Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Fergal is of Europe yet not in Europe. He cannot recall with any certainty exactly why he spends each winter in Public Alley 438. But he does! hidden europe encounters a hint of Donegal in Boston's Back Bay district.

article summary —

Fergal's memory is highly selective. He cannot recall with any certainty exactly why he spends each winter in Public Alley 438. But this does not prevent him from reciting, with unfailing accuracy, the sequence of villages on the long road to Baleybofey. Fergal is of Europe, yet not in Europe. Across on Boston Common, the early risers perform Tai Chi under a monument that recalls the abolition of slavery. In the Public Garden, the ducks peck forlornly at the ice on the pond. Two ducks, more adventurous than their cousins, venture onto Beacon Street, and the traffic slows to allow the birds to waddle across the road. Fergal makes a stumbling foray from Public Alley 438 to stand on a metal grate on Arlington. Wisps of steam rise from hot underground pipes into the icy air. A brown UPS van hoots loudly at Fergal, ushering the old man away from the grating onto the sidewalk.

The milestones in Fergal's journey to Public Alley 438 are curious. He is a man apart, one who doesn’t fit into the normal crowd of the Boston Irish who crowd into small houses in Southie — the bit of Boston that lies on the wrong side of the John Fitzgerald Expressway.

This is just an excerpt. If you are a subscriber to hidden europe magazine, you can log in to read the full text online. Of course you can also read the full article in the print edition of hidden europe 8.

About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 8.