Day 4 – Chill Day in Dublin – Tuesday 14th

Genelle and Mark are up early and walk over the Liffey, heading North to the statues that are related to the Irish famine. This resulted in Irish moving to other parts of the world en mass. Somebody said that the greatest export for Ireland has been its young people, they have left this beautiful place and distributed themselves all around the world, sort of why we’re here I guess – you know the wedding and everything.

The weather is grey, a slight drizzle, not cold but not warm. There is a breeze blowing

I escort Ken up to the Three Mobile shop to get their mobile phones sorted out with local numbers. We’ve got Lyca Mobile cards as that plan works better with more data for when we go to the continent next week.

This morning Ian and Marie Maidens arrive in at Blooms, they look busted after 20 + hours on planes. Jane is looking a lot better when I see her, Ken, Pauline and Phamy at the cafe where we have breakfast. I didn’t see her last night but I heard about it, so this is good news. Ian and Marie pinch a room and have a shower, ready for the next leg which is a bus to Belfast with the others. But first, they have to go back to Dublin airport for Pauline to return the pram she stole and hopefully get her own back. Apparently it was a trade down as well so not sure how she’ll go if the other person picks up that she has possession of a better and more expensive model pram. The joys of long distance travel with children.

The maxi taxi arrives, whisks them away and we’re again the only people from Dubbo ( that we’re aware of) left in Dublin today.

Genelle, Mark and I head off to the church of St Michans up towards Jameson’s, they have old crops under neath the church with preserved remains of dead people, very tasteful tourism I feel. The priest, we think he is anyway, takes the money and the tour, another Protestant church, apparently they need the money as the Catholics get better numbers and don’t need the money as much to keep their churches running ( That’s a joke if anyone from the Catholic mafia is reading this!)

We split up, Genelle and Mark go shopping, I head to Temple Bar and explore the art and book shops, just generally wandering the streets. I have coffee and apple pie at the Bad Ass Cafe ( a Rick Steve’s recco) and eventually back to Blooms for a beer and a rest. So while sitting in the Vat House Bar and listening to Slade thrashing out Mumma We’re All Crazy Now and other 70’s classics I review my notes and plan for the wedding on Saturday and write up the start of today’s blog. Might actually have something decent to post tonight. I wonder if sobriety stultifies my creativity? Spouse you have to have some to lose it and I feel that I’ve got none so there’s no risk of stultifying anything.

Things might get better when I get to the 2nd pint of Carrig Lager, I’ve given Guinness a break for a few days.

My observations of Dublin 2008 to 2018;

  • The place has gone ahead, there are new buildings every where. The GFC of 2008 and concern over Brexit ( even thought they aren’t part of UK)
  • The city is full of tourists
  • Lots of Eastern European accents heard on the streets
  • The airport is old and pretty dilapidated
  • Grafton Street is busy but really expensive with great busker

Genelle and Mark are back after an extensive walk and we then head up the hill towards a Saint Stephens Green. Some retail exploration takes place on the way, guess who!

After a long walk we end up back down the hill at Dollards on the Liffey for dinner, fish and chips are excellent. Tonight we pack and prepare for the trip To Belfast.

Cheers for now.

Paul

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Day 3 – Continued from where I nodded off……….

Where was I, it’s been a long day, having to come off the bench for non drinking travelling companions has taken its toll.

Ok where was I again…….

Yes, the hop on hop off bus. Before Jameson’s we stopped at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where apparently, Saint Patrick used a nearby well to baptise converts to Christianity. The church was built about 1220. Ironically it’s not a Catholic Church, it’s Church of Ireland a member of the Anglican Communion – whatever that means? Lots of interesting relics, but enough of that, let’s move on the gods of alcohol.

Then on to Jameson’s, what a professional operation there, we walk in get a tour organised for about €13 each which includes tasting and a free drink each at the end, that means I have to do 3 times the drinking as Mark and Genelle don’t drink. The guide is very good, a passionate young guy and he takes us through the process of distilling Jameson’s, and the differences between Scotch whiskey, American whisky and Jameson’s Irish whiskey. We have a tasting of each ( me x 3) then the free drinks in the bar ( me x 3) while Genelle and Mark leave me to it, on my Pat Malone at Jameson’s, tough work! A couple from New York join me, wonder if I look like a waif or just a lonely old drunk – either way it was a nice yarn.

