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  • morganfagg

Longest way round is the shortest way home

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Try to lose yourself, only to discover strange places, interesting people and the Irish village reaching out around the world, affecting music, people, songs and sayings. James Joyce said it best in Ulysses when he wrote, “Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”

When I met Marta, a Spanish teacher who was just back from Dublin after six years living there and brought a unique Irish taste to the evening with a concert she invited me to that was organised in Mercado de Antón Martín where the fruit, fish and flower stalls were displayed along with the butcher shops with their long line of lambs heads. The Spanish for goat is cabra and I smiled when Marta told me that she had just moved back from Cabra.

Marta introduced me to a Galician singer from the north of Spain. Gael-icia is probably a better name for the rain-soaked region, the greenest part of the peninsula, the Ireland of Spain.

Susana Garrido Pombo, stood at the market stall holding her guitar.

An unusual market venue for a singer to play but I guess even the Beatles had to cross the road every once in a while.

I listened intensely to her lyrics, trying to make out the palabras. Most of the time I only understand one or two palabrasblablablas but lucky for my teacher Marta and I, some of her songs were about Ireland and she sang some songs in English too.

There was a beautiful song about girls on bicycles and the 151 bus, called Crumlin Girls and another about Bray. She sang songs about Greystones on her six string guitar that plucked at the strings of my homesick heart.

I listened to the lyrics, “We´ll take the long road home” and I was reminded of my earlier thoughts about Joyce and the longest way round being the shortest way home.

I quickly Watsapped a neighbor originally from Waterford to come to the concert. We played G.A.A. together though neither of us played it at home but I didn´t invite the rest of the Madrid Harps as they were busy training for a friendly tournament in G.A.A.licia.

The fishmonger in Pescaderia soaped the stainless steel walls of Stall 29 as the fruit and veg shop assistant stacked asparagus into boxes.

The shutters shut suddenly and drowned out her sweet voice but only briefly.

When she finished, Marta shared some Spanish omelette with the group but this tortilla, like the music was more Irish than Spanish.

Marta explained that her tortilla was made with spuds bought the day before in George Street.

Fresher than a black spud in your pocket, I was impressed she had taken the trouble to bring over some Irish potatoes.

After baking a thousand tortillas in Dublin 7 over the years, Marta´s cakes latartadeMarta had to adapt in a market full of Spanish omelettes and started to sell carrot cakes,

A shame since I really enjoyed her wonderful tortilla de patatas de Irlanda.

Check out Su Garrido Pombo´s Grey Stones for yourself

Supported by

UNESCO City of Literature

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