After much anticipation.......
The last part of the parent trip begins...
We stayed in Liverpool over night at a hotel very near the air port (only about 10 miles away) We decided that this would be best since we had a 6:30 flight. If you do the math, it would mean that we had to be at the airport for around 4:30 to ensure that we had enough time to check in and everything. Since I was in my OWN room with my own comfy bed mom and dad did not have an alarm. For some reason here they don’t think it is a necessity to have an alarm clock never mind even a clock in the room. Thankfully, I had my phone, dad however didn’t fair so lucky. He didn’t pack an alarm clock and his sun dial was not working because he didn’t get the international version when purchasing. He therefore, relied on the handy “European wake up call.” You ask, “how is a wake up call different?” Well, here they just knock on your door until you answer. Mom and dad had booked their 3:30 am wake up call. Around 3:50 I began to wonder why they had not come down to my room. When I knocked on the door they were still in bed! So within ten minutes they managed to get themselves ready and off we went, just in the nick of time!
Our flight was very good, but then again how could it be bad when it was only 40 minutes long! We arrived in Dublin and found our bus to the city and off we went! Dublin is beautiful! We dropped off our suitcases and went on a walking tour...I was thanking baby jesus that it was NOT the London walking tour again! Dublin and Ireland in general have such a history dating way back to the Vikings so there is a lot to see. The first thing we saw was the Dublin Castle, which in terms of castle’s looks pretty new. We also saw things such as Temple Bar area, Christ Church, a former Viking House, the parliament buildings (which design was copied by the US white house), Trinity University as well as the Ha’Penny Bridge. The Ha’penny bridge is that little white bridge that you always see in the post cards of Dublin. It is called this because way back in the day, they used to charge half a penny to cross. They figured it out and if they still did that they would make some ridiculous amount of cash. Perhaps this would be a good idea for Preeceville to consider as a way to make a quick million?? Maybe then we could FINALLY afford to get some kick ass kind of monument (similar to the one of our neighbouring town, Sturgis’ horse. Ha ha ha) Anyways, after the walking tour we went back to our hotel and called it a night due to the 3 AM start. Our hotel was another interesting adventure. This time, rather than me having to sleep in a cot, we ALL got our own bed. I booked a triple thinking ok, one double and one single bed. WRONG again. I don’t think i’ll ever master the hotel system here.
Day number two in Dublin was going to be an exciting right from the get go. It was the day that I had been waiting for through the whole trip. I was finally going to get to kiss the blarney stone! We went on a day through Ireland with a company called “Paddywagon.” No, we weren’t going to the local penitentiary like you may think. We got to the Paddywagon office ready to head out for the day. We met our tour guide, Colm, and the other two people we would be traveling with. There was only 5 of us signed up for the particular day, so rather than a big coach we got to travel in a mini van. The other two people we traveled with were from Vancouver, such a small world! As we started to travel out of Dublin I could already tell we were going to have an interesting day of traveling. I was sitting in the very back and couldn’t hear a thing that buddy said, which i was thankful for because I think if I was to talk I would have probably thrown up. You see, Colm had this issue. He did not know how to keep his foot on the gas pedal. I think he thought he was in some famous band and was the drummer hitting the bass drum. Up and down up and down up and down up and down went his foot. Dad counted once that he had done this 93 times in one minute. It was like riding in the wagon to hell. The winding roads and constant roundabout sure didn’t help. I, who NEVER get’s car sick was basically pukingi n my mouth and swallowing it over and over. FINALLY, the other girl asked Colm to stop. She got out and puked. Being good Canadian’s they had some Gravol packed. We all took some and continued. At one point I actually asked Colm if they had cruise control and if they did to put it on! Mom also asked him straight up why the van did that. He said it was him!
We first stopped along the way at a town called Cobh (actually pronounced Cove). Cobh was a MUCH needed rest and a chance for all of our tummies to settle again. Cobh was absolutely lovely! It had this huge church at the top of a hill that we checked out and it also had ice cream! YUM! Cobh was the last place that the Titanic touched ground. It picked up 123 Irish people who worked in the basement of the ship fixing it and what now. Only 44 of those people survived because, well, let’s face it, they were in the basement and everyone was too damn worried about Rose. The day that we were there was actually the day that the Titanic was, so they were having a memorial service for it. Neato!