As I wander back into central Dublin, via the Liffey, over the bridge, can’t remember which one, I feel that my steps are a little lighter, must be the soft shoes, the vision is a little fuzzy, must need to clean my glasses, I find it’s easy to sidestep errant pedestrians, must have my old rugby mojo swerve back, or could just be a little pissy on too much Jameson’s. Dunno what really but I think I can guess the answer.

Earlier news flash – Jane and Ken and Pauline and Phamy have been delayed with Jane carted out of Dublin Airport in a ambulance, she wasn’t tracking too well at the airport and ends up in hospital. They are back at the hotel when I get back, Jane asleep, Phamy asleep. What a fun day for them!

Genelle, Mark and I head down the Temple Bar for dinner. The place is humming, music coming out of almost every building, Guinness flowing, people on the footpath chatting, buskers, a lively place and fun fun fun. We settle on The Old Mill Irish Restaurant and Bar, it’s upstairs, and we have a good feed and some drinks, not cheap but reasonable for the area. After dinner we stroll around and watch the crowds, before getting back to Blooms at about 10.30pm. The head hits the pillow, I try to finish the day’s blog but sleep gets the better of me.

Tomorrow morning Ian and Marie arrive into Dublin enroute to Belfast.

Ciao for the day

Paul

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Day 3 – Dublin is a pretty fun place – Monday 13th August

After falling asleep a few times at the bar we thought it might be sensible to retire to bed. Good decision.

We were so bloody tired I couldn’t work out the shower controls, but managed a splash and dash before hitting the sack, shortly after sleep came and shortly after that the morning. We were ready to go early, not a concept that comes easily to me, but my travelling companions have it sorted and the sleep Nazi doesn’t let me sleep in.

First thing was breakfast at a little place, porridge, eggs and tea and coffee. The menu actually had “Flat White” but it was only a poor imitation of the average coffees in Australia. The scones looked good though.

We exited heading towards St Stephens Green, looking for a Lyca mobile SIM card. Apparently these are as common as the unicorn. I actually only found one late in the afternoon, about 50 meters from our hotel, this brought stern looks from the Sleep Nazi, who asked all sorts of questions that I hadn’t thought of asking the Chinese bloke who set the phones up. Anyway they work and we have Irish phone numbers, no, that’s not a joke.

We get on The green hop on hop off bus and do a full lap of Dublin, then back the St Patrick’s Cathedral, then Jameson’s Whiskey place. What a great place. We did a tour of their set up, then sampled some whiskeys, of course Genelle and Mark don’t drink

Part 2 in the morning. I’m too tired

Ciao

Paul

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Day 2 – Doha to Dublin

Where is Doha, you might ask, it’s probably not a well known place. It’s in Qatar, on the Arabian peninsular, not very far from Dubai, not far from Shiraz in Iran, not far from Kuwait. So obviously it’s an Arab and an oil nation.

Enough of the boring school lesson. The city of Doha off in the distance looks interesting, sea to the right of the city, I wonder if it might be interesting to break a trip and explore Doha for a few days? Note to self – check it out!

As we go outside to get into the bus to get to the plane we see the dust haze, you can feel hot desert air and I’m glad we are moving on, I want to see a bit of green with the warmth, should get that in Ireland I hope.

We have mixed lot of passengers, lots of brown skinned babies, about 70 Irish senior ( older than me I reckon) choir members who have just done a 2 week trip to India, thankfully they don’t break out in song. Surprisingly and thankfully there are no metro’s with waxed twirly wirly moustaches, and hipster clothing, and just a few with Ned Kelly beards and man buns – is this a sign I’m getting old? A g&t at 11am after breakfast is just what I needed!

