtedly provide you with a leg up on your competition to get in the door at a pro sports organization.

-Don’t be opposed to a job that might not look the sexiest on paper. Little did I know six years ago that slinging software testing tools to geeks worldwide from the north shore of Massachusetts would eventually lead to me fulfilling lifelong dreams like surprising EK with a new car on her birthday, traveling the world to see Springsteen or getting shipped off to Ireland for work. The job and opportunity is all what you make of it. Whatever you get hired to do, make it a goal to get better daily at that job. Constantly seek progress and feedback from your superiors to understand how your next opportunity can be achieved. Always remember, move up or move out.

-Build yourself a circle of friends, peers, bosses and thought leaders. Consistently connect with them. Help them and learn from them. I have a network of people I look to daily for inspiration and know they would be there at a moment’s notice if needed. There is nothing more powerful.

And my final piece of advice, which I consider the most important of all: Go travel. Take risks. Live out of a backpack. Drink cheap beer and couch surf. You will not have those types of opportunities forever. Anyone I’ve ever talked to that didn’t travel in their early 20’s always looks back and regrets it. I learned more about life at a sketchy nightclub in Surfer’s Paradise or a dingy hostel in Santorini than I ever did in a classroom. There is a spare bedroom with your name on it waiting for you in Edwards Square, right in the heart of Galway, Ireland. First round of pints are on me brother.

Proof of the patented DFitz look taken at Easter this year, courtesy of his loving cousin Seamus.

Proof of the patented DFitz look taken at Easter this year, courtesy of his loving cousin Seamus.

 

The Claddagh ring in Galway

7 May 2014

Earlier today I stumbled on the video below that provides a great slice of Galway culture. It’s a quick 4-minute documentary about the Claddagh ring and it’s history and connection to Galway. The video has some cool shots of the city and the Thomas Dillon shop down the street from me, home to the original Claddagh ring. It’s an interesting lesson on what the ring means to Irish culture, whether you just play fake Irish once a year for Paddy’s Day or proudly claim 100% ancestry to the motherland like my family. The connections to the US and September 11th that are mentioned in the clip are extremely powerful.

Not a day goes by that I am not completely floored at how lucky I am to live and work in a place as culturally rich in Irish heritage as Galway City.

And for the bachelors out there, if you start chatting up a woman wearing a Claddagh ring and the heart is pointed towards herself, now you know she is taken!

Happy Wednesday everybody.

MLK

Preaching the Gospel of Bruce

When you move to another country and don’t know many people, you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. You cannot be afraid to walk up to a stranger and say hello; or saddle up to a pub by yourself and have a chat with the barman, open to wherever the night takes you. A social situation that could be frightening to some, I find thrilling. The last two months have been equal parts challenging, liberating, and hilarious. Getting the chance to tell my story and learn from a variety of cultures and backgrounds from around the world has been very rewarding. (I’ve realized my answer to the standard “Where are you from?” is a bit confusing: well, I grew up in Minnesota, spent my 20s in Boston and the better part of the last 6 years running off to Los Angeles every chance I get. Yes, I’m officially an American mutt.)

Yes you said you were from the US, but where exactly?

Yes you said you were from the US, but where exactly?

Last week I struck up a conversation at the Front Door (one of my favorite Galway watering holes) with a nice woman who was traveling from Argentina. My failure to remember her name gives a strong indication of how well the conversation went. At some point during our casual small talk, the guy playing guitar that night dove into a great version of Springsteen’s, “I’m On Fire.” After the song I shouted in appreciation, “Brruuuucccee!” like I usually do when presented with a Bruce moment of any kind. Miss Argentina immediately looked at me like I had six heads.

Realizing a shared love of all things Bruce was not in the cards for us, I hastily attempted to explain who this legend was and what he meant to music history. Along the way she maintained a moderate level of interest in the subject, asking a few innocent enough questions to humor my clear excitement. One in particular, “What is your favorite Bruce song?” sort of caught me off guard.

One song?! How on earth could I decide on one song from a catalog so rich? After a minute pondering, (pretty much from when the topic of Bruce came up Miss Argentina continued looking at me like I had six heads for the remainder of our conversation) I decided on “Thunder Road.” A classic story, a classic love song that never fails to give me goosebumps any time I hear it. She nodded in passive understanding, and excused herself to take a phone call. It must have been very important as Miss Argentina was never to be seen from again. And to think I didn’t even get a chance to finish telling her my feelings of Tom Morello filling in for Little Stevie on the High Hopes tour. What a shame.

Now that it’s been a few days though I’ve decided there can’t just be one favorite Bruce tune. The man has too many to choose from. It’s been said before that he also has at least 1-2 albums worth of new unreleased material in his back pocket at any given time. His ability to continue writing great music well into his 60’s is amazing. After a few hours spent narrowing my list from 30+, and a serious YouTube bootleg deep dive, I’ve come up with my top 5 below along with a live version of each for your Sunday listening pleasure.

And Miss Argentina, if you are reading…”the screen door slams…”

 

MLK’S TOP 5 FAVORITE BRUCE SONGS

1) Thunder Road- listen to this live, either acoustic or full band and tell me it doesn’t get you every time. The video is from Belfast last summer, the final song played on the last night of my infamous Bruce IRE tour.

2) No Surrender- includes my favorite all time lyrics – “we learned more from a 3 minute record / than we ever learned in school.”

3) The River- I was at this show last summer in Limerick with my buddy Danny (biggest Bruce fan I know). Right before Bruce launched into the powerful and somber number we were approached by two Irish girls to see if they could go up on our shoulders for a better view of the stage. I laughed and didn’t think much of it. Danny was absolutely appalled at their song selection for such a request. 10 months later I think he is still just as upset.

4) Wrecking Ball- defining song of my late 20s, and Bruce’s early 60s.

5) Dancing In The Dark – the ultimate party song. Brings me back to the Misk wedding every time I hear it.

 

So there you have it. Thank you, sweet Argentinian lady, for listening to me preach about the legend known as The Boss. Moral of the story: don’t shy away from a conversation with a stranger in a foreign land. You never know what sort of YouTube deep dive they will send you on. And for those of you out there lucky enough to catch Bruce and the legendary E Street Band yesterday at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, know that I am infinitely jealous.

What are the Bruce hits you can’t live without?