04 August 2014

Living in Town

One of the problems with living in town only became apparent to us after we'd been here for a while. At first, we really liked being where we are, just a few minutes walk from the grocery store, the library, the bank, the post office, and even the river walk.  It was pretty quiet. Then it started to warm up and we opened the windows. It was no longer quiet. Boy racers speeding down the street, revving engines and squealing tires became part of the regular soundtrack of our daily lives. Sometimes they speed around the loop that makes up downtown Ballinrobe--around and around they go. The traffic noise is annoying--people drive fast here in general, whether they are driving compact cars or large farm equipment. Large trucks come down the main road that is at the end of our street. There are times when the noise outside is disruptive when I am trying to listen to something using headphones. This is one thing during the day and evening. The most annoying time is weekend nights. As I type this, it is almost 1:30 a.m. I am sitting here listening to music from the pub down the street. They do not even seem to start playing until 11 or so. I suppose we are lucky that there is only one pub on our street. Drinking culture is a feature of life here and a culture of binge drinking (whether at "the local" or at home) is a big problem. Downtown Ballinrobe consists of a kind of square bounded by roads that lead into one another. In this small area, I have counted 7 or 8 pubs.

 Right now I am hearing the music. In a couple of hours, I will most likely be awakened by drunken revelers on their way home from the pub. This happens every Saturday night (tonight is a bonus night, as it's bank holiday weekend)--they come out of the pubs in groups and they yell, sing at the top of their voices, laugh hysterically, or just stand around talking loudly. Last weekend someone was trying to get people to be quiet, but to no avail. People are quite inconsiderate. I was talking to a friend about this and she mentioned that it all seemed very juvenile. It really does--it's the kind of behavior you'd expect from teenagers.

I have always found the noise factor to be one of the unpleasant features of summer, because once you open the windows you do hear people's conversations, lawn mowers and other machines, traffic, fan or air conditioner noise, etc. One year my head was actually humming for a day or two after we put away the fans and shut the windows. This is the first place I have lived where it is people being deliberately rude and behaving badly that causes the unpleasantness. My friend mentioned laws against public drunkenness and I have no idea whether such laws exist here, but even if they did, who would enforce them?  Gardai are not even around when the problems are happening. When we took a taxi to Claremorris a month ago, the taxi driver mentioned that one street that was not good to live on because drunk people tap on the windows coming home from the pubs. The buildings are right on top of the sidewalk. Things are worse in larger towns, of course. A woman recently won a judgement against a pub in Dublin because she slipped and fell in a pool of vomit that wasn't cleaned up, hurting her back. Festive.

There went a boy racer--squealing around the loop.

Tomorrow when we go out for our walk, we can expect to find glasses on outside window ledges at the pubs--these may or may not be intact and they may or may not have anything in them. There will likely be broken glass on the sidewalks near the pubs. I am likely to be tired from being kept awake by rude, obnoxious, drunk people.

There's the boy racer again.

I look forward to the day when we can close the windows again and not be bothered by this stuff anymore. By the time next summer rolls around and the windows will need to be opened, we will be living somewhere else. It will not be in the center of town.


  1. Oh that's awful.

    As we consider buying a house here in Australia, I weigh the pros and cons of town-living vs country-living. Certainly one of the cons of town-living is all the background noise which isn't nature. Like you, we get lots of street noise and at least weekly, there is loud music coming from somewhere. I haven't worked out yet if it's from a hotel (pub/bar) or somebody's house. But an equally high-ranking pro is the walking lifestyle. I LOVE being close enough to walk to friends' houses, school, library, pool, shopping, and cafes.

    Decisions. Decisions.

  2. We have been talking about exactly the same thing. We know that we won't get too far out in the country, because being able to walk or at least walk and bike is a priority for us, so we'll be taking that into consideration. I must admit that I find myself nostalgic for our Fairbanks house in the woods! I don't mind walking a mile or two to get to the grocery store, etc--when we lived in southern Oregon and parked the truck, we did that all the time. So as we look for the next place, we will look on the outskirts of town, I think. And, because the walls are so thick, it even makes a difference where in the flat I am. When I was coughing so much a few weeks ago I went into the spare bedroom and closed the door at night so Bill could sleep. The window in there faces the deck in back and there is the whole front of the building between the deck and the busy street (the building is like an "L" and we are at the top of the vertical line and the horizontal line faces the main street). I could barely hear stuff back there, but it was a little bit stuffy--always a trade-off--LOL. I have learned how great the windows are in here, though! It's amazing how much difference closing them makes! Hurry up autumn!! :-) I hope that you guys find THE place that provides you with exactly the right mix of town/country!

  3. Iwell remember the drinking in Ireland...and going out at 11pm! You should try some late night music and drinking...part of the essential Irish experience!

    1. Yes, it seems like it would be "part of the essential Irish experience." Not interested in the least--LOL. Sounds rather hellish, actually--a crowded pub with loud drunk people and loud music is not my idea of a good time. I have not had a drink in almost 19 years and don't miss it. I don't like crowds and lots of noise and I am not much of a social butterfly. I'm much happier being a night owl at home with my tea, a podcast, and yarn :-) Once we can close the windows again, I will happily spend late weekend nights in my quiet flat and leave the drunken revelry to those that enjoy that kind of thing!