First view of Dublin. Gorgeous no? Why is it that when one travels one can’t quite sleep as one would like? Is it old age? Jet lag? Over-tiredness? What? I was knackered yesterday, and yet, I couldn’t quite fall asleep. Woke a couple of times at night. I had aimed to sleep till 9 am but 7 was the best I could do. Lolled around till 8. Called V and exchanged some romantic texts. Strange. But I think Pretty Woman plus being alone has some effect on me. Hope it lasts. Decided to have the full Irish breakfast, which was well priced all things considered. It was a good choice. Thought I’d be done in half an hour but I was there a whole hour. It was scrumptious. The best sunny side up, I’ve had. Dunno how they got it so thick and non-runny. And best sausages I’ve had in ages. Also, I took away a couple of muffins for tea. Skyped with the kids – who were super cute and chatty – and then tried to nap. Really I was so tired and part of me didn’t want to leave the room and face the rest of the adventure. But as expected couldn’t. So ended up wasting 45 minutes or so which I came to regret. And then when I went down, because I needed to call the guesthouse in Cork (which I’m glad I did because the lady sounded so unsure on the phone) I missed the shuttle and the next one was half and hour away (which made me consider how lucky I’d been to get the one from the airport right away). However, I got the Airlink into Dublin as soon as I got there, so that was nice. The niceness of the people too. Someone helped me put my ginormous suitcase on the upper rack as that was the only one left. The bus took longer than I’d expected though. And the wifi kept shutting off and I realised I’d forgotten the name of the baggage storage thing and couldn’t call up the map on GPS. However, at the last hour the wifi came on and I got the name. Turned out it really is literally 5 minutes away. Very convenient and super sweet man running it, who helped me find directions to the James Joyce Centre. Took the Luas to Abbey Street and according to my map and the rather involved discussions the guy at the luggage storage gave me, I shouldn’t have been too far away. I asked a lady at the tourist office and she said, oh yeah, up that way, so I figured it was a few metres on. I decided to go find a loo and pee, which was a good thing, but then I was horribly late. And it turned out my stupid Lonely Planet map was wrong and the James Joyce Centre was on North Great George Street and not North Earl Street. Had the map messed up the names or had the Centre shifted recently? I finally asked an elderly and very serious guy who was just standing around. He looked like exactly the kind of person who could turn out to be a horrible racist. Instead he was the sweetest person ever. He held onto my hand and told me the directions in this lilting voice, and then repeated them for good measure. Frankly, the repeat delayed me further, but seeing as I am really capable of getting lost (surprise!) it was a good thing. As I was parting, this other old guy said “do you want a better map than that one?” but I had to say “sorry!” and ran off. I literally ran the two blocks to the actual centre, having to ask for directions once again. Got there huffing and puffing in the nick of time though there were people signing up. Honestly, the centre entry is sooo discreet. Anyhoo, of course it was pissing down. The tourist guide and the whole group frankly was a bit weird. Noone smiled at each other, which is totally unIrish. But whatever the failings of the guide in the initial sociability department, the tour was excellent. He really knew the Lestrygonians episode really well and recreated it for us excellently. Even though we couldn’t get close enough to him due to our umbrellas, the patter of the rain and the general traffic, I could still catch every word. He brought old photos to show us how things would have been – in the rare cases where the actual building, or feature of the building, like the ball on Ballast House, was not there – and read out passages from the book. Honestly, if I had to read the book while taking a walk like this one for each section it would be awesome. Makes me want to read it again, to really appreciate it. Bit of my boot on Footsteps of Bloom Unfortunately, I had to shove off awkwardly before the tour ended, because I feared I was getting too late. I took a taxi to be safe and panicked at the luggage place when I couldn’t hear the doorbell ring. Luckily, the proprietor was incredibly nice and forgave me for the incessant ringing. Got to Heuston well in time, collected my tickets without incident, used the cleanest loo I’ve ever seen in a railway station, sat down and munched the muffins I had saved from the breakfast buffet, resisting the urge to buy anything else. Then, onto the train, where thankfully storing my luggage was relatively simple and the wifi worked. Alas, or maybe fortunately, I got super sleepy and nodded off. Irish countryside. Initially, I tried to keep awake to admire the Irish countryside, but it was pretty much green fields and the odd cows or sheep. Pretty, but dare I say it, California is prettier. How is that possible? I think dad with his ‘the most beautiful country in the world’ set it up too high. Disembarked in a very disoriented state, used loo and almost exited when I realised I’d forgotten my umbrella. Walked back to the platform and flagged down a guy from the train. If it was HK, he would have ignored me, but this guy stopped and when I said I’d forgotten my umbrella, he said which one and knew exactly which it is. Got it for me. Got a sandwich and toyed with taking the bus before giving up and getting a taxi, who knew the Killarney Guesthouse where I was staying. Killarney Guest House It looks rather charming and there’s a very sweet elderly lady at the desk. An Indian guy is helping out and gives me a hand with my bags. When I enter my room on the second floor, it’s the opposite of the airport hotel room feeling. This is a room I could live in. Alone. It’s strange because it’s not beautiful, but just very cozy and like something out of an old Bandra house, only the view outside is Irish. The bed is comfy, the loo is small but clean, the kettle works. And the wifi works. So far so good. Hope I sleep tonight.