The last month has been utterly chaotic and all really good until Labor Day.
Hophead and I headed off to the Motherland… Ireland that is. He was set to race in the Single Speed World Championships (SSWC). This spurred on a nice little vacation for us. We started In Dublin headed to Cork, before Limerick for the race and finished off in County Clare.
Getting ready for this trip was made easy by the travel agent. This chick is a gem and we are incredibly grateful for her. Luckily, Hophead doesn’t get to stressed over things but he ordered a new bike frame with couplings special ordered and a bike box. This was all to arrive one week before we left but it didn’t. They confused him with someone else and hadn’t even sent it as of the 15th which is when it was supposed to arrive. I was crazy nervous about this and I think that is the most stressed I have ever seen Hophead. Little did I know… He had other stressors he was dealing with.
The bike finally arrived and he got it built with little trouble. We packed and were ready to leave for Ireland when 20 minutes before we left we found a HUGE branch down in the back yard. Hophead assessed the remainder of the tree and said we would have to call the landlord when we got back and have it cut down but it was fine. Who knew we would have an earthquake the next day.
We arrived in Dublin early the next morning and we were doing pretty well considering we hadn’t slept much on the plane. The plan was to check our bags at the hotel before heading to Guinness Storehouse but the hotel had our room available. Yay! I really wanted to clean up.
We headed off into Dublin ready to try my first Guinness AT the home of Guinness. Hophead was in the lead and I was glad he was in control. Guinness was very cool and we worked our way up to the Gravity Bar. Awesome views up there!
After the Gravity Bar we ended up in Arthