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The Exact and Nice Journal of Stacey and Ryan's Journey Through Ireland

Stacey's notes are in italics, Ryan's in normal.

April 3, 2001 - Tuesday 6:50pm Atlanta

We've settled down to wait for boarding, and I've confirmed Stacey's suspicions that the reason that the morbid looking Delta Ticket Counter Woman asked for an emergency contact is because Delta has it in for her.

The plane is really big.

I hope it doesn't crash.

I don't think I know enough about Ireland.

Stacey says she's going to whine and poke me the entire 7.5 hours. I think she's kidding. I believe she'll be too busy reading "Cosmo". She's rated a "subtle seductress" in this month's Cosmo quiz.

12:30pm Ireland

We've debarked, deplaned, disinfected, and rented a Nissan Micra complete with a steering wheel in the wrong place. Severely tired, we've set out on a driving tour of West Ireland.

NOTE: The rentacar shuttle bus driver asked us about Atlanta's weather. When we replied that it was warm, he said "Well, it's cold and miserable here. Long, long winter. It's gonna keep bein' cold and miserable, too. Enjoy your trip."

7:00pm

Since 8AM, we left the Avis Rent-A-Car at Shannon Airport, and drove somewhat aimlessly up N18 through Newmarket-On-Fergus (where tonight's lodging, Dromoland Castle, is. They don't open until 3pm for check in), through Ennis, and, by mistake, to Gort. We continued, bleary eyed and not necessarily coherent enough to operate heavy machinery. Thankfully, our Micra automobile is roughly the size of a potted plant, though it handles better. The roads are regular two-lane size for the "N" types, but the "R" types are about the size of an Atlanta one-way, though they seem to handle two way traffic with a minimum of hair pulling. Cars here are small. Very small. What they might call an SUV here would be permissable for use in the U.S. as a Fisher Price toy.

We turned toward the ocean on R347 near Adrahan. Of course, we're just guessing on this. Street signs are somewhat of a luxury, and we covet them like RAM memory.

I should note that the one thing that managed to percolate through my sleep-deprived brain is the enormous, huge, spectacular number of rocks in Ireland.

Everything... is made of rocks.

Everything. I would not be the least bit surprised to see diapers made of rock, let alone soup. There are thousands of miles of rock walls everywhere. If I had a stone wall phobia, I would be dead now, and they would bury me in rocks, because that's what they have plenty of. There are hills, where there are perfect stone-wall shaped rocks just lying around, stacked 4 deep.

We continued along the coast, with a vague target of the Cliffs of Moher in mind. We stopped for the first time in Kinvarra and met a cat.

Then we were set upon by French high schoolers, so we continued our trek southwest - Burren, Ballyvaughan, down N67 to Lisdoonvama (called "Lisdoon" because, c'mon, who needs the vama part) which is s'posed to be the site of the Match Festival, but it didn't look like the place from the Janeane Garafaolo movie, so we continued to Doolin. Doolin is supposed to be a population 200 town (according to the Let's Go guide), all of whom either run one of the three pubs, or bed n' breakfasts, which every house seems to be.

In Doolin, we wandered around what would have been a tourist trap in the U.S., but the Irish seem to have no knack for it. while they seemto be attempting a Gatlinburg, they can't help but be authentic. They are constrained by too much history, I guess.

We stopped at Gus O'Brien's Pub, which served us an absolutely fantastic split pea soup (they called it "vegetable") with brown soda bread. But the real topper, that sealed my love for Ireland, was small bottles of Coke served with glass and ice.

So far, I haven't been overwhelmed by the legendary friendliness of the Irish. I guess because we were on the main throughfare, they're just bored with out of towners. We considered some Aran Island wool sweaters (2 for £70, around $90?) sold in Doolin, but decided to wait until the island itself.

Sheep. Are. Everywhere.

"£" are punts. £1 are coins. And to the best of my reckoning, £1 = $1.25. I think. 100p = £1.

Stacey took over driving, and got us to our objective: Cliffs of Moher.

I'm not usually impressed by vistas, but I think that's because I've never been to Ireland. The views are universally spectacular. And the cliffs are no exception. Words fail. Find a photo.


photo op, leaving Cliffs of Moher area

We continued on, through Liscannor, though we stopped for a photo op or two as we climbed away from the Cliff area. Lahinch. Ennistymon.

Ennistymon may merit another visit. It seemed a nice little town, and it wasn't mentioned in the Let's Go, so it may be rarely visited. Though I doubt it.

Ennis. And then to Dromoland Castle.

The Castle is luxury.

Our room sports many perks that I never thought of. the towels are heated on a special rack/radiator. the shower is by far the most wonderful ever. We played ping-pong. Not in the shower. In the game room. They also had snooker, but I don't know how to play.

We napped, showered, had a walk though a walled garden. Now we're off to dine in the castle restaurant. First, they need to fit me with coat and tie.


Dromoland Castle

Dromoland's garden

Stacey is excited that we get to keep the provided slippers, which she says is like "walking on pillows".

Upon our arrival at Dromoland, we met a porter who has been working here for 37 ("terty-seven") years. He was impressed at how light we've packed (although I feel we have taken everything but the kitchen sink), and informed us tht the castle was built in 3 phases: 1 in the 1700s, 2 in the 1800s and 3 in 2000. (Blech!) I guess 1000 years from now it will be impressive.

1:29pm April 5, 2001 Tuesday

We dined fine last night. In a "very fancy res-taurant" (as nephew Jovanni would say). There was a talented harpist. I say talented because, honestly, I don't know what an untalented one would sound like. She sounded fine.

The food was excellent, and the untensils were real silver. A note about the place settings: Not having eaten in very fancy restaurants often, the silverware ritual was new... at every stage they asked if we wanted X, and if we didn't, they removed the corresponding glass or utensil. In a way, I felt like we were being punished for not accepting their offers, like a toy being taken away for being rude. "No wine? Well, then, no Waterford Crystal for you!"

As the evening wore on, I grew more anxious at the disappearing cutlery, and at one point, I wanted to ask "Okay, what do I have to order to keep what I have?" Like some sort of game show.

The waitress and the front desk folks all end their questions with "yes?", even after you answer. Something like:

HER: So will you be wanting dessert?
ME: Yes, please.
HER:Good, yes?
ME: Er... yes.
HER: And what would you like?
ME: Lemon tart baked with Raspberry Sorbet.
HER: Lemon tart, yes?
ME: Yes.
HER: Good, yes?
ME: Yes.

We left Dromoland, taking our slippers and shoe cap (?). Stacey got up early for their extensive breakfast. Something about wheat germ. She'll comment. we traveled up to Galway and navigated their comforting one lane roads (always on the correct side). We encountered an actual split highway, although they still use roundabouts as intersections. I like roundabouts. (You can keep going round and round until you decide which exit you want to take, and nobody honks at you for taking too long... -ed)

We're in a pub in Galway's centre right now. Chicken and noodle soup and coke from the bottle. We're considering a show at what may be the only theater in town, not sure yet. We've got to check out Galway's Creative Loafing: "The List".

We just discovered the camera's light meter isn't working. I thought it might be the battery, and Stacey said "What battery?"

6pm 4/5/2001 @ B&B DeSota


Galway City

We solved the battery crisis, wandered the city, dropped into an internet cafe and spent 80p to send an email home. Mostly because Stacey needed to use the "toilet".

Cold, windy, rainy. It became easier to just be wet, because the umbrellas kept flipping inside out.

There's only one theater in Galway city, The Town Hall Theater. Some French people asked us if we knew where the town hall was before we knew it was a theater. We didn't know.

We're going to try to see "Miss Julie" so I can listen to people talk in that funny way that they do. That's the reason I wanted to go to Ireland anyway.

