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Breathe, Breathe in the Eire, Episode 2

My mother didn't mention cannibals

semi-overcast 20 °C

Now where were we? Oh yes, at the abandoned car hire, with our spacious new Hyundai Santa Fe. The five of us stood there, breathing in the Eire, marveling at our trusty steed. (Giggle giggle), did you guys bring enough luggage, whispered Nikki? My Dearest, would you be kind enough to explain to the Giggler that we always travel this light whilst I pack the car? Besides, the iPod battery was dead and that should make things considerably lighter.

My keen organizational skills were more than a match for the tiny boot. It was a mere 14 hours later that we all managed to pile in and prepare for takeoff. Dearest, would you change places with me? The steering wheel has been placed on the wrong side of this vehicle. Of course Honey Bunch, I was wondering how long it would take you to notice. Nikki, Phil, and Greg quietly laughed their asses off in the back seat, trying their hardest not to mock the driver in whose hands they had placed their lives. Right, seatbelts on everybody, I’m going to make a break for it. I peeled out of the lot in fourth gear (damn left hand stick shift will take some getting used to…), and effortlessly drove over two meridians, one Volkswagon Beetle, three pedestrians, and made for the M1, or whatever the name of the damn highway was. Aren’t they all the M1 over here? You’re not in the US anymore Beerman, eh, exclaimed Greg. Phil had long since passed out from lack of oxygen in the back seat; hands clenched on the seatbelt, and was quietly drooling on his shirt. No, (giggle giggle), we have different numbering systems here, came the voice of reason. You’ll want to bear left and head north up R132 which is Dublin Road, and continue ahead trying to not hit anything whilst finding Nevinstown West, then turn right at Nevinstown Lane and there is your hotel, the lovely Tulip Inn. A short ride later, there it was, the lovely Tulip Inn. I pulled into the car park, narrowly missing several bicycles and some stray sheep, and ceremoniously parked in front of the reception door, with only one wheel fully placed on the curb. This was easy; I can’t wait for another 10 days of this. I popped open the boot just as the bellman came out of the front door. He could barely contain his enthusiasm at my excellent parking job, so much so that he and Nikki joined together in a harmonious chorus of giggles. With a typical sense of Irish humor, he asked if we were to stay for a lifetime. Say, you don’t have a sister in the States who works at the airport, do you? Very well Sir, I’ll just be off to find a lorry to mule your baggage up to your room. Please kind Sir, they are not baggage, they are our friends here to make merry with us in your fine country. Very good Sir, but I was actually referring to the 4 metric tonnes of expertly packed luggage haphazardly jammed into the back of this very sturdy Hyundai Santa Fe. Ha, yes of course, I knew that. Lead on MacDuff. Amusing Sir, but MacDuff was Danish, my name is Hector, please follow me. Greg was kind enough to fish the emergency oxygen bottle and mask out of the boot and revive Phil, and we made for the reception desk. Hardy adventurers we were. The baggage lorry deposited us at the counter, and the friendly clerk began with “Welcome Sir, here for a lifetime, are we?” This joke was getting old fast, but onward we proceeded. Arriving at the luxuriously laid-out room, I tipped the 14 bellmen and settled in to unpack. Unpack? No, we have to get downtown, chimed Phil. There are pubs awaiting us, and this adventure has only just begun. Right then, let’s be off…..but first, a tinkle. I’ve been holding it since Chicago, and I need to make room for the upcoming Guinness. And so we all tinkled.

Cramming back into the car, we set off for downtown, eager to consume mass quantities of black gold and see some sights. Now (giggle giggle), you’ll want to bear left and head down the R132 again, at the roundabout, get onto Swords Road which turns into the N1 E1, past Trinity College, then right onto Upper Merrion Street until you hit Baggot Street (and when I say “hit”, I don’t mean that literally), and there we are at Foley’s Bar!!!! My mind was reeling. I had been occupied breathing in the Eire, but these new directions were nigh more than I could handle, so I just punched it, lurching out into the unknown. It was surprisingly easy driving in Dublin, and the fact that the Hyundai could effortlessly drive over nearly any obstacle made it all the more enjoyable. I could scarcely hear the panicked screams coming from the back seat. “NO, BEAR LEFT, NOW RIGHT AND STRAIGHT AHEAD.” I could get used to this. It was a mere 36 hours and 485 km until we reached Foley’s Bar. Now the real challenge lay ahead….finding a parking spot. Again, the trusty Hyundai was up to the task, and I casually parked atop a small Fiat with a small red “L” pasted on the back window, just 3 miles from Foley’s. Damn Learners, learn how to park, out of my way if necessary. Right then, it’s cocktail time. A short stroll, a few smokes, and we were there. Foley’s Bar is one of those charming Dublin pubs that makes you feel at home almost from the moment you walk in the door. My compatriots found a nice table for 46, and Phil and I sauntered to the bar to purvey liquid refreshment for us all. Good day my good man, I’d like 40 pints of your finest Guinness, I proclaimed to the barman. “Oh, yer Americans then, exclaimed the kind Sir”. It was to be the mantra that followed us along our entire adventure on the Emerald Isle……oh, yer Americans then. Apparently, I had “American here” tattooed on my forehead. Perhaps it was my garb. Not a lot of Hawaiian shirts on the Emerald Isle.

Dublin had recently adopted a “no smoking in pubs” policy, which forced us to step outside every now and then for a quickie (so to speak). It was during one of these breaks, while Nikki was furiously texting Jason about where we were, that the man himself made an appearance. My Dearest and I were marveling at the sights and sounds around us, the bustle of urban life all around, when Jason came walking up to us, fag in one hand and mobile in the other. You Beerman and Isadora, he asked? Indeed we are my good man, but sorry, we’re fresh out of spare change. No you git, I’m Jase007, and I’m here for the meet-up. Phew, that’s a relief; I thought you were another beggar asking if we were Americans. Come inside, let’s drink!! And so we drank. And drank. And chatted. And drank some more. The barman had given up asking if we were Americans and simply brought pint after pint of Guinness. I believe we spent somewhere in the vicinity of the Gross National Product of Bolivia that night just on drink alone, with some pub grub on the side. Still, the evening was a success, as it only took us 4 hours to convince Nikki and Jason that it was indeed Foley’s and not Doyle’s where we were to meet. Perhaps the alcohol had dimmed our senses, though I had not seen any chickens of late, so I knew it wasn’t my travel deficit disorder. I blame Sir Arthur Guinness, and as I am a fellow brew master, I can do that. We brew people are an odd lot.

Late into the evening, we dropped Greg off at his hostel, Phil back at his apartment, and Nikki back at her home. Jason was on his own. Miraculously, we didn’t hit much of any substance on our way back to the hotel, as drink driving is considered a no-no in Ireland, especially if you’re American. My Love and I drifted off to sleep with little effort, quietly anticipating hiking throughout greater Dublin in search of the perfect pint. Oh, and meeting more wayward TPers. That would be good too.

Stay tunes for Episode Three, wherein we do indeed hike for many kilometers and search every pub on every block for that elusive perfect pint. You may now return your seats to an upright position and stow your tray tables. Thank you.

Posted by beerman 09:11 Archived in Ireland

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