It was 2005 that I went to Ireland - quite an extra ordinary story, which I will not dwell on here. It is St Patrick's Day celebrations that remind me of that extra ordinary time.
It is a looong story, but essentially I flew off along from Brisbane on andventure of a lifetime - via Auckland, and Los Angeles to London. I had been to Auckland some years before but the US and the UK were not on my 'places I've been list.' And travelling alone - enough stress before I left that I felt I was going to die, but figured if I died on the plane it would be OK. I was so, so stressed by it.
I had a 5 hour wait in LA before the next leg of my journey, and arrived in London mid afternoon, on September 3rd, 2005. I found my way around construction sites to a bus station and caught a bus over to Gatwick Airport, where I was to catch the plane into Dublin early the next morning.
I stayed at a crappy hotel near Gatwick, but as I had to be up at 4.30 am I didn't get much sleep. It was hot and very suffocating, as there was no air conditioning. Not happy!!!
Still, I made it safely to Dublin, and was met by Ian's cousin, who took me to his place. It was a Sunday.
I remember meeting his wife, and alter in the day, her family, but they took me to Phoenix Park, just near the city, and I marvelled in the Sunday afternoon activities there. We wandered through Farmleigh House (dubbed the most expensive B & B in the country), and through the farmers' markets at the back of the house.
It is a huge park, and somewhere in the midst the Irish Presidential 'palace' is. I did go back later, but really need to spend a couple of days there.
The following day I caught a bus into the city itself and wandered around - somewhat getting my bearings. I wandered around back and forth across the Liffey River, went to Trinity College, and in to the huge old library to see the Book of Kells, and then back through Temple Bar area.
I had arranged to hire a car, so the next day, I caught a bus into the city, and from there a taxi to the car high place. When I arrived there was a 'slight altercation' with some American lads who had pranged their rental car, so the folk behind the desk treated me with a little caution. In any case I eventually took off in the little Peugot 307, on the big adventure.
I managed to get out of the city before peak hour, but the traffic was already heavy, and not knowing where I was going was an added challenge.
However, I managed to successfully drive down to Waterford and on to Dunmore East, where I was to meet a lady I had met through 5W. Dunmore East was a quaint fishing village with a tiny harbour and the smallest boats I had ever seen! I had an Irish mobile phone, and I used the local pay phone (with some help from a local) but could not make contact with the lady, so in the end when it was getting dark, decided to find a B & B and stay the night.
Wise move. I did meet up with the lady the next morning, and stayed two nights with her.