4/6/2001 9:30am

Last night we experienced Irish theater- although we were quite disappointed to hear only English and Swedish accents. The play was Strinberg's "Miss Julie" and it was almost as bad as most Atlanta theater. Although only 1/2 the price.

Last night westayed in the Desota B&B, run by Mrs. Margaret Walsh (she's very "grand"). Our room is small, yet cozy.

For breakfast, Mrs. Walsh served us cereal, soda bread, juice, coffee, tea,toast, egg, sausage, ham, black pudding, and 1/2 of a tomato.

Ryan is rushing to shower- as the boat to Aran Islands leaves in an hour. If we don't make it, which I don't think we will, we will continue up the Galway coast.

April 6, 2001 - 5:21pm - Friday

We are in the Ocean Lodge B&B, 1.5km outside of Tulley Cross, on the Rinvyle penninsula. I am stirring a cup of hot chocolate with a spoon that for some reason says "Aer Lingus".

We failed to get to the Aran Islands, but it's probably just as well. The weather was fierce cold and windy. We stopped at the ferry office anyway. They offered ferries over at 10:30, 1:30 and 5pm. It's best we didn't go, for the ride here took us every bit of the day, save a stop in Clifton.

We continued from Rossaveel along R340 we think. Along with severe lack of signage, what signs there were written in Gaelic/Irish. Apparently, this area has the most Irish speakers. We managed some town name translation ("They might be the same place... they both have a C in them..."), but mostly took turns at random.

We probably took R342 at Cashel over to Toombeola and down to Roundstone, where we got out. At some point, we stopped at a Texaco to get petrol. I have no idea how much I got- I know it was £17, but the rest of the gauges were a long stream of numbers, none of which had units.

I don't understand what number system they use here. Speed appears to be in Miles per hour, but distances are in km, except certain attractions say "1 mile on right" or some such thing. This penninsula (sp?) has been quite a trip. We entered this area with no street signs, no directions, and very little mapping. The only thing we knew was that the place was pink and had a certainview of the ocean (we had a picture). and that it was 1.5km from Tulley cross. although, we had no directions to Tulley Cross either, except that it was on an unlabeled road on the map, off of N59.

On the TV in the B&B sitting room is an Irish soap opera. they're talking about websites.

We traveled on backroads populated by sheep and cows, in spite of regulations keeping them fenced in (hoof and mouth disease regs). the roads were remote one lanes serving as two. All around us hilly, rocky, country side dotted with sheep painted red n' blue. Our car has pondered many theories as to the painted sheep: marked to show ownership (me) and painted so you can see them in the dark (Stacey). Of course, it could be rural graffiti.

We had stopped in Clifton, which was overrun with French tourists, although I don't know if they were the same ones we saw earlier in the trip. Probably not, there are a lot of French.

We broke down and bought a couple Aran sweaters, since we'll be leaving the area so soon. Probably the sweaters in Doolin were cheaper...

We had our usual lunch of Soup and Coke in Clifden (this is the correct spelling in english). There was lots of Irish on the signs,

Go Mall = Go Slow

That was the only bit I translated. In Clifden, I bought an Irish/English dictionary, and promptly there were no more Gaelic signs.

I'm hoping we'll see some more going back towards Galway on N59.

R341 - Ballyconneely, ballinaboy, Clifden, Cleggan, (off R341).

There was a nice guy in the sweater shop who was from Pennsylvania visiting family in Clifden. He seemed saddenned that we didn't have any family here. He said Clifden had some great pubs. The one we had soup in had too many French.

4-6-01 8pm evening.

We discovered a pub that doesn't serve dinner. So we'll have some Guinness. "Turn the subject" is what they say when they want to change the subject.

9:30pmish

We had dinner at a nice little restaurant whose name was in Irish, at a nearby town. Pangur Ban.

