Tag Archives: Ireland

Mansion House Celebrating Peru In Ireland 

I feel honoured to have been invited to this special celebration in The Mansion House Dublin, Ireland (during August 2017).

Casa Ireland in Peru with Erica Pena as it’s chief organiser, are the group who have made all of this happen. The efforts of the group, which brings together a community of Peruvians living in Ireland, are gaining momentum. 

At this most recent celebration in the residency of Dublins Lord Mayor, the Cuban Ambassador, as a representative of Latin America, addressed the invited guests. 

It was announced that Peruvians will soon have Embassy representation in Ireland. Presently London is the closest embassy as their point of contact. 

Mexico is the location of the Irish embassy which caters for Peru. Thanks to Irish President Michael Higgins visit to Peru earlier this year, relations between the two countries have strengthened. 

Peru is a country with a growing economy, rich in culture which in many ways matches that of the Irish in terms of its passion for music, dance and food. The people are equally friendly and fun-loving. 

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A Creative Surge!

Something different sure is underfoot in Ireland right now!

With the recent launch of Creative Ireland initiative as a plan to put the ‘Arts’ at the heart of Irish living, acknowledging its important role for wellbeing, creative thinking and economy, this is only the start.

 

Co-inciding with a major boost in awareness around positive thinking, shining a light on mental health and the holistic approach to living, we are seeing a vibrant energetic drive across all sectors to breath new life into communities and our economy.

A shining example, is the work of Art Bank Bunclody volenteer initiative, now in its second year and already seeing a huge impact on the small Wexford town that is newly rising from it’s ashes.

I’m proud to be featured in Art Bank’s latest exhibition running until August 23rd, 2017.

We had much antics with the dodgey policemen patroling the street on the night!

Check out Art Bank Bunclody, Co. Wexford.

For Art of Caroline Cunningham – Visit Gallery

For Books by Caroline Cunningham – Visit Book Store

Thank you for visiting! Are you seeing a rise in creative ventures and positivity in your part of our planet? Let’s know…..leave a comment (:

 

Dancing in the Street! Peru Style

Now at least I can say I have something in common with Mick Jagger and the great David Bowie! Only a week ago I was ‘Dancing in the Street’!! Want to know how that feels? Feckin’ amazing! (;

No other words for it really! I answered the call – Casa Peru Ireland – a group of Peruanos living in Ireland, put a call out via their face book page. Flash mob! Rehearsals in June! All welcome!

Flashmob 2

Flash Mob Casa Peru in Ireland!

How could I resist? As someone who wrote continuously about my Journey in Peru over a period of 30 months on my Wild Star Landing blog, I was eager to strengthen my links with this country by taking part in this fun event.

During my time in Peru, I had observed the many festivals in the plazas and on the streets where dancing is central to the celebration. I had even given it a go myself ‘Dancing around the Coffee Tree’ and ‘Waino Dancing by the River’ but I had not properly learned the steps and sequences.

Flashmob 1

Peru Ireland Connections

So in June 2017 in Dublin city centre, I joined this festive group to partake in a sequence of dances representing the three main regions of Peru, Coast, Mountain and Jungle.

We rehearsed over a period of three weeks. I really enjoyed the gatherings and met people not just from Peru but countries such as Mexico, Bolivia, Italy and Romania.

When it came to our street performance, some were understandably nervous and certainly there was much anticipation. None of us had quite done anything like this before.

Dublin was strangely quiet that evening and rain was upon us too. Nonetheless, we followed through with the joyful action and all our steps were carried out.

Flashmob 4

Wild Star Landing – Dancing in the Street

I am proud to say I danced the Peruvian dances. My friends in my Peru can see me in the videos and I know my bonds have been strengthened even though the miles between us are many.

Take a look at our ‘Dancing in the Street ‘Peruvian flash mob style!

Have you been to Peru? What was your favourite spot?

© Caroline Cunningham

Author of Wild Star Landing

Books by Caroline Cunningham – Go Shopping !

Irelands Summer Solstice

Since writing this poem in 2015, I have become a self-published author! My book ‘The Whisperings of Nature’ was launched in April 2017 and is available via my on-line shop.

The poetry in this book are inspired by nature, offering comfort, wisdom and inspiration. Irelands Summer Solstice is one of the poems in The Whisperings of Nature.

Here you can decide if indeed my poetry is for you or someone in your life who appreciates Nature as I do.

Read reviews of other readers of my book – read reviews!

Purchase the book itself – go shopping!

Summer Solstice Ireland

IRELANDS SUMMER SOLSTICE

Moving through Irelands Summer’s Solstice,

We are graced with extraordinary light,

Our Earthly position points us steadily towards our closest star.

This is a time of gratitude,

Long may this feeling last,

I can sit outside my door and breath and glow,

With loose shoulders and a happy heart.

I am absorbing and storing this feeling

As I am not so fond of the damp, cold, darkness of Irish winter

The last sliver of light in the clouded horizon taunts me to accept the extreme,

As I learn to accept the extremes of my own temperament.

Winter will bring the excuse for fires and stories,

For some, the excuse to hold on tighter to the one most loved.

