My Goodness. My Guiness

Trip Start Apr 23, 2003
1
4
Trip End May 18, 2003


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Flag of Ireland  ,
Thursday, May 1, 2003

Hi all,

Welcome to episode 1- proudly brought to you courtesy
of the British Airways Lounge at London Gatwick, as we
wait for our flight to Barbados mon.

For those of you wishing to avoid work here is a brief
look at out 5 days in Ireland. (I must warn though
that I kissed the Blarney Stone and hence my ability
to crap on incessantly has been lifted to Fraser-
esque proportions.

After 567 hours we got into Shannon airport and
feeling like shite we proceeded to join the worlds
second longest queue at the Hertz rental car office.
(the longest is people jumping on the Fevola
bandwagon)

Upon reaching the front we recreated a famous scene
from Seinfeld. Although we had a reservation there was
no car for us and we would have to wait at least an
hour for one. I explained that we had a reservation
and hence a car should be reserved. Jerry style I told
them anyone could take a reservation but it was more
important to keep the reservation. They were
unimpressed by my poor American accent and so I took
my pretzels and waited for an hour.

Driving in Ireland is not for the impatient. Traffic
is slow, there are no road signs or street names and
the |Irish are the most polite and patient drivers in
the world. They wait for anyone. They let people in.
If a pedestrian is IN Belfast but will be crossing a
street in Dublin the next day, the driver will wait.
Back home they would be met by a barrage of horns but
here everyone waits. They give way to anyone and
anything. Even small ants.

The other problem with the roads is that they are
quite narrow. And often people will decided to just
stop or park their cars reducing the width even more.
This causes much traffic as many towns are reduced to
single lanes by this strange behavior.

Apart from that (and Americans who still like to drive
on the right) the driving is great. The scenery is
scenic, and the views are viewic. (I just created a
word)

First day we drove to Galway via the magnificent
Cliffs of Moher and along a coastal road reminiscent
of the Great Ocean Rd. All was very green and very
lush and no wonder as every 30 minutes on the dot
there is a 5 minute shower of rain. Like clockwork.
Thankfully it never rained for more than 5 minutes and
it added to the driving experience.

A quick word on the radio. 3 stations- one was Gaelic
which played the type of music which made my tap the
clutch in time (causing Fee whiplash) and do a little
jig, Boyband FM and Old Farts FM.

Galway is delightful. A good pub scene which we joined
and had out first pints of true Irish Guiness.
Previously I have never been a fan but after a week it
has grown on me and it does taste different to the
stuff around the world. I was drinking it like water.
And lo and behold after a few it even gave me an Irish
accent (much to the chagrin of all around)

As it is almost summer (translation = less cold) there
is lots of daylight (sunset at 930 and sunrise at 5am)
and so far this has caused us to wake up by 6am every
day.

Day 2 (yes I am only up to Day 2...that Blarney Stone
works) we drove through Limerick (there once was a man
from Nantucket is comemerated by a big statue of the
famous man) to the Bunratty Castle.

Fee wanted to go there as it was built by the
McNamaras in the 1400's and she wanted to see if they
were any good so they could work on our house.

I can report there work is quite handy and they gave
us a good quote to add some turrets and a moat to our
house.

From there we went to a small town called Glin where
Nathan and Rae are living. Consisting of 6 pubs and
100 people it is a charming little town.


We had lunch and some pints in a tiny little pub which
was packed as there was the semi final of the European
Rugby Championships and Munster (named of course after
Herman) the district we were in were playing. It was
good craic (thats the Irish word for good time not
what you see when my father bends down) and it was
going off. After some Guiness so were we. The Irish
hospitality was extended when the bar owner made some
sandwiches for all in the pub. A good afternoon was
had. Leaving Glin we drove onto Killarney a town which
holds the record for most amount of B and B's in the
world. How they all survive is beyond me.

Another pretty town with a big national park in it,
with a castle and a church and lots of horse manure.

Up early on Day 3 to do the Ring of Kerry, a delightful
180 km trip around the county Kerry. Normally full of
tourists and buses it was quite and allowed us to do a
good pace and stop whenever we wanted to without being
steam rolled by loud Ameicans in matching track suits
(sorry Kat)

The highlight was a small town called Sneem which has
the coolest name of any place I have been. Say it.
Sneem. I live in Sneem. Welcome to Sneem. (yes fee got
very annoyed with me)

AFter the ring we went onto Blarney Castle. Very nice
(though as it wasn't built by the McNamaras it is
slightly below par). Climbed to the top to kiss the
stone (and as you can see it worked). Fee was a bit
scared as you have to lie upside down and it is quite
high but she did it.

As we were making good time we drove onto Waterford so
Fee could spend her life savings on Crystal. We
arrived quite late and didn't like the look of town so
continued onto a small coastal town called Tralee.
Unfotunately after driving 9 hours I was pretty tired
and there was an incident at our B and B. The driveway
was narrow and there were cars everywhere as I tried
to park 3 different people were giving me directions
so I ignored all of them and reversed into a pillar.
Bang. Doh. Cursing for the next 12 hours i was
relieved in Dublin that the Hertz man didn't notice it
and I got off.

Day 4 saw us up early to the Waterford Crystal Factory
which after much reluctance I actually enjoyed. they
serve an 8 year apprenticeship to become a glass
blower, cutter or engraver and the details they put
into everything is amazing. We purchased enough to
ensure I will never retire and headed to Oh My God
they Just KilKenny. Just coz I like the beer.

From there to Dublin which is the most frustrating
city for a driver as there is lots of traffic, all
streets are 1 way and you go around in circles. We
dropped of the car and went for a bit of walk before
meeting up again with Rae and Nath in Temple Bar. 12
pints of Guiness followed along with much merriment,
being thrown out of a pub for going behind the bar
and trying to refill my pint and other shenanigans.
Dublin is good craic. We stumbled in after 2am where
Fee took a very close inspection of the toilet bowl.

The next day we were very sore and sorry as we
traipsed around Dublin. First to Trinity College (aka
Hedgeburners) to see the Book of Kells, a manuscript
written in 805 by some monk dude. A good informative
exhibit and I felt like I learnt something (like dont
drink so much Guiness)

At lunch met up with Nath and Rae and drove around much
of Dublin (unintentionally) as we looked for the
Guiness brewery. Found it and spent a few hours in
there learning lots about Guiness. Here is a fact for
you. The CEO of Guiness in the early 50's was in a pub
(as all good Irish should be) and he got into a debate
about the fastest bird, there was no resolution. The
next week he got into a debate about birds again(he
was a boring git) and he thought there should be a book
which recorded such stuff. Hence the birth of the
Guiness Book of Records. Amazingly in the first
edition the omitted to make note of the fastest bird
this was rectified in the 2nd edition. Rob and Craif
you should be proud as it is the Canadian Swift.

Anyway the top of the brewery is where you drink and
it has great views of Dublin. The Hair of the Dog and
a great view goes well.

Anyway so now we are in London waiting for a flight.
For those of you still awake, well done. Free internet
does get the better of me.

In all Ireland is great, people are friendly, Guiness
goes down a treat and even their dodgy pub food is way
better than in the UK.

But it i time to substitute Guiness for rum. and 12
degree weather for 31 degrees. And my annoying Irish
accent for a Carribean accent. Yeah mon.

Ash
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