My last and final day in Ireland. Got off the train in Dublin and rushed out of Heuston station to drop of my luggage. I had only an hour to do that and get to the meet-up point for the tour I had booked. The drop-off happened quickly, but I took a while to figure out the bus stop to the meet-up point. When I did, guided by friendly folk once again, the bus ride was extremely quick and I was there early.
I took a Sandeman’s free tour (where you tip the guide whatever you like at the end). It was a three hour tour and promised to hit all the main spots, which I thought suited my needs since I was pressed for time and couldn’t afford to do my usual getting lost schtick.I wavered over the tour quite a bit, and finally decided to leave it up to fate whether I made it in time or not, which I ended up doing.
The pros of the tour was that the guide was very into historical details, though he did use humour to keep the less, um, intellectually inclined on the tour happy. He also chose his stopping points carefully so that there was usually place to sit down while listening to him. The cons were that I don’t think we covered as much as we could have, and not in enough detail. Like we just got a glimpse of Trinity College, when I would have liked to go into the Long Room of the library. Maybe it was ambitious of me to expect that of a three-hour tour. There was also a bit of selling their other paid offerings, but that is to be forgiven given that they have to earn their keep somehow.
Trinty College. Was surprised how gravelly it is.
In retrospect, I probably should have stuck to my alternative plan of doing an individual tour of Trinity College and one library, and doing general wandering. Since my interest is literary, I feel I didn’t do enough darshan to the holy sites of great writers. I’m so glad I did the James Joyce tour on the beginning leg because otherwise I would have had major remorse.
I met a really nice girl while waiting for the tour to start and we hung out together throughout. To look at, you’d think we had signed up together, but in reality we had just met. When the tour took a break at a pub, we had our first Guinesseses together. It wasn’t half bad, better than beer anyway.
Sculpture outside Christ Church
After the tour, I had planned to catch evensong at Christ Church cathedral, where I heard the choir performs Handel’s Messiah for free. Unfortunately, we got there late but it turns out they don’t have evensong in the summer as their choir is touring. And they charge to enter the church which I find a bit rich. What if we wanted to go there to pray?
My newfound friend and I then went off to St Patrick’s Cathedral, where Swift was dean, to click a photo for my colleague in Hong Kong who is researching him. I would have liked to visit the grave but we couldn’t find it and anyway, I wasn’t about to pay to enter the church.
We then headed back to try and buy souvenirs and for some weird reason just could not find the Carroll’s shop we had spotted on the way to Christ Church. Finally, I bought a rag doll for Mimi and an Irish fire brigade for Nene at the Tourist Office. Said a hasty goodbye to my friend and rushed off to catch the bus back to the train station where I needed to pick up my luggage and catch the bus to the airport. I was rushing, but in the end, I made good time.
We had to actually get onto the tarmac to board the plane Never experienced this on an international flight.
Got to the airport in half an hour, and frankly could have spent another half hour wandering in Dublin. Hmph. But I guess it’s better than panicking because I’ve cut it too fine which has also been known to happen. I changed my clothes, and explored the duty free where I dropped some euros on Irish single pot whiskey and chocolates for the office and the helpers as well as two mighty slabs of Galaxy for me.
Was checked into my flight by the hottest guy, a David Beckham lookalike with an Irish accent that I still see in my mind’s eye and smile sometime. Suddenly, while waiting for my flight, I had a panic attack realising I hadn’t gone through immigration. After sitting around dithering over whether I should sit pretty and see if I was ‘caught’, or ask someone, I spotted the same hottie who had checked me in, and asked him. Turns out they don’t have immigration on the way out except for the flight staff checking your passport again before boarding, which they barely do. Heh.
And that, me darlings, was the end of my Irish adventure. I flew nearly 40 hours both ways to spend a total of four days in the Emerald Isle. And you know what? It was worth it.