April 7, 2001 - Saturday - 6:38pm

Killrush. (Cill Rois)

Today I learned, or rather read in the English-Irish dictionary that "cill" in Gaelic means "church, churchyard, cell". This is the base word for all the "kil" cities, such as Kilrush. Rois probably means thunderclap (this town is on the ocean), although it could mean "burst of talk" or "spouting lies". Not the best names for a church...

We did some marathon traveling today. Starting from Tulley Cross, we stopped at the local Abbey, Kylemore, which is now a nun hangout and a girl's school. Some young students were manning the information centre, a french girl who sold us tickets and a red-haired Irish girl in a "USA" sweatshirt that sold us stamps. (The redhead was giving advice to the french girl - "Just stay away from the pubs... that's all I've got to say... -ed) The Abbey was nice. It was once owned by someone named Zimmerman from Cincinnati, who bought it for his daughter, a duchess. How a Cincinnatian ended up with a duchess for a daughter, I don't know, but maybe Cincy was a different place in 1903. In 1920, it was sold to the wandering nuns who had lost their digs elsewhere.

We made haste down N59 through Letterfrack (where the restaurant of the previous night was), Clifden to Oughterard, Rossahill to Galway. Down N18 through Gort to Ennis. At Ennis, we cut across R474 to Milltown, where we stopped for a horrid milkshake and tough chocolate chip cookie.

9:05pm

A music video show is on TV - "Ceol Ti're", which translates to folk music. They're playing Dwight Yokum, although the host speaks in Gaelic.

From Milltown, Stacey took over driving. Through some odd and untrackable twists and turns that may or may not have involved N67, we arrived at Kilkee.


A cow.

I was thinking during this leg that the movie car chase could not have originated in Ireland. At least, not this part. It would have been two cars, chasing down a single roadwith no intersections for miles. And they would have had to slow for sheep.

Plus, after four days and over 400 miles, I have only seen one policeman and car ("Garda"), so who would chase?

Kilkee was a resort town, where I'm sure many vacationers come. It was the most manufactured quaint we saw. The view of the ocean was fantastic, though.

We moved on down N57 through Kilrush (Cill Rois - Church Thunderclap, as mentioned) to Killimer, where we stumbled upon our B&B directly across from the ferry. The B&B is fine, but it's placement next to a tire yard and Texaco station taint it a bit.

The teenager who showed us our room was watching the Simpsons. The two TVs we've seen on in Ireland were tuned to Simpsons.

Flipping through channels, most of what I see are U.S. TV Shows and movies. The man at the B&B breakfast this morning, who was a Dubliner, said that Ireland's economy has picked up in the past couple years, thanks to an influx of Intel and Microsoft companies, stuff like that. He seemed concerned about the U.S.'s recession. "Ireland is dependant on the U.S.'s economy."

Maybe they should become a state.

We ate at a restaurant/bar in Kilrush, and then hung out in a pub (Crotter's). I asked for the restroom, and the barmaid said they didn't have one. One of the patrons translated "toilet." She thought I said restaurant.

Now we're turning in at the B&B. Tomorrow - ferry and horses? Dingle? We'll see...

4/8/2001 7:57pm

Today we awoke to surprise rain. We took the ferry into County Kerry. Because of the weather, we decided against exploring Dingle or the Ring of Kerry. Instead, we drove straight to Killarney where we spent most of the afternoon.

Killarney is a large (by Irish standards) town. Lots of pubs, sweater shops (I purchased sweater #2 from an Irish bloke with extremely bad teeth who kept apologizing for the 21% taxes we had to pay- yet assured us that we will be reimbursed at the airport). We ate at a local pub- I can't remember the name- I had seafood chowder and a glass of guinness. Ryan had mushroom soup and a coke. The rain stopped while we were inside and began again as we left. We meandered through Killarney and Ryan purchased a tweed cap which he looks adorable in.

We went into the local bookstore so Ryan could look up the history of the name "Lucas". Apparently, many stories abound. From what he could detect, Lucas is one of the oldest names in Ireland (1300's)- and there were Lucases scattered throughout the country (probably not related). Yet, despite the name's longevity, we still couldn't find any kitch prominently featuring the name.

