Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ireland- Day 1: Dublin --> Carrick-on-Shannon

After a very long day and night (or is it night and day?) of traveling, I finally arrived in Dublin..the airport to be exact. Upon arrival, I found a spot near an electrical outlet to very slowly recharge my computer while watching episodes of Cougar Town (a show I just started watching on Netflix and think is really great- it seems to hit its stride around the Thanksgiving episode- JFYI). I had about four and a half hours before Amy landed and I didn't have it in me to figure out where to store my bag and head into the city and hit up the Jameson Distillery even though I really really wanted to! So I just got comfy there. Which doing at an airport is not exactly easy to do.

However, my eyelids just couldn't stay open anymore, so I moved to a seat in the corner of the airport and closed my eyes until it was just about time for Amy's flight to land from Milan. About an hour later, I shot up, thinking I'd missed Amy's arrival and wouldn't be able to connect. But in reality, I woke up with plenty of time to go and greet Amy.

Upon her arrival, we took the bus into Dublin only to catch a train to Carrick-on-Shannon. From there we hopped in a cab and went straight to the B&B. By 530pm or so we arrived and finally had a little bit of down time before we had to get ready and head over to the Thatch.

It was an exhausting day filled with planes trains and automobiles, but I know I speak for both me and Amy when I say it was more than worth it and felt really amazing to be in Ireland together. We've tried to meet up in Ireland before and it was clear that this trip was meant to be.

We arrived to the Thatch around 8pm not having eaten and not really knowing how we were going to make that happen. But since most of this trip was planned under the idea that "everything would fall into place", we walked over not giving it too much thought. We were the first to arrive and when we asked Percy where we could maybe order food from he told us to sit tight until Gene arrived as he'd likely want some food as well.

Percy was right (and I have a feeling Percy is always right). Gene walked in, said his hellos and then Percy let him know we were in need of dinner. Gene offered to go into town and pick up dinner, which was incredibly sweet. He walked out the pub repeating our order several times so he wouldn't forget "sweet 'n sour chicken, cashew chicken, fried rice. sweet 'n sour chicken, cashew chicken, fried rice. sweet 'n sour chicken, cashew chicken, fried rice." About 27 minutes and a few sips into our Guinness later, Gene came back and invited me and Amy into his bachelor pad house to eat with him.

It was adorable and I felt like I had to pinch myself to remind myself that I was in Ireland eating Chinese food in the home of the man who owns my most favorite place to be. He pulled out a bottle of wine, I groaned inside not wanting to mix my adult beverages, set the glasses down in front of me and Amy (switched mine with is because of a chip in the glass) and poured us very generous portions of red wine. We had a long conversation about the state of Ireland's economy (not good, according to Gene, and not surprising either, according to Gene), the Thatch (barely making it, but making it work) and possibly adding on a B&B upstairs ("Hard to know what to do. Hard to know what to do."). One bottle of wine and three empty containers of Chinese food later, off we went back into the pub for another memorable night at The Thatch.

As always, the Thatch did not disappoint! Amy and I had a blast and it was great to be back there. I saw some familiar faces and met a bunch of new people too. The highlight of the night was bartending for a couple of hours after Percy took off. I got the chance to perfect my Irish coffee and pull many many pints of Guinness. Still need to work on my Smithwicks, but I'll get there.

I danced, without even having to be forced up. Amy sang, after a lot of peer pressure. We listened to a ton of music- which I happily recorded via iPhone- and had just a fabulous night. I mean morning. I mean day. We shut the place down, as usual, around 3amish and then walked a new friend about a mile up the street to his car and then walked back. There wasn't another car out on the road (okay, maybe one and we all basically jumped into each other's arms in total fright) and the stars were out. I slept very soundly after getting barely six hours of sleep in a day but knew that 830am would come very quickly.

Here are some great pictures from our first night in Ireland at The Thatch

My view of the pub from behind the bar- where I felt right at home for the better part of the night!

Amy pretending to listen to P and Stripey Mike

One of my favorite people in one of my favorite places!

Favorite picture of the night (without people in it)- photo credit to Amy

As I mentioned on Facebook- my favorite man in all of Ireland. The one and only Gene Anderson

My plan is to try and get back to The Thatch before I join up with Amy in Budapest, but Gene shattered my world when he told me he wasn't planning on being around next Wednesday, but instead, was likely going to be in Belfast. So I need to figure out what my plan is. Regardless, I am happy for having another amazing night at The Thatch and to have been able to share it with Amy. I smiled from ear to ear for the entire night and was happy to just be there in the company of such a amazing musicians and genuinely interesting and wonderful people. And for that, I will always be grateful.


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