The seats on the Boeing Dreamliner we’re on now are pretty cramped compared the A380, we’re really squished in, 6’4″ Mark’s knees are sideways and when the woman in front leans her seat back he can hardly breath. A quiet word from Genelle and the steward asks her to move it forward. She got Genelle’s gentle “fireside chat” look and clearly saw it was a good suggestion. Genelle has done pretty well so far, her behaviour has been ok, only minor food spills on herself, but the cramped quarters results in a milk sachet malfunction and she squirts milk over the seat in front and her table, accompanied by a loud “shiiiit”. It was probably overdue, and little damage done, a good job out of the way. The noise cancelling headphones results in her speaking VERY loudly sometimes, and my subtle hand wave suggesting she ” lower her voice” is met with a glare, but all that’s never bothered the people with the same genes as her, except Mark who speaks very gently and only occasionally raises his voice.

For me the news is good, no spills, no pain killers, knees are good, no pain other than needed a good stretch and walk around, but everyone needs that. I reckon I’m in way better shape physically for traveling than the last 2 or 3 trips.

Dublin for lunch, and a Guinness, we just have to get sorted to get from the airport into the city after we land, always interesting after a long haul flight when you’re all tired and don’t want to be bothered. Could be interesting. I think there are €6 bus tickets running every 15 minutes.

it’s raining lightly when we land in Dublin. We dismount the plane ( I know what the correct word is you grammar Nazi’s!!!), a €40 cab ride into the Temple Bar to Blooms Hotel where we are staying. Rooms are tired but great location. A quick rest, clean teeth, a bit of deodorant then out into the fray of Dublin for the afternoon. Genelle and Mark do as students tour of Trinity College for €14, I go walking and meet them back at Trinity. Amazing how much work has happened here in 10 years, the place has gone ahead.

We’re dog tired by 7pm so we head back to Blooms and the Vat House for drinks and dinner. Music is playing, great atmosphere but we dog it and head to bed, can’t keep our eyes open.

Tomorrow we’ll be right

Ciao

Paul

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Day 1 – Saturday 10th August 2018 – Dubbo to Doha to Dublin

It’s 9pm, and almost 12 hours since we left Dubbo. We’re finally on the plane, seated, refresher towel has been used, a babies still screaming, the noise cancelling headphones set up, movies previewed ready for watching when we get under way while listening to the emergency procedures in Arabic. There’s a small backwards shudder, this means the plane is off the air bridge and we’re close to takeoff. About 5 minutes late but a small burst of the afterburner and we’ll catch that up.

A recap on the day, not without a few challenges for one of my fellow travellers.

Genelle is up early, walks to the cemetery and leaves a fresh bunch of flowers at Tim’s grave, them home for breakfast and the final , final, final pack. To the airport, Mark is already there with Simone, Paul and Liz are there too, check in and then through security. Or not through security, depending on who has titanium knees now! Dave and Alison arrive and as we go through security check I set the alarms off, then take my belt and shoes off, then a scan with a metal detector then frisked by a smiling security person. It’s buckets of fun. A coffee and we’re on the plane, Sydney in no time and then over to International terminal to drop our backpacks off, train into Sydney, off at Central, bus to Broadway, lunch at a little cafe, shopping, it’s all going swimmingly well. Except Genelle has a bit of a headache, so does Mark. Drugs fixes Genelle’s head, but Mark’s yawning a sure sign he’s about regurgitate lunch and maybe a bit more. He looks green, so a short sleep on the grass doesn’t cure him, and Plan B Genelle organises an Uber out to Roselands to John and Annette’s. The Uber driver arrives promptly and we’re about half a kilometre down the road, near Sydney Uni Vet Department and Genelle calls the driver to pull over. He wheels into Sydney uni grounds, near the rugby ground, Sydney Uni are playing Gordon, and Marks on the grass outside the football ground with about 5 litres of spew in a plastic bag. Not a drop of chuck in the Uber, he’s a very neat spewer that Mark.

Our driver is very patient and pretty considerate and I think thankful that his Subaru Uber doesn’t smell like the vomit comet.