At 5ish, we checked into our farmhouse - Inverary - and the host (Eileen and Noel) promptly served us hot tea and shortbread cookies. She also told us about a pub down the street that plays Irish music.

We ate dinner at the B&B (soup, bread, salmon, veggies & rhubbarb crisp) - out the back window we could watch the cows- out the front window - the sheep. Every once in a while we caught a glimpse of a dog as well.

We are going to try and stay another night. Explore the area if it dries up. Maybe the Ring of Kerry and horseback riding?

11:30pm

We've just returned back from a pub just down the street (down the street and left...). It was either a new pub, or at the least, a remodeled pub. It was very friendly and comfortable. There was a band doing covers of lite rock (Elvis, "Brown Eyed Girl", "Proud Mary", The Mavericks, Monkee's "Day Dream Believer") They were very nice to us Americans, which was us and three women from New York/New Jersey-Maryann, Kathy and Ruby. Ruby had a brand new camera that she used to take closeups of some tile.

Stacey made a friend. The most Fred Flintstone looking man since John Goodman. His five o'clock shadow looked as painted on as the Hanna Barbera folks.

Pat was very drunk and very Irish, and took to spinning every woman who would put up with it around the dance floor. Pat took Stacey for a spin twice and told her he was in love with her, and was very disappointed to find out she was on her honeymoon.

While they were dancing every local woman in the joint told me Pat was harmless.

We had a fine old time hangin' in the pub and chatting with folks. The ladies from New York were not as accepting of Pat as Stacey was, and the barmaid had to pull Pat away a couple times.

But we had a fine old time, and finally got a taste of what a local pub feels like. And I tried a cider, which is quite lovely.

Breakfast at 8:30am, off to sleep...


Stacey at 32 in Ryan's "adorable cap"

8:32am, 4/9/2001

It's Stacey's b-day! At 10:22pm Ireland time, she turned 32. That makes her twice the woman she was at 16.

This morning we had what we have come to discover is the generic Irish B&B breakfast: Cerial, juice, 2 slices of ham/bacon, 1 egg, 2 sausages, toast, butter (from Kerry), tea or coffee, and a half tomato, roasted. Optional: blood sausage, or black pudding, which sort of tastes like x-treme sausage. I can take it or leave it. Mostly leave it.

We stopped by a farmhouse nearby that offered horse rentals. Unfortunately, they were closed for hoof and mouth prevention. Until next week she said. "It's terrible," she said, "just terrible." Folks are really hurtin' because of this mess. Irish are mad at England for not being more careful... as evidenced by my co-worker being allowed to horseback ride two weeks ago.


Stacey along the Ring of Kerry

Disappointed, we headed on to the Ring of Kerry. This is a 118 mile trip around the penninsula. Now, we've been seeing mile after mile of scenic coastal and hill vistas (about 532 miles, as of this morning). So we were somewhat worried this trip would be pretty, but redundant. Turns out, the first leg (the northern side) has some quite spectacular cliff roads. Well worth it.

The second half was very nice, but very similar to what we'd seen in Galway or Clare.

We headed back to Kilarney for some soup around 2ish. We had soup in a thoroughly mediocre restaurant (I believe it was actually Wonder bread we were served.)


Marley and Carl

We decided to get a little horse action out of this trip, in spite of our kitsch misgivings. Our driver was a nice man named Carl and his horse was named Marley.

Carl said everything twice, since he knew we Americans would have trouble understanding through his thick Irish, and the wind. He said he had a brother in Florida. When we asked where about, he said he didn't know. The brother had moved there in 1954, and he hadn't heard from him since. But he said his brother had been a buggy driver here in Ireland.

We saw a nice castle that had been destroyed by the English invasion by Oliver Cromwell. It was rebuilt either seven years ago, or seventy. I couldn't be sure what Carl said, even though he repeated it 3 times.

