“Let’s meet again next year”
As a courtesy to our Irish and US friends Ann Marie and Yogi, all the posts from Ireland will be written in english.
This is our first time, and we have not heard of others for that matter, who has actually followed up the famous phrase: “Let’s meet again next year”.
Last December, through a few comments to a picture on Facebook, four people made a commitment to that earlier made promise to meet again. Seven months later, some 50 emails back and forth and more time on Facebook, we are now heading towards Ireland to meet Yogi and Ann Marie.
We met Yogi and Ann Marie in Thailand a few years back and said good bye to each other in Laos a few weeks later. What a journey.
Our first stop was Oslo and the SAS Lounge at Oslo Airport. Marielle was afraid to be left outside the lounge, not being the required silver member. Luckily Vidar was that kind of member and he could bring a guest. Marielle became the “plus one” your hear about in certain invitations.
Due to an early flight that morning we had left the house without breakfast. But at the lounge they served free breakfast, accompanied with various of liquid fluids as milk, coffee, pour-your-own-beer and wine. It is good to be a simple silver member in the summertime. Because the lounge is normally reserved the gold and platinum members. But during summer and christmas it opens to the simpletons as well. In a relaxed atmosphere you can sit down, drink your coffee and read the newspaper in peace.
I mean, instead of arguing with the mums and the crying children that occupy all space at the airport or the ones who have no intention to follow procedures at the security control or the mass population that have no idea how to behave at an airport.
After a few hours in the air we could finally set foot on Irish soil. The automatic security control stopped Marielle and after a few attempts with the photo apparatus the security man in the glass cage shouted over the speaker: “Marielle ! Take off your glasses !” Marielle found this very amusing.
Yogi landed an hour before us and sat outside customs waiting. It was a warm reunion with our American friend.
We found a taxi outside the arrival that drove us to the apartment we had rented for our stay in Dublin. It was easier and faster than using public transport. It was also only a few euros more expensive. The taxi driver was a nice older man who gave us several tips on what we should and could do well as a general introduction to both Dublin and Ireland.
We had rented an apartment via Airbnb and we were pretty excited about what would meet us inside the door. It turned out to be a newly renovated apartment with all the necessary content. Two bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and a large living room. Mario had posted notes that explained how things worked.
We did not stay in the apartment especially long, as the city’s attractions were waiting for us. We were to meet Ann Marie later in the day, so we decided to explore the city on your own.
First stop was Smithfield, our closest neighbor. Smithfield is a renovated turf in an otherwise shabby part of town. We bought some sandwiches at fresh which we ate on the steps as the locals did. It was sunny and everything was arranged for a wonderful day.
The Old Jameson Distillery is also located here. But we thought it was too early for whiskey. It was not, however, too early for beer, so we headed to the Guinness Storehouse.
Since everything is in walking distance in Dublin we started walking in the direction we thought the Guinness Storehouse was.
Guinness Storehouse is of course a huge tourist machine: for € 18 you get seven floors of self glorification, one large souvenir shop and a pint of Guinness on the house. It was the beer itself that attracted us the most.
We walked the obligatory track where you get information about the water, barley, hops and yeast, in addition to brewing, transport and advertising. You can also learn to pour the perfect Guinness. After walking in line the first four floors we started to get tired, so we headed straight for the Gravity Bar. And then finally; a proper locally pint of Guinness. It’s said Guinness doesn’t like to travel, and it is absolutely true.
It was still a few hours until we were meeting Ann Marie, and one of the boys at the Storehouse told us we should kill time by visiting the Kilmainham Gaol. So, after the beer we headed for prison.
We discovered that not everything is in close proximity in Dublin. It is very possible we did not walked the tourist trail as we did not meet many people on the way. However, we came across The Old Royal Oak, one of the many pubs in the city, and we all agreed that a brief stop was appropriate.
The bar was clearly used by locals only, as the lonely guest in the room “stared” at us when we entered. Surely not many tourists who visited the bar. He forgot us quickly when several regulars arrived, and soon everything was as it should be.
Locals are fiercely protective of this gorgeous traditional pub, which opened in 1845 to serve the patrons and staff of the Royal Hospital (now the Irish Museum of Modern Art). The clientele has changed, but everything else has remained the same, which makes this one of the nicest pubs in the city to enjoy a few pints. – Lonely Planet –
We had to return to the apartment, before our encounter with prison, to meet Ann Marie. We chose to test the tram on the way home as we had walked all day. We did not know the stops, prices or departures, but hoped to come across something familiar during the ride. The machine on the platform spat out three tickets one second before the door closed. Just in time.
Back in the apartment we all fell asleep. Even Ann Marie took a nap on the couch while we all prepared for a friday evening in the Iveagh Gardens.
We picked up some curry chicken and fries (irish special 4 am kind of food) at Roma II and joined the rest of the crowd in the park. The reason for being there was The Vodafone Comedy Festival. This years line-up included Dara O’Briain, Russell Howard, Jason Byrne and David O’Doherty.
We had booked tickets to The Big Red-tent and the line-up was Russell Howard, Anthony Jeselnik and MC Jarlath Regan. The show was a blast, even though Jeselnik’s act was not appreciated by everyone. But if you don’t like dark comedy you should stay home.
After the festival we stopped at Ryan’s of Camden Street for a few pints. The TV was showing darts, Marielle’s least favorite “sport”. She got bored fast. We stayed for an hour or so before we went home. It had been a nice, but long day.