I'm back!! I'm getting hassles for being so slack about my posting. Justified I suppose, but really, you should see where I've been living. Actually, I wish you could, Irish countryside is gorgeous. It's so stony compared to NZ, and I'm not sure whether it's good manners to hassle their roads or not. The thing I love about the roads in Waterford is the nifty green reflective signs coming up to a road off to the left or the right. They don't have that in Tipperary... (Different councils.)
So I arrived in Dublin on Sunday. I spent all Saturday night drinking with my cousin Glo's boyfriend, who's from Aberdeen, and was catching a flight there at half ten. We interspersed sitting on the couch watching bad tv (neither of us could be bothered bringing the dvd player downstairs) with trips to the local Tesco's. This was exciting for me, because not only was the place some kind of behemoth - when I went in earlier for beer I found myself instantly, and to my alarm, in the men's underwear department - but after midnight they have some kind of scan-your-own-then-pay-and-leave system going on. It was great! I have pictures of it and all - John thinks I'm mad (the chick on the screen showing you what to do looks like a sort of Tesco's version of Lara Croft). We scanned the beer, and placed it on the rolling thing where it was swept away to the end (tip for young players: don't drink this beer immediately on arrival at your house), and the sign flashed up telling me it was a restricted item and that I would need help (or something) with it. So I put the rest through, and paid with cash, and left. Brilliant! I know what I'd be doing if I were 15 and wanted to get drunk in Clonmel...
Eventually one of Glo's flatmates, Cary, and his mate arrived home, and starting drinking something that looked remarkably like anti-freeze, before Glo herself got off work - O'Keefe's, the pub we went to for the comedy. Then Cary decided that we were hungry, so he and his mate went off to Tesco's to play with the trollies and get some food. When he got back he cooked us all a fry for breakfast (never mind that it was 5am)! Superb.
Around 7:30am we decide that we should get on the road for Dublin (Glo hadn't been drinking, for anyone worried), so we asked Cary if he wanted to come along for the ride, which he did. For the craic like. I attempted, unsuccessfully, to snooze on John's bag in the back seat on the way up, but eventually gave it up in favour of being sociable. We dropped John off at the airport, and were moved on by an officious parking man, who is lucky that Glo and I wound up the windows so he couldn't hear what Cary was saying. Glo didn't want to go near Dublin city, and I didn't have a map, so she decided to drop me at the Red Cow roundabout, where I caught the Luas (rail system) in to town. Once there I discovered that I needed to go to O'Connell St. to catch a bus to my cousin Fay's place. To be honest now, I'm a little tired and I could do with a drink, rather than my huge suitcase to lug around, and I would have phoned her or her daughter Em to come and pick me up, but the battery in my phone has died. Grrr.
I know Fay's address, but she's out of town, and it doesn't feature on my city map (treasured possession!), so I lug the suitcase into Eason's (the Irish version of Whitcoull's), where the helpful lass says there may be a map with Rathfarnham on it. Fortunately there is, though she and Em laugh delightedly at me when they hear about it. The next problem is finding a bus, so clutching my map and a strong Kiwi accent I approach a newspaper man. Who has no idea. However, he says that his friend in the pharmacy next door may know. He doesn't either, but asks a customer, who not only knows the numbers, but where to catch them too (which is just as well, as I'm more than likely to catch it going the wrong way): just past the spire. Now, although I am wearing my glasses - the better to see the street signs with - I cannot see a spire. However I thank them all and cross the street. Just then one goes past, so I race after it, suitcase, cobblestones and all. I even manage to catch it at a stop (although an elderly gentleman warns me to "Mind yourself, there, in your condition", strengthening my resolve to find a gym as soon as I get to Belfast). The driver takes on look at my map, asks me where I'm going, and lets me know when to get off.
So I have been in Dublin for four days (I can work it out by the pints I have drunk), and this afternoon even booked a hostel in Belfast. Right now I'm off for dinner with an Irish friend I met in NZ. Bring on the pints!