The castle was very windy, but very castlelike. I would like to live in a castle.

Back towards town, we stopped at church, a cathedral, that began construction in the 1840’s, before the potato famine, and completed in 1912. During the famine, it housed poor folks.

St. Mary’s Cathedral. Seats 1400. It is huge… way high ceilings… maybe 6-8 stories.

After the ride, we thanked Carl and paid him £25.

We stopped off at a café and had some b-day cake and looked over some pictures we had 1 hour developed. The camera’s light meter had acted funny, so I wanted to make sure our pictures were coming out.

We headed back to the B&B, where we noted the number of French guests had doubled. We had a nice dinner of chicken, bacon & goat cheese(?), and then retired to our room to reorganize our packs, and ostracize our dirty clothes from the clean ones, and settle our sock issue. Turns out, Stacey DID bring enough socks. Whew.


Ryan in Cork

4/11 9:31am

Yesterday morning we woke and ate our traditional Irish Breakfast before heading over to Cork. Cork is an industry/college city (pop 130,000)- filled with pubs, restaurants and retail. We found our B&B (Aaron house) & decided to explore the town.

We stopped for soup at a pub across the street from the City Limits Comedy Club. There was a college/business clientele- I guess I know where the employed go on their lunch break.

We continued to walk around the city and it is, indeed, a city.

Lots of punk kids yelling things like "back off, fuck" and homeless people asking for $.

The city of Cork is very nice- lots of little alleys to explore. We stopped in a little chocolate shop for some hot chocolate and were served by a punk-looking, stinky guy. The hot chocolate was good.

As we meandered through the city, we kept a look out for theater improv. Alas, there was none. The Dance Co of Ireland was performing at the Opera House, but it was £40 a ticket (for the back). We decided to pass.

Then we found the Cork City Theater- an amateur theater company that doesn’t seem to know what play is happening next. "Plays are very expensive" we were told (in between the guy playing video games).

Then we went to the Half Moon Theater- nothing and finally happened upon the Grangary Theater. They were performing "Beowolf". We decided to pass.

We checked into our B&B- it is run by Kevin Flynn- a very talkative young man who recently spent his honeymoon in Florida. He’s never been to Blarney, yet called me a pagan for never visiting the Empire State Building.

Kevin was very concerned about us not getting a B&B in Dublin because of the Easter holiday. He was right. Ryan was unsuccessful at first, but Kevin found us a place. It has twin beds, but Kevin says it was the best we would do- so we took it.

After a nap, we headed to dinner. We came across the Everyman Palace- which had Glory Be To Thy Father playing. The posted reviews were good- but we were hungry so we passed.

We wound up at Clancy’s and had dinner. After dinner, a band called the Laughing Shamrocks were playing Trad. We stayed to hear them, they were quite good and we had some fine craic. We purchased 2 CD’s- one for Chris and one for Justin. The bar closed at midnight and we headed back to the B&B.

At breakfast, Kevin served us our Irish Breakfast (a bit burnt, but he warned us…) and we talked about hoof and mouth. He said it was hurting business already. He also asked how it was being protrayed in the U.S.

Today, we’re off to Dublin…


Stacey at the Castle Cashel

12:15pm – April 12, 2001, Thursday – Dublin

We did a lot of driving yesterday, about 3 ½ hours to Dublin from Cork, with a stop at the Castle of Cashel. It was a real old castle, and we bought some souvineer tin whistles.

After much aggravation, we finally found our B&B in a very suburban Raheny, right off the Kilbarrack stop on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit). We had been infused with a wariness of Dublin B&B owners by Kevin in Cork, which colored our view of that particular stay. I felt she was somewhat exasperated as we had to call for extra directions.

But, after settling in, we took the car back to Avis at the airport, and caught a bus straight to city centre…

Dublin is a very bustling and young city. Twentysomethings everywhere, who couldn’t be kept on the farm, or came from elsewhere.

