We traveled from London to Dublin today via subway, train, ferry and taxi. It was quite a tiring day...until we arrived in Ireland! We treated ourselves to a taxi ride from the ferry terminal to our hotel and got a wonderful Irish fellow named Phillip Murphy as our driver. Note to self...when arriving in Dublin at 5:30 pm be prepared to see EVERY VEHICLE IN THE CITY on the streets. It was bumper to bumper the whole way. We had a nice chat with our driver all the way while watching the meter click up higher and higher. When we arrived our bill was €20.60. Just having landed, we only had bills of this currency...no change...so I handed him €30 looking for some change to give him a tip. He just took the €20 and gave me the €10 back. I said "But I wanted to tip you!". His reply...that ever popular Irish phrase "You're alright". What a nice start to our time here in Dublin. I LOVE this country!!
We check into our hotel and get an absolutely wonderful room on the 4th floor. The best part is that there's a lift!! No, actually the best part is that it's a huge room...twice the size of the one we had in London. It actually is a triple room, but we got it for the price of a twin. I really LOVE this country.
So...we get settled...it's 7 pm...what should we do now?? Well, we have nothing on the "schedule" until our free walking tour tomorrow at 11 am. (Yup, free. Have I mentioned that I like free? Oh, so I have mentioned that. Oh, a few times, eh?!) Off we go to get our bearings and maybe find a grocery store or convenience store. We walk what must amount to about 300 yards from our hotel...yup...not much more than that for sure when we spot this big old church that has been converted to a theatre. And there are balloons! You have to go into a building with balloons out front. That's what they put them there for...to grab your attention and draw you in. So...in we go. Now, there's no false pretences involved here. Fay was very upfront with the man at the door when she asked "What's going on here?" He said it was the 3 year celebration of this theatre and we were welcome to come in, have a drink, tour the facility and join the party upstairs. Huuunh...drink...party??? In we go figuring the drinks will be over priced and we'll not be there long. Naaahaaa...inside the door is a bar setup handing out these wonderful little green drinks called "In Earnest". Oh...did I mention...they were FREE! So through the facility we go and up and around we go till we reach this big open room at the top. Now there's a woman sitting at the entrance with a guest book to sign in. Okay...this gravy train is going to be pulling out of the station very soon, I figure. Now, we noticed that everyone who signed in before us were largely media...you know...Patrick McPencil from the Irish Times...Mary McMedia from the BBC...you get the picture. We figured we might have to fudge our credentials a bit. Fay MacQuarrie from the Fort St. John Standard...Katrina White from the Telegraph Journal. We opt to just keep it simple. Sometime mystery is the best policy...so we just sign in with our names and under company...we each write "Canada". Yup...that's our company...we're in the business of representing our country! Unhun...unhun!! So what does she say when she sees this...she says "Thank you for coming". We're IN!!!
There's a long table set up in the middle of the room. There's all kinds of food on it. It's all f...f...f...f...free!!! I'm in heaven. There's a bar set up in one corner with wine. And it's f...f...f...f...free!!! Okay, now it's making sense. Fay's nose for wine must have led us here. She can sniff out wine from a mile away...especially when it's free...apparently!! Now she's in heaven too!! We're eating...we're drinking...I finish my "In Ernest"...that's my fancy cocktail that I got upon entry. Fay is telling me how good the wine is...well...what the hell...I don't much drink wine...but it's free. The second glass tastes better.
Some women come over and talk to us. They noticed no one was talking to us and wanted to make us feel welcome. When we told them that we were no one important in Dublin Theatre Circles...but were, in fact, tourists just passing by...they got quite a chuckle and called us gatecrashers. When I told them I wasn't a fan of wine, really...they told me "ahhh, but free wine tastes so much different than wine". Ain't THAT the truth!!
We enjoyed a nice long chat with these women and were later joined by a fellow who also works with them. One was the producer of a theatre production, one was the director, and the guy was the actor. Unfortunately, we won't get a chance to see their show cause it starts the day we leave here.
We left the soiree at around 9 pm...wandered around the block to a convenience store for supplies, and then returned to the room. We have now seen ONE FULL BLOCK in Dublin...that's about 1200 yards...had a free meal and drink...plus made some friends. Can it get any better?? Let's see what tomorrow brings!!
Like I said before...I love this country!!!