I hold that image of the summer’s night time mountain

This is the reward for a long nights work.

The Solstice Sky reflects an ocean of foreverness

And I am endlessly lost and found in the depths of it.

Divinely connected to the billions

Threading the sphere of our existence,

Long may this feeling last.

Happy is my heart.

© Caroline Cunningham

Click to go shopping!

 

 

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Torn Between Two Lovers

Torn! Yes Torn. Why? Because I said in my last post Eat Love Peru that I would contribute further articles with regard to the Peruvian passion for food. As soon as i had that thought of writing the article I reverted back to ‘DRINK’. Sorry, am giving you totally the wrong idea. Oops! I said ‘totally’……….(O: and I never say ‘totally’….like the way some folk ‘totally’ say ‘totally…..ahhhhh!!

Yikes! And there again I have left you probably thinking…’what she doing? Has she hit the bottle?’ Nope! Not at all the way it appears in writing. You see in Peru, those who are passionate about their food (and they are many), often use what they call ‘the secrets of good cooking.’ There are many secrets as I discovered in my conversations with a number of friends, some who were also qualified chefs.

As I was in the deep end for my nine weeks of living in Peru, with regard to learning Spanish, I invited myself to watch carefully as one of my chef friends cooked our meal for the evening. Surely I would discover some of the secrets if I paid attention well.

I shall keep you in suspense to know the name of the dish being prepared on that first evening, but I am pretty sure I did in fact discover one of the secrets. Pisco! Si, yes, Pisco. Its a drink, an alcoholic one and it would be difficult to make your way throughout Peru without being offered a drop or two of this particular spirit, of which its country folk claim with pride.

To be more precise, Pisco is made from grapes and is certainly a product of the famous winery of Ica along the Peruvian coast. Pisco is a colourless spirit and high in alcoholic content (40%), so gently does it with this stuff. In my taste buds it is similar to a brandy or a palinka (made in eastern parts of Europe).

But not to worry, in Peru there are many recipes for the drinking of Pisco. Pisco Sour is the most famous of its cocktails and is hailed as the traditional welcome and celebratory drink in every home and hotel. Chilcano is a perhaps a more relaxed and chilled out cocktail option. There are numerous possibilities, as i discovered during my 9 weeks in Peru’s Sacred Valley.

You can make hot drinks to warm your bones in the cool of an Andean evening, after the sun disappears behind the rocky peaks. I never thought of asking if it is good for arthritis? Hold your horses! Better to drink the stuff (following the recipe) before you try rubbing it in your knees, as  was a custom with Poitín (an alcoholic drink of Irish Olden Days before there were so many laws).

Last but not least, I discovered that Pisco is one of the secrets, ‘the secrets of good cooking.’ I saw it with my own two eyes as the measure was added to the pan. And the dish was delicious I have to say. It was double YUM.

Surely you will now understand my torn agony as I strove to tell you about food. Its great when everything falls into neat categories. That’s life. No neat categories. So lets get on with the show. Next article is definitely about FOOD. I promise it is not the last you will hear of Pisco however and yes I will also include the recipe for Pisco Sour. Salud!

Catch up on Previous Posts Eat, Love, Peru

8Mini Market Friendship

OK, so one of my reasons for coming to this town was to learn and improve my Spanish! But what a wonderful surprise it has been to make friends with a shop-keeper who has an excellent standard of English, here in Ollantaytambo, (The Sacred Valley of Peru). Hoowert and I quickly became very good friends. Because of his ability to converse in English, I have been able to gain a deeper insight into the traditions, beliefs and history of this special town and the country to which its people belong.

Don’t worry, we don’t converse completely in English, we alternate, taking turns to demonstrate our new learning. Sometimes our conversation takes a swift diversion, as Hoowert resorts to his dictionary for a new word or explanation and next we are within a language lesson, discussing the ins and outs of various expressions.

I developed my own idea for improving my conversation skills. Why not interview my Ollantino friends in Spanish? This way I can find out more about their lives and views and at the same time improve in learning the new language. It has been a great benefit to me and in the process friendships have grown deeper.

It turns out that, like many other successful business people in this town, Hoowert trained as a chef. From an early age he set about accumulating years of experience and eventually ran his own restaurant with his partner Pamela. Together they saved constantly until they had enough to rent this shop which is called ‘Mini-Market’ (right next door to Worlds Coffee Café, which you will hear about soon).

Curious as to how he came to have such a good grasp of English compared to others in this trade, Hoowert explained the following to me. ‘It has been difficult! I started learning six years ago when I worked in Lima in a restaurant. My older brother taught me some essential phrases which got me by at first. In school, English was only taught one hour per week and always the same verb ‘To Be’ (Estar) and every year repeated the same. But in 5th year of high school a new opportunity came. It was an American project ‘TAPA’ and we got an English speaking teacher. I made good use of this opportunity. 44 students started with the project but only 3 completed it. Working in a touristic place such as Ollantaytambo, to speak English is very important. I read books in English and used my dictionary to translate.’ It is obvious that Hoowert is still dedicated to improving his ability to understand and speak the language and I find his effort inspiring my own attempt to improve my Spanish.