The Temple Bar district, which may or may not have been named after the Temple Bar (seems it is…) (est. 1840) is hip, and since Stacey was craving pasta, we ate at a classy little Mediterranean restaurant (La Med) across from the actual Temple Bar.

There was a twelve year old with a fantastic voice singing "Stand By Me" and other such American tunes with a guitar on the street. Several street musicians.

We found the Ha’ Penny Inn, which turns out to still have Improv Comedy on Thursdays at 9:30pm by the Ha’ Penny Laugh, in spite of the fact that they haven’t updated their website since 1996.

Battleoftheaxe.com takes place there Tuesdays, and apparently it’s taped for TV. (A variety show competition).

We wandered around town for the better part of the day, and ended up at the Ha’ Penny to watch some soccer and enjoy a Guinness and a cider.

On the way home, we rode the DART with a thoroughly unpleasant family who would’ve been known as white trash in the states. The mother was very drunk, or, given the benefit of the doubt, extremely sleepy. She had fiery red hair and bruises on her face. Her daughter, about three or so, was very active, and mom had trouble keeping up. The father was engrossed with either a missing person or wanted ad he was carrying. Their 8-9 year old son called his mom(?) "that old bag" and told his sister(?) "don’t give me no cheek lass" and to the father(?) "why’nt you sock her?"

This morning we got up early and battled a complicated pay phone and a hotel clerk who couldn’t discern between "hold" and "hang up". We gave up on directions to the hotel and just took all of our 3 backpacks, camera bag and various parcels on the DART. We trekked to the tourist info and found the bus to this hotel. And here we are.

We’ve stripped down to the bare essentials: camera, map, and this book. Oh, and the ever-present "Let’s Go Ireland" guide.

To Dublin!

4:10pm

We discover the meaning behind the name of the restaurant we ate in Galway (near Tulley Cross) – Pangur Ban.

It is the name of a monk’s cat in a poem he wrote.

An Irish monk @ St. Gallen, Switzerland, in the 9th century. He worked on the book of Kells? Not sure.

"I and Pagur Ban my cat,
‘Tis a like task we’re at,
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night."

8:21pm @ Fitzpatrick’s, Temple Bar

The one thing we have noticed, across the board, in all of Ireland is… they take an enormous amount of time to bring you your check.

April 13th, 2001 – 9:57pm – Friday

The final day in Dublin before heading back to USA. This morning I watched a bit of "Let It Ride" dubbed into some language I didn’t recognize. And I saw some cricket highlights on the news.

Yesterday, we took the hop on-hop off bus tour, driven by a Peter O’Toole lookalike named Decklin. He would break into song every so often. Very funny. He said the writer’s museum immortalized those "drinkers with a writing problem."

Decklin referred to the infamous (and well-endowed) statue of Molly Malone as the "dish with the fish" and "the tart with the cart". Then he proceeded to sing the famous (and unofficial national anthem) pub song "Molly Malone" which Ryan assures me he will learn to play on his tin whistle. [Ed. Note – I have, in fact, learned how to play Molly Malone on the tin whistle. Mission accomplished.]

It was a nice overview of the city. We didn’t hop off, though.

We visited Trinity College, where the Book of Kells are kept, and where the mystery of Pangur Ban was solved, as mentioned. I didn’t understand why a 9th century Irish monk living in Switzerland wrote poems in English…

There were lots of old books in a two story library, and a horrid little computer exhibit about Gutenburg sponsored by Microsoft and Dell. It was terrible. But the books were cool.

We went to St. Steven’s Park, which was a… park. Lots of people were smoochin’, so we did, too. A fine park.

Then we walked around Temple Bar and saw the young kid playing "Stand By Me" again, but now he had two friends helping on a tin whistle. They weren’t as good as he was. I think that band’s going to be pulled apart by egos, sooner or later.