We somehow managed to get to Blarney Castle after only having to stop and ask for help 90 times. It was Colm’s first trip to the Blarney Castle. We had about an hour and a bit to explore the castle to have my very own kiss with the stone! In order to get to the stone you had to walk up these meandering stairs that were really thin and shiny and almost slippery looking! At some points it almost looks as if you are not going to fit because it is so narrow. None-the-less, we made it to the top and voila, there was the blarney stone in all its glory. I was the first one in our group to brave the upside-down-hanging-a-long-way-from-the-ground-with-only-a-metal-grate-stopping-you-from-falling kiss. I was really surprised how far down you have to bend backwards in order to kiss the stone! Whew! The guy that holds you and pulls you back up really didn’t give me the chance/opportunity to have a REAL kiss with the stone, so I hope the gift of gab still caught. Again, mom didn’t want to do it because she was too scared, so again I made her the if-you-don’t-do-it-i’m-going-to-shave-your-head deal. I think me and dad both guilt tripped her enough about coming all this way and blah blah blah and she finally kissed it! So beware at the Ward house, we’ve got seven years of the gift of the gab! There’s no shutting us up now!
After a long day, I decided that I’d better sit shot gun to make sure that the van didn’t smell like puke for the rest of the day. This is when the TRUE entertainment began I like to think. Colm is best described as a 26 year old man trapped in a 13 year old’s mind – possibly the easiest person to banter and bug that i have EVER come across. The four of us younger people (sorry mom and dad this doesn’t include you) had many a enjoyable chat at the front. No longer was Colm going on about the scenery, but we got talking about non-important things.
Things we talked about rather than scenery..
1. Canada. Colm thinks that “Oh Canada” is sung to the tune of the popular Christmas song “oh Christmas tree” and thought that singing it over and over again would some how make it right.
2. Partying and good “craics” that we have been to and different traditions at each. Different drinks we like/don’t like.
3. The importance of driving a van that says “paddywagon” all over it.
4. The reasons for ending every sentence with “eh” or “hey”
5. Famous Canadians.
6. Different words we have for different things. For example, we say garage in a very sophisticated whay whereas they say it “garreee—ijj.” Perhaps the favourite of the day was the “bunny hug.” I don’t think that Colm would eve stop laughing about that. He now calls them “huggy bunny’s”
7. Gypsy Fights- Colm told us that often on small narrow roads on the country side two different clans will basically go at it. People park on the side of the road (similar to that of an auction) We were told that a lot of the gypsy’s drive big white vans and always dress in suits. Google “gypsy fight in Ireland” I did...it’s nutso.
Day #3 was the day we had chosen to go to the Guiness Factory. The factory was amazing, it was in one of the old buildings of the factory and they converted it into a step by step process into making the awful beer. The museum is in the shape of a giant pint glass and at the top is a 360 degree’s bar where you get a complimentary glass of Guiness. All I have to say is that I really don’t fancy a Guiness. I think they are actually a meal deal. You get full off of one because you basically have to chew it is so thick. I think I’ll stick to Bud, after all, it’s made out of rice! Guiness is made out of roasted barley and hops. We also learned that Guiness has a 9000 year lease on the land that the factory is on. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure Guiness will be around even AFTER the world ends.
Things I learned about Ireland
1. Roundabouts are awful. Rather than the standard 4-way stop they have these massive roundabouts. The faster go on them, the more of a hero you are. It reminds me of one of those wind up hot wheel tracks. You know, the ones that go around and around and eventually SHOOT OFF THE TRACK. Whew!
2. There are many pieces of castles standing everywhere because back in the day the new King thought it would be good to show people who was boss by just knocking down parts of the castle.
3. Fairy Forts. (forts where fairies live) They are a pile of stones with a tree growing from the centre. I guess the legend has it that if you cut one down or mess it up in anyway you die or have the worst fortune ever. For example, the Kennedy’s from the States had this piece of land that they wanted to sell, they cut down the fairy fort to get more money for the land. Think about the Kennedy’s, they died! Irish people say....”DON’T EFF WITH THE FAIRIES”
Overall, I loved Ireland. I think it is now my second favourite next to Scotland. The people all seemed very friendly and helpful. When we got home from Ireland it was time for mom and dad to pack up and head home back to Canada. Luckily, they did get back to Canada seeing about 8 hours later flights were grounded for the next week and a half!
It was an absolute BLAST to have them here and I’m so glad that I got to experience Ireland and some of England with them. I was sad to see them go, but in not to long I shall see them again!