I have always wanted to visit Ireland AND THIS WEEK I DID!
It all came about when a friend asked if we could bring some family belongings from family in Derby over to Ireland for them. Of course we jumped at the chance and liaised to sort out compatible dates.
It must be said that in my excitement I didn’t fully appreciate the amount of travel involved and how much it would affect me since having ME. Our journey began on Tuesday late morning when we hopped into the car, boot laden with our friends bits and pieces and our luggage. The weather was atrocious, high winds and heavy rain, I have to admit I squealed a few times en route to Holyhead as the wind tried to force us off the road on a number of occasions. The roads were practically empty as everyone else, it seemed, saw sense and stayed indoors. The bridge across to Angelsey was 20 mile an hour speed limit and even then it was lairy! Eventually though we made it and arrived at the Port ready to take the ferry. Due to the stormy weather we were delayed by 2 hours and the 3 hour crossing ended up taking 4. It was a bumpy scary crossing, we knew it was going to be a rough one when the staff started giving out sick bags even before the engines started! I was more than a little apprehensive as I have a history of vomiting on normal crossings ~ let alone rough ones. Thankfully we were booked into the “plus” lounge, so had access to comfy seats and complimentary food & drink. I have discovered that lying down totally flat and yoga breathing can get you through the roughest of crossings. That is precisely how I coped as the waves crashed against the windows and the boat lurched and rolled on the waves. On one occasion I had to get up to go to the loo and discovered to my embarrassment that I cannot control my legs when at sea. I staggered as if drunk across to the toilet, once there I nearly fell off the loo when we hit a wave and splashed myself when washing my hands so I looked as if I had wet myself. By the time I managed to get across the lounge from loo to my seat I was feeling horribly sick ~ the journey to my seat can only be likened to a pinball banging against paddles and obstacles until reaching the final destination. So the journey was spent (both ways) horizontal and green tinged.
Eventually the captain told us we were safely in Ireland and could go to our cars to disembark. On wobbly legs we found our car and made ourselves ready to leave ~ whilst waiting for the signal to start our engine we noticed at least 3 people frantically searching for their cars, much to the frustration of the ferry staff!
At last we were on solid ground and this was our first sight of Ireland…
We were tired but excited and headed straight to Malahide to see our friends, thankfully the journey this side was only about 25 minutes. After a catch up and unloading our cargo we were given directions to the hotel round the corner where our friends were putting us up as they had a full house already. They also gave us surprise tickets for Dublin bus tours, Jameson Tour, Guinness Tour & Book of Kells Exhibition. To say we were gobsmacked by their generosity would be an understatement. After hugs and goodbyes we went less than 5 minutes drive to our hotel, more than ready for our beds.
The hotel was beautiful, immaculately clean and vast ~ if it wasn’t for The Dave though I would be still wandering around the corridors trying to find my way out, it has to be said I have no sense of direction and the hotel was a mass of corridors.
Wednesday dawned and although windy and bitterly cold the rain was holding off. Our room and the dining room both overlooked the sea which was fabulous…
After a fabulous Irish cooked breakfast we took the short walk from hotel to train station in Malahide to take the DART to Dublin. We didn’t have to wait long and within no time were at Pearse Station in Dublin. Hop on hop off tour bus tickets in hand we headed out of the station to find our bus stop. Being tourists and a little discombobulated after our journey we couldn’t seem to find the bus stop & so starting to lose feeling in our extremities we decided to hail a cab and go to the Guinness Storehouse. It didn’t take long once in the taxi before we got to our destination (and passed two tour buses on the way ~ typical).
We moved up through the levels taking in the sights before arriving at the top to claim our free pints of Guinness and drink in the amazing views of Dublin…
After the Guinness Tour we ventured back out into the biting wind and hopped onto our tour bus and enjoyed several different tours of Dublin, the famine monument by the dock lands really saddened me ~ so beautiful and moving, a stunning monument…
We really wanted to try and fit in the prison tour but it was an hour of walking and standing, by this point I was on my knees so we decided to get the DART back to Malahide and have a bath & freshen up before dinner – we were wet, windswept and cold but had managed to pack in an awful lot into one day ~ and it wasn’t over yet!
After a power nap, on the recommendation of our friends, we went to Seabank Bistro for a fishy dinner.
I am happy to report I have been able to open my bucket list and tick off both visit Ireland and try something new to eat. I have discovered I like mussels and crab which I have previously been too chicken to try ~ so along with calamari, scallops and King Prawns I’m expanding my fishy pallet. I have to confess though that I whimped out when it came to the oyster, so Dave helped me out there. Mind you, I played cautious for the main course and ordered beer battered haddock and chips, Dave ordered the Cajun Hake with veggies ~ I was totally unprepared for the two ~ YES TWO ~ pieces of fish! In the end Dave ate most of the second piece, we shared the veggies and left the chips!
Well fed and too full to manage a pud we flopped and went to bed!
Thursday morning, the day to return to Blighty! We had a lovely breakfast and time to briefly go into Malahide ~ sadly not long enough for the Castle tour.
Malahide is beautiful (but pricey) ~ folk there are particularly into fresh air and exercise, even in Winter ~ at 10.30 at night they are playing tennis and football under the floodlights and pounding the streets walking dogs or jogging!
Finally, Ireland I love you and hope to return one day for a longer visit. I no longer feel like a potty mouth after hearing so many folk, of all ages, freely use the words fuck/fucking in every other breath! Somehow, out of the mouths of the Irish it doesn’t sound like a swear word!