Sad day for many reason as it was a day of lasts.
Last day in Limerick.
Last day in Dublin.
Last day in Ireland.
Last pint of Guinness in country.
Last day with my mom. That was going to be the toughest one for sure.
It was very cool to get along so well with a travel companion, especially family. We could talk away the time or just sit in silence when needed.
Of course, Ireland gives you many things to see and talk about, it is a great country!
We enjoyed our final buffet whilst flipping through the local and national papers. I only get to read newspapers when I’m at a hotel or at my parent’s house.
I wrote for my high school paper and I really should subscribe to a couple US newspapers to support them. The world needs honest and unbiased journalist, sadly both are dying breed as of late.
Everything is for sale, even the truth so watch out, be careful what you read, believe.
We packed up, turned in our keys and hit the streets.
Why do I say keys when modern hotels use cards that don’t work the 1st 3-4x so you have to go back to the front desk where they laugh while taking your card and only then remember to activate it. Haha very funny…
One more pass across the River Shannon and its calming waters.
We boarded the train and took our seats. Fairly full section, too, soon I was joined by an older lady just before we took off.
Older as in grey haired, cane aided, dressed up specifically because she was riding the train, that type of old lady.
She immediately noticed that I was a tourist and asked where I was from.
For about an hour, un-prompted she told me about the history of the area.
“You see all this wonderful, green land? 2 Englishmen have owned it since before my grandparents were here. We Irish are from here, we farm here, we live on land owned by someone else. Those 2 have the largest estates in the area. They meet up and decide how much money they’ll make the next year off our labours. Bah!” she said as she waved off to the window.
Yup, Irish hate the English, confirmed again!
She soon departed with a wave and, ” ‘ave a good day, lad.”
A short time later we pulled into Dublin.
Having a bit of time before we could check in, my mom felt it best to try a run at the airport, to see how long it would take from our hotel.
I’d done this a couple of times and figured that since we were staying at a major chain hotel they would have a free airport shuttle.
We located the airport bus and soon began the frustrating process of locating the specific pick up point for the shuttle.
You see, many hotels offered pickups and each one had carved out their place. Sometimes this place is marked clearly, most of the time it isn’t marked at all.
Adding to this madness is the fact that the shuttles don’t seem to have any set schedule, they just cruise by if they drop off someone.
We called the hotel to let them know, remind them, we were waiting for them. Us and about 10 other people, we told them.
It took over an hour before I grew really concerned they forgot about us, especially considering we were near other hotel chain pick up spots and they seemed to come regularly. Or more than once.
A couple of taxis arrived. One rolled down his window and asked if we were going to XXX hotel.
“Lad, get in the car, take the sure thing!” cried the driver. “Now!” he screamed.
We got in and I sighed. Waiting on a ride that is late is the worst thing. I felt the others pain as we sped along the highway.
The driver turned out to be friendly and even empathized with us. “Shuttle crapped out, so they had to call a couple of us cabs to get everyone. We have cars swinging by to get everybody, don’t ye worry!”
We checked in and headed to our room. I laid down on the bed, tired.
My mom had an early flight and needed to print out her boarding pass plus arrange for the shuttle to pick her up, very early.
We got to a computer and I waited for my mom to find her pass via email. She tentatively approached the keyboard.
“I don’t know how to use this. It isn’t how I usually get to my email at home. I have an icon I click that takes me there. I don’t know what to do…”
Man it sucks when you hit that age when you know something your parents don’t. The student becomes the teacher.
Luckily my mom could access the info via her phone so I told her to forward the booking email to the hotel to print at the front desk.
You see, a solution that didn’t involve raising my voice or belittling her due to her lack of knowledge. I just had to know what all we had and what we needed and the solution presented itself.
I knew I had to do laundry so I asked the front desk lady where the laundry room was and was surprised that they didn’t have one on site.
She directed me to a shopping mall area a few blocks away. Nearby that place was some eating options so I presented these to my mom.
We found the mall area and I realized I was going to need coins. To get change, we got a couple of drinks at a fast food place.
It was a bad joke, “You need coins for the washing machine because there isn’t a change machine, right?” said the surly fast food lady. She smirked and handed me a handful of coins.
I should’ve invested in a coin purse, wallet at the many markets I’d passed through. Change is a very necessary reality of overseas travel.
The washer dryer was located in a scenic parking garage, lovely place…
While my clothes were tumbling, somehow religion, church came up in conversation.
My parents are very active in the church of christ, a very conservative, evangelical branch of christianity. It was to the right of just about every other religion.
I’d stopped going when I was 20 much to the chagrin of my parents. I just had a lot more questions than answers. I also had fun.
It sucks arguing with someone who is so close and so into their beliefs. I guess I’d had enough of church letting me down, well for sure the people who attended always let you down.
I suppose others actions shouldn’t influence my belief and I am sure there is a verse or 2 about this very conundrum but I felt a lot better not going to church vs going. I mean, we are judged everyday as it is so why go to a place specifically to be even more judged?
Industrial size washers tend to take over an hour per cycle no matter what wash cycle you select. It takes a long time to wash and there isn’t much to do since the mall area closed.
I slung my clean clothes over my shoulder and off we set towards the promise of old Irish home cooking a short walk away.
We wound up only finding a Chineese takeaway. It was the worst meal I’d ever paid for.
It was bland and soupy, like moo goo gai pan but that wasn’t what we ordered. Ugh it was such a bad meal to end a nice trip. Bummer.
The night found us at the hotel bar, I was set on having a few pints of Guinness, my mom still concerned for my soul as well as my sobriety no doubt.
Now thinking about it, I was usually 2 beers deep most times of the day past noon on this trip. I could walk fine, probably shouldn’t drive a car, but could if needed. Is that bad? Probably not compared to all the pills everyone is on but hey those are prescribed.
I heard a story about a great uncle who was prescribed bathtub gin by his doctor, became an alcoholic. I also know a couple people who have survived cancer. Doctors can help or hurt.
We both had early morning, long journeys ahead of us. For some reason, my mom flew into Chicago for a several hour layover. I guess Austin isn’t as popular as I thought for direct flights.
I had a ferry ride that left at 7am! The hell Ireland! Some people are just getting to sleep at that hour.
Oh well, it would be quite worth it. Ferries are a wonderful way to travel, much cheaper than plane or train.
Next stop, Wales!
Sláinte Ireland! You are a beaut!
Song: U2 I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For