We also saw a mime named "Mr. Yellow", who is just like the Blue Man Troupe except… well, he’s yellow. In Ireland, mimes are yellow, I guess. It’s the little things…

We tried to find some info about Edward Lucas, who may have a statue in Dublin, according to a book I read elsewhere. I couldn’t find any further info, but there was a book listing all the Irish who came through New York port during the famine. I’ve noted that info earlier. £40!

We had dinner at Fitzpatrick’s restaurant (ho-hum) and then headed to the Ha’ Penny Inn. The improv started at 9:30pm, and we were seated at midget tables. The troupe was good for a barprov show. They played the usual games (we haven’t played Complaint Department in a while… we should). They played them tight and well. The MC was a guy named Justin, and Chris was the only other troupe member’s name I remember.

During the show a drunk woman got up on stage and wouldn’t get off.

When the players weren’t in a scene, they sat at the bar or a table and smoked and drank. Funny.

We coulda’ kicked their improv butts. Except they had cool accents.

Aftewards, we caught a cab back to the hotel and watched Dharma and Greg.

4/13/2001 Friday @ Pasta Fresca, Dublin

Today was a day where everything is closed. The Irish take Good Friday very seriously. We saw a man carrying a desk on his back, in some sort of reference to Jesus and the cross.

We also saw a Divorced Dad’s rally.

Saturday, April 14th 2001 1:18pm Delta Flight 128 over Portland, Maine

We’re monitoring our flight progress via the TV-in-seat feature.

Yesterday, Stacey was horribly sober. She was denied her Guinness and Irish Coffee all day long.

The bars were closed, as was the Jameson Distillery and accompanying tour, which we had foolishly planned for that day.

We stopped by the Dublin Writer’s Museum, and ironically saw a geniune replica of a Book of Kells. Also, a bunch of early editions of books by Irish writers.

My main hope for that stop was to purchase a copy of George Bernard Shaw’s play "Back to Methuselah", as I had seen the first three of the Metabiological Pentauch, and wanted to read the last two.

Unfortunately, it seems to be against God’s will for the bookstore to be open.

We did a lot of wandering through the city, stopping in regular bookstores, looking for GBS’s Methuselah and any helpful genealogical info.

I never found that book again where I saw Edward Lucas mentioned as having a statue somewhere in Dublin.

Since everything was closed, we decided to see how the Irish do movies. We went to the Savoy Theater on O’Connelly Street. The movie was £4 (matinee) and a big old popcorn and sprite was £3.25. Not bad.

The theater was huge, seating maybe 700-1000 people. They did the presentation old style with moving curtains, a break between the previews and the main show. The movie was Bridget Jone’s Diary. Good flick.

We had dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant, after we gave up on tix to "Good Mourning Mrs. Brown", the only theater going on on Good Friday.

Stacey was cranky because she couldn’t drink. A woman at the restaurant agreed that probably everyone in Dublin was cranky because the pubs were closed.

We watched a woman’s choir and full orchestra performing Handel’s Messiah outside the Handel building, which is where he wrote it, I think? Or perhaps he just bought a pint there or something.

Today we saw a front page photo of a girl who was watching the performance. We weren’t cute enough for the front page, I guess.

We also saw some street electric violinists who were playing a complicated duet while they were watching the antics of a drunk being arrested. The cop put his hand on the drunk’s shoulder and he fell over.

Apparently, he knew where to find good alcohol on Good Friday.

There was also a cool soap store. (http://www.lush.co.uk)

Stacey just told me Amityville Horror was filmed in Tom’s River.

This morning we took a cab to the airport, did some duty free shopping, and headed for home.

A very nice trip…

We’ve watched Family Man (Stacey), The Legend of Baggar Vance (me), What Women Want (both) and now I’m watching Red Planet.

We also watched a short film from AtomFilms called Pillow Talk, which turned out to be a documentary of my life with Stacey.

At one point, Stacey smacked me, but she was just drunk. Or so she says…

Stacey wants to check her email, so I will loan her the journal to do so…