A trip to the homeland

Trip Start Sep 18, 2007
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Flag of Ireland  , Connaught,
Monday, August 23, 2010

Dublin Galway (Baptism) Sligo, Roscommon, Electric Picnic

So my sister moved to Ireland in April after 13 yrs in Australia but moved back to Oz in Sept as they tried to buy a bar in Dublin for 7 mths and did due diligence on 4 and had more than reasonable funds but everyone is living in la la land and thinks their pubs are worth the artifiical mad high price of 7 yrs ago. Plus theres this new government thing NAMA that is sucking up the toxic debts so bizarrely its better for the owners to hold onto to the pubs and pretend they are worth 10 times more than they are than actually sell. Sick. The country is fecked now. Looks good though esp Dublin docklands and motorways all the way Dub - Sligo & Dub - Galway but that's all that's going for it just now. Was not sad to leave unbelieveably even though we had a brilliant time.
 
The amount of ghost housing estates in Connacht I saw -and I am sure it's the same in the other country areas - is shocking. Who gave all that planning permission I dunno. Like who in their right mind was gonna pay 250k for a house next to a council estate. Someone in the county councils should be shot!
 
There is talk in general of knocking all those empty estates now! And then what? More stupidity. Just make them social housing as they are bleeding built now! And then there the poor fecks with the 200k mortgage when next door is now going for 80K!!! Someone was telling me this about 2 of her workmates, so the one who bought the house in the boom is obv. stuck with her 200k mortgage and is sick her co worker can now buy next door for so little and there's no point the 1st person selling for a low price as they would still owe the bank alot. Sick and sad.  Also the pubs in country towns on a Friday night empty - really sad. But Saturdays was ok, but one night a week versus what 3,4,5? when we lived there ( we left exactly 5 yrs ago) ok its different in Dublin but still. My heart breaks really, little did we know when we left it'd turn out like this, flukey us :)
 
Although you know sub consciously we all knew we'd be back to recession, sure recession is our way, remember the 80's? Scratch that most of the last century! Sure even in 2002 my company was moaning about cut backs and giving no bonuses or pay rises, so secretly we all knew how it'd end I now think. Feel sorry for 80s expats who did come back in the noughties from USA & Canada etc I read an article and they are  totally fecked now with these crazy mortgages so they can't just up & leave again. Imagine they had made a new life abroad and are back in bloody recession Ireland, full circle, OMG.
 
Anyway enough social commentary. We had a blast. My sister & co were still there in a holiday let in Donnybrook so they rented next door to them for us for the 1st two nights which was great. Baby was really good travelling and jet lag going that direction is grand its coming back here is the problem, but even then it only took her a week to get back to sleeping all night, so not so bad. So first two days in Dublin - went to my old hairdresser (they know nothing about curly hair here), met some ex colleagues for lunch, had dinner in another mates and people who were home from Spain who we wouldn't have seen otherwise were there too so that was cool. 
 
Then mother-in-laws for quickly for 2 days to day hi which was good timing as we saw other friends home from London there,who again we wouldn't have seen otherwise and wanted to. Also our baby is the only grandchild/niece on that side so great excitement all round to meet her for the 1st time. And I had final christening arranging to do there too so that was great to be so organised.
 
Then my Mum's for a week.  My cousin came from Cork which I half dreaded but Mum brought us to family graves etc which was really good actually. Although Forest Park in Boyle has been 'touristized' now and is ruined by gates and cameras and fees etc. Had loads of fancy lunches out and amazingly all the renovated castles are still going as hotels. Saw my mate next door and her crew a lot, (her 3 year old is soo pretty) also her bro and his lot and my bessie mate and her lot who came especially to see us from Bristol plus many of Mums friends who all came bearing gifts. In fact the amt of gifts was mammoth, dunno how we would have got it all back here only my sister was shipping her stuff back so we sent a box with her shipment. Weather up to this point amazing and I even had a heat rash .
 
Then we had our music festival Electric picnic with 'water bed' camping in a yurt fri-sun in Laois so that was weird leaving the baby but we both survived ok. She was good as gold for Mum. I breast fed her right till I left and pumped what I could but we had to introduce some formula for the weekend. I was worried she would reject it after 6mths excl. on breast or that she'd reject breast when I got back. But no, she didn't give a damn either way and will take anything she gets :) Great eater too, was on 2 meals a day & Mum got her up to 3 and now if I miss one she wakes up for supper! She is generally a 12 hour a night girl but is teething this week so we'll see how that pans out. Festival was good very 80's Brian Ferry, PiL etc but it was more about socialising for us with our friends.
 
After Electric Picnic we collected herself and on the Monday headed for Mayo - Ballintober abbey, Castlebar where my husband lived as a kid - looked much better than I remembered - and we stayed in old favourite Westport which was great to be in a hotel after all the mothers places & 'posh' camping (which in fairness was awesome too). Then Galway again and the weather declined a bit but was still ok and the run into the baptism. Great day had 80 guests, people said it was like a wedding. My stupid mother & aunt/my godmother  were late and missed the ceremony but we'll say no more about that! I was a bit hassaled about it but traffic in Galway is awful, much worse than Dublin & she misjudged it. Anyway.the poor baby was a bit overwhelmed by the 80 people and so I was very focused on her and I didn't eat a thing after all the work I put into the menu planning! (Same as my wedding so.) But others told me it was lovely :) And our mothers 'interviewed' everyone so there was a good buzz. A lot of people went back to their respective bases at tea time to settle kids (hubby took non kid people for dinner) and we reconvened sans kids at 9pm till 4am and had a mad one, so am glad we did that as the day part went by so fast.

The next day/week we had brunches & dinners with whoever stayed on or lived in Galway anyway and also 'did' Connemara. And then headed to Dublin, 1st night stayed in old friends place in Wicklow and then had 3 nights in a lovely 'non corporate' hotel in Dublin which was great as we even got residents bar priviledges for us & our mates till all hours on the Friday night. Well we took it in shifts to mind the bub so I was done at midnight but I think C was on the whiskey at 4am! We also had dinner in our own house one night as the tenants are mates and I went to someone elses 31st bday party on the Sat while C babysat (the toilet in a 2nd hotel we were in (which was horrible) fell off the wall). Visited some people who had good excuses to miss the baptism party incl C's elderly aunt & uncle who are also his Godparents. Then the bub & I went to Mum's again for the last 2 nights while C was in Galway and I ended up doing a massive clear our for Mum and filling a skip single handedly! 
 
Then Dublin for the last night staying in more old friends place and the Sligo Dublin train was an hour late so no change there then! Bub slept on the train table. Then 3 nights in Copenhagen, where we lived 05-07, staying with lovely Irish mates who have lived there 25/30yrs. And saw ex colleague and her 2 kids. When I left there 3 yrs ago there was no babies on the horizon for either of us and now theres 3 between us, funny how things change. Clothes shopping in Copenhagen is awesome, not cheap but we get the tax back as we are non eu so it's worth it for something different & quality. Got a great coat which there'd be no hope of finding here plus load of St Martins & Birger Mikkelson stuff which I love.
 
Baba again was brilliant on the plane in her bassinet but the 4.5hr layover in Bangkok was torture (for us), just the wrong amt of time, 8 hrs and we could have got a day room & slept, so next time we will do that. Or better still go Syd-UAE-Dublin and skip mainland europe and asia.
 
So we are back now & its spring and I should look for a job well I am half looking but we'll go with the flow on that. Need one at some stage and to get paid maternity leave (next time) which is finally coming in Jan 2011, so the rule is one needs to have been working 10 of the prev 13mths to the birth to qualify for it, so plan is get a job before I am 41 and get pregnant 2 mths later! Fingers crossed.
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