I find hilarity in things that shouldn’t be funny, like when my brother, by no fault of his, comes home with a terrible haircut or when he got so woozy after downing 2 pints of Guinness or the fact that traditional Irish names are spelled nothing even remotely close to how they’re pronounced (Niamh is pronounced Neeve and Aoife is pronounced Eva). It is no surprise, therefore, that the combinations of letters in the name this town makes me giggle: Ballybofey. The more I type it, the more I giggle. Ballybofey. It’s the same with other words like bouillabaisse or vuvuzelas or bouffant or goulash. It’s almost like the letters have conspired to get together with the sole purpose of daring you to laugh in their face when you know you shouldn’t.
Ballybofey, pronounced Ballee-boo-fey (like Phoebe Buffay), not ballee-boh-fee, as we initially said, and were consequently corrected by the Irish girls on the train to Belfast, is where we would be spending Christmas day. Located in County Donegal in the Northwestern side of Ireland, it has a population of less than 5,000 people (4,852 to be exact); it is TINY! With only one main street where everything from the bus station to the town’s butcher are crammed on either side of the road, the town really has nothing interesting going for her, except that it’s truly and stunningly beautiful.
Serendipity? I think so!