The first week I arrived in Ollantaytambo, Hoowert invited me to a fiesta in nearby Rumira. He is a traditional dancer tambien. I was fuelled with further questioning. Hoowert’s interest in dancing began when as a child he saw some dancers at a festival. ‘It was beautiful,’ he enthused, ‘full of style and essence. I wanted to do it also. For me it is a strong sentiment! I dance because I believe in Jesus! 50% is faith and 50% is passion for dancing. Throughout the year there are many festivals and for the most important ones I practice with the other dancers sometimes a month beforehand on Saturday and Sunday nights for at least 3 to 4 hours at a time.’

Another of Hoowert’s passions is his love of history and traditions of Peru. ‘The history of my country is beautiful!’ he tells me. Hoowert has fond childhood memories of the Inca culture but he feels that in the last 10 years there have been many changes resulting in the dwindling of the old customs. He is also interested in the politics and has studied the transition of Inca rule to Spanish power and eventual Independence of Peru in 1821. ‘It is important to have your own conclusions,’ he tells me. ‘In recent years our economy has improved. There are better laws and ideas and terrorism is being dealt with. I often ask myself, what is the evolution for Peru? And how can things improve for our people?’ I suggest that such concerns are those of a natural leader of community or perhaps a country. Hoowert blushes momentarily but then confirms my thoughts further as he explains that while in high school he formed a small group of friends in order to discuss the ways in which the problems of the people could be addressed, problems such as education, money and corruption.

This preoccupation has led Hoowert to write a book. ‘I am still developing my ideas,’ he explains, ‘but in the future I hope to complete it and get it published.’ Hoowert also has an interest in engineering and is currently toying with the idea of a professional qualification in either this or perhaps to study law. Engineering is connected with his desire to go to Japan one day (Japanese cars such as Hyundai are very popular in Peru). I encourage him to study law as perhaps this will sit more nicely with his other preoccupation of influencing change for Peru.

Returning to my original curiosity of his love of Peruvian history and culture, I ask what significance Machu Picchu holds for him. Hoowert explains that Machu Picchu represents the magnificence of the Incan Empire. ‘It is also our Peruvian identity,’ he explains as many people outside of Peru know little else about this abundant land. ‘For many people it also means business,’ he continues, ‘ but it is also a mystical place, as to this day there is no proven explanation for the engineering and construction of the stones. It is regarded as an unearthly work of other worlds. For me it is a spiritual place and I am proud to have come from this culture. I love all things of my country!’

I am curious as to what other world heritage site Hoowert would one day like to visit. The answer should be obvious to me. ‘The pyramids!’ he replies. ‘It is a much older culture but perhaps one that is most similar to that of the Inca’s. It is possible that the hieroglyphics can explain more of the past. Many of the links to the Inca past have been destroyed and lost. The Egyptian history would be magnificent to study,’ he concludes.

This is not the end of our discussion. I often visit Hoowert in the evenings to discover more about Peru and Ollantaytambo in particular. I hope to share more of these stories with you in the near future.

Hoowert’s Mini Market is between the Plaza De Armas and the bridge en route to the train station.

If you have enjoyed this tale, I encourage you to FOLLOW my blog by entering your email address in the space provided. I aim to increase the numbers of my following so that in the future I may more easily publish my first novel which I wrote in this last year, romantic fiction inspired by my first visit to Peru.

Coffee on Chatham Row

A warm sunny day in Ireland is by now a rare and excitable event. On one of these rare days I took to the streets and headed straight to town to mingle with the masses of giddy Irish rooted folk. All my business attended to by noon I settled in a sunny spot outside the Metro on Chatham Row which is becoming a favourite haunt of mine for coffee and their famous Tuscan Bean Soup!!

I squeezed into a vacant chair and faced outwards at the busy street with passers-by, vans and cars grooving along and the sun beaming down on me with the right amount of shading from the overhead canopy.

The coffee tasted delicious. I don’t take sugar anymore but I do absorb the flavours of the sights and sounds that accompany my sipping. Large men sipping tiny cups of coffee conjured amusing images of Gulliver and his travels, while beardy Irish blokes tried their best to nonchalantly discuss the latest art venture that they’d been seconded to.  A quiet sort just randomly checking his crossword eventually decided he had cracked it and moved along. The talk from table to table invariably drifted to ‘Spain’, sure I am going there myself next week! ‘Chico!’ ‘Omar Shariff & Lanzarote!’ Yes these vibes go well with coffee in the rare Dublin Irish sunshine.

Cars and vans rolled slowly by awaiting their turn to take the nearby corner. A friendly beep signalled my neighbour to turn and exchange cheeky grins of familiarity with the driver who is probably also thinking of Spain.

‘When we are on the beach, remind me that I have something to tell you,’ one of my favourite Aunts had said on the phone when booking our flights a few nights ago. ‘Can you repeat that line once more?’ I asked her as the reality began to sink in. ‘When we are on the beach………..aahh! Good coffee!