Roseland’s and 9 Katrina Place is a welcome sight, especially for Mark who’s eyes have rolled back into his head and face a greener green, the headache clearly has a grip on him and the good drugs are in our backpacks back at the airport.

A catch up with Annette while Mark sleeps, has a shower and gets his mojo back before Annette drops us at Birchgrove train station and the ride to International terminal.

We recover the backpacks, race through imigration without any security issues, much easier than Dubbo for me and my metal knees. Our Qatar Airlines flight is pretty full, very few spare seats, and unfortunately we have a screaming baby on the other side of the plane. It screams the whole to Doha, the noise cancelling headphones aren’t good enough to cancel the sound out, I’d like to suggest drugs to the parents but I guess that’s a bit inappropriate and not my place.

14 hours in a plane is a long time. I’ll say no more. But the plane is very new, very modern, service is good, the food ok and if you’re in economy that’s all you can hope for except maybe a few empty seats around you.

It’s 11.30 am in NSW and 4.30am when we see the lights of Doha. The map shows Shiraz and other names that tell me the right hand side of the plane, over a bit of sea is Iran.

Shortly we get a short break before the last leg from Doha to Dublin.

Doha airport is a beautiful modern airport, lots of seats, lots of shops, friendly staff. Much nicer to stop in than Abu Dhabi.

Ciao from Doha

Cheers

Paul

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1 Day to Go – what runs through your head before you leave on a trip!

IMG_0807Its the end of the week, tomorrow we get on the big jet plane, tonight we’re busy, work has ground to a halt, for me anyway. My head is already in Ireland, but the hair I left back in Australia a while ago!

So what does run through your head with a day to go;

  • Have I culled hard enough? The bag still seems to have too much, the carry on backpack seems too heavy and why am I taking all this on the plane with me
  • Have I got the money things right? For example, have I got enough cash, will the cards work when I get there?
  • Don’t forget the passports, wallets, money, tickets and vouchers, repeat it to yourself many times
  • What is the weather like over “there”
  • Remember to wake up on time in the morning so I don’t miss the plane
  • Be calm when asked lots of seemingly stupid questions by travelling companions

Day 1 Blog will be with you soon

Ireland here we come!!!!!!!!!

Cheers  Paul

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Back in May- Harry and Meghan got married – WGAF!

So, today (19th May) is the big Royal wedding day, and I don’t really care enough to watch it, the Waratahs are playing the Hurricanes tonight and that’s way more important for me, even though Harry is a distant relative via the Bowes-Lyon connections.

The Waratahs win and so I actually do watch a bit of the wedding. I can’t explain why I did this as I’m a republican and have no interest in them ( the Royal family that is) really, or so I thought. He seems like a bit of a “lad” and she seems like a good bird so good luck to them, but I won’t be reading the gossip magazines and trash newspapers for gossip on them.

Anyway, enough of that, on to the important stuff. We’re off on another trip again, 5 weeks until we leave and frankly I can’t wait. Flying Qatar this time, Sydney to Doha, then Dublin. A few days at Blooms Hotel on the Temple Bar, drive to Belfast, a wedding just out of Belfast, then a lap around Ireland, Berlin, Amsterdam, Bruge, Paris, London and home. We’re really looking forward to the wedding. About 47 Aussies on the loose in Northern Ireland for a week or so, watch out Ireland! The wedding MC job is sorted, sorta.

Alright, alright, back to the here and now. It’s Sunday 5th of August, a few days since my birthday and a week before we leave and we’ve been though a really cold spell of weather, spring is getting closer because I hear birds in the morning and the rain seems further away than ever. Harry and the Markle sheila’s wedding is old news now, the newspapers reporting the wedding have long since been taken from the bottom of the bird cages and mulched. Other news, the Waratahs didn’t make the Super Rugby grand final, the West’s Tigers are still a chance to make the NRL semi’s, the NRC (National Rugby Championship) starts a week after we get back in Mudgee.

Final planning for the trip is happening this week, the final pack of the bags and we’re outta here Saturday morning. There may be the odd blog post before we leave or on the trail to Ireland.

So are we excited, you bet, until the next post, ciao from Dubbo

Paul

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