Marie and Annamaria were so sweet leading us around, and Annamaria in particular seemed to really enjoy the looks of wonder and delight on our faces as we walked from set to set and found ourselves transported to this world we’ve spent so much time watching on TV. By the time we got upstairs we were playing a game of “Name that room,” and it was fascinating how tricky it often was to recognize a room because were looking at it from “the wrong angle”—that is, an angle from which we don’t normally see it onscreen. For example, when we first entered David and Gráinne’s from where the hallway to their bedroom would be onscreen, I didn’t recognize the place at all, but once we moved toward the middle of the room and I adjusted my angle so that the kitchen was on the left and the living room was on the right, it was obvious where we were. This happened a few times upstairs, where I didn’t recognize where we were standing even though I’ve seen it a thousand times because we weren’t standing in “the right place.”
For me, the two most interesting sets were the shop and, of course, Tigh Thaidhg. The shop is fascinating because when you are in it, it feels uncannily like you’re in an actual shop, except with the ceiling missing and a lot of extra lights and cables running around just out of sight. The shelves are all fully stocked with real merchandise, although as Annamaria and Marie pointed out, some of it is glued down. The food in the refrigerated case is real and it’s actually refrigerated. As with many of the other sets we visited, the shop wasn’t being used that day, so the lights were dim and no one was in there, which really made it feel like we were visiting an actual shop that was closed. Being behind the till in the shop was a strange experience for many reasons, including the fact that it’s not an angle we viewers usually get to see the shop from. Marie laughed that the new coffee machine in the shop is “the world’s largest coffee machine,” and she’s right—it’s enormous! The giant plastic ice-cream cone, a staple of my recaps, had been moved inside the shop for the day, and I made sure to take a picture of it.
I really wish I’d done a better job taking photos of the exteriors—for example, I should’ve gone over to the famous bus stop and gotten someone to snap a picture of me there! (I can’t remember if it was Marie or Annamaria who joked, “And here’s the bus stop where no buses have ever come.”) I saw the place I call Recycle Pod Park, and the bench where Pádraig hid the mussels instigating this season’s food-poisoning hijinks, too. A few of the sets are in a different location down the road, and I meant to ask more about that, but never got back to it. Marie told me that Mo’s house and Dee and Mack’s place are both at this other location. There’s also a hospital set there, and maybe an office set or some other kind of generic set we see when needed.
And that’s all I can think of to tell you about my day in Ros na Rún! If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them. It was truly an amazing day, and I’ll never forget it. I want to thank everyone who was so kind to us and made us feel so welcome, who put up with us asking a thousand questions and wanting to snap photos of everything, and who pretended not to notice how starstruck we were at times! And very special thanks to Annamaria Nic Dhonnacha (Bobbi-Lee) and Marie Bheag Breathnach (Mo), who made it all possible and who spent their entire day with us! GRMMA!