The Luck of the Irish

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Where I stayed

Flag of Ireland  , County Dublin,
Thursday, March 15, 2012

The internet quoted the ferry trip to Ireland as being around 600 pounds return. Bill kept looking and was able to get it down to 430. However, he was concerned about height restrictions (with regard to the motor-home), as there would be no refund if we got it wrong. After chatting to 'Velvet' he was offered a round trip for 253 pounds which included a night, with breakfast, in a 4 star hotel - and thus began our luck with the Irish.

Prior to the ferry over to Ireland, we stayed in a grocery store car park the night and had tucker at the 'local' (Edinburgh Hotel). Meals finished at 7pm and we had arrived at 7.30pm - so dinner was the 'give away' finger food.  We washed it down with Guinness - nothing like a good square meal.The bar area was small - large enough to fit one pool table, one table with six chairs and then the bar area itself with half a dozen stools. We sat with an American, an Englishman and a Welshman - ha ha ha - and that's no joke. The yank was a typical yank with an annoying voice, nonetheless, he was an interesting bloke. He'd done 3 tours of Vietnam in his day, been to Ireland on several occasions, as well as many other parts of the world, including Australia. The Pom had lived in Wales for 10 years and had owned a pub for 3. He believed the the best part of that was when he sold it - "too much winging", he said. The Welshman looked like something the cat dragged in, but when there was any questions asked - he could answer every single one - thus as the saying goes 'don't judge a book by its cover'. Of course there was the usual bar fly, and he was like one of the Muppet's up in the peanut gallery that threw in his two cents worth every now and again. The girls sang Karaoke with the Irish in the dinning area next door. Our early night ended, just before 12 - ahhh.

The ferry trip itself took 3 1/2 hours from Holyhead to Dublin - it was restful and carefree. Once we docked we realised we had pulled out page one - being the first stop of our itinerary, it seemed every other page must have flown overboard - argh!
 
OK, so after all our tizzing with planning, packing in Oz, purchasing motor-home etc in the UK the plan was to arrive in Dublin for St Pat's day, celebrate the beginning of our o.s. trip - and get totally smashed - it had been a long time coming and why not LIVE IT UP (well earned of course) - yippee!!  Besides getting grogged up might help with rescheduling what was on our agenda for the next six months - D'Oh!
 
To get our bearings prior to St Pat's day we did the Hop On Hop Off bus - checked out the National Museum - amazing.  Perhaps the most memorable were the findings in the bogs (mud) where a bible, people and even a 5000 year old fishing net (found in 2006) had been astonishingly well kept.  The chemicals in the swampy land had preserved them like pickled peppers in vinegar.

St Patrick's day - well this was one for the bucket list.  Half a million people lined the streets (around 1km - if that) for the parade.  It was totally insane. We don't recall having seen so many people in one area at one time in our lives - we overheard American's saying the same. The crowd would have been 10 deep and then others walking up and down the street behind them. Most people wouldn't have seen any of the parade at all. We were fortunate enough to have climbed one of the statues along O'Connell Street - the girls holding on to the wing of an angle to see and take photos to show Bill and Alo, cause they could only see the tops of floats. Every where we looked was green, gold and white - but mostly green.

We left the parade early, grabbed a quick bite to eat, cuppa and loo break and made haste to St Patrick's Cathedral to beat the crowds for the reading of Saint Patrick's Confessio (what St Pat actually wrote in his own words). The programme had not advised that we had to book on-line - humph.  There were only 100 seats so what were our chances - bugger?  No - huh we were in good old Irish luck again - front row seats - bazing! you little rippa!! 

The Cathedral itself - like most - was gorgeous, built in 1192 and is the largest church in Ireland. We had been too chicken to ask about the meaning of St Patrick's day - how could one be half way around the world for St Pat's day, in his home town of Dublin, and not know what he was all about?? As it turned out, whilst he is one of the best known Saints in the world, (apart from St Nicolas) very few people know his story - so we were comforted to know we were not the only one's needing a history lesson. For example:- 

17th March? Patrick was taken to the heavens.
Did he have a beard? Probably not.
Where was he born? No one knows - perhaps England, maybe France.
He lived in Dublin? Probably not, as Dublin did not even exist in the 5th century.

What is known is that in the early 400's St Patrick was captured at the age of 16 and placed into slavery (a normal part of the economy at that time) where he laboured as a shepherd for the six arduous years - but at the same time - found God. He then escaped onto a ship, bound for England and then returned to Ireland - Ahoy!.  With his infectious enthusiasm he went on to convert the Irish to Christianity. The Irish took to it like a big ship takes to water, like the Aussies took to a pie and peas and like Tarzan took to Jane.  Monasteries sprang up all over the country, like mushrooms, and many of the Irish became holier than a Swiss cheese. It was claimed that the Confessio, written in Latin in the 800's, was the exact words of St Pat. His teachings had been passed down through the generations for 400 years, were written in Latin and then translated into English 1600 years after that (early 2000's) and we were expected to believe it was exactly what he said - Eh? Yer right!

After the St Pat recital it was party time.  Woohoo off we went to the booze area of town - the Temple Bar. Everyone leaves the parade and then heads straight there - so by the time we arrived (around 2 hours after opening time) the cobbled streets were choca's with patrons, spilling out of bars (literally), all along the way - total ma-ham. We found a pub and wedged our way in, only to be informed that kids weren't welcome - bummer, Bill bought a Guinness and Alo a Bailey's and we all stood outside and took photos of the madness before our eyes. The day had now drawn to a close, it was getting colder. The locals commenced to peel away their clothes. There was music, dancing, blowing of horns (they were everywhere), dwindling attire and Guinness glasses were getting smashed all along the lane ways. The kids were hungry - we got more food - then, boing, boing, boing, back to the Temple Bar to join the party, or maybe not. The Irish were crackers and were letting them off to mimic their personalities. Phooey it was too hard. Our big day out - one measly drink - stuff it - we'd take the tram home. What a couple of sad old foggies we've turned out to be - Aaarah!. 

The tram station had been set on fire, perhaps some crackers were set off in the wrong direction. We'd need to catch a bus to another station, then the tram and then walk in the cold and pitch black, for half an hour, to the motor-home. We asked around to find the correct bus. Not the first, nor the second, nor the third, but the forth bus driver seemed to have any idea how to get us to another tram stop, so apprehensively we jumped on with him. We spoke to the Dublinites on the bus and none of them had heard of Camac Caravan Park, nor had any idea if we are even heading in the right direction - they found it hilarious, we began to think we were in for a long night. The driver assured us we'd be OK and he'd get us to where we needed to go, so our fingers were crossed. Bill chatted to him about stuff to see while we were in Ireland, by this time everyone else had hopped off the bus and we were the only ones left. The next thing we knew we were back at our door step, the driver had taken us all the way from the city to the van park, completely out of his way and not on his route - unbelievable - yeah - another dollop of Irish luck for us.

Next day Bill and Ariel visited the Guinness Storehouse, while Alo and Brandi-Chanel went on the walking tour of Dublin. After 3 hours we were to meet back at the rendezvous point. Alo and Brandi-Chanel's tour went overtime - oops, they left the tour and ran through town, getting back 5 minutes late and then sat patiently and waited. 

Meanwhile, Bill and Ariel had lost track of time, upon realisation of this they decided it was too late to make an attempt to meet up, so kicked back, and glungk glungk glungk downed another Guinness (or two or three...), chatted up the chicks and left Alo and Brandi-Chanel sitting on a cold stone bench. After an hours wait it became obvious that Bill and Ariel were a no show, leaving Alo and Brandi-Chanel to trapes the streets, pondering what to do next. Eleven year old Brandi-Chanel wouldn't have passed for 18 so inebriation was out of the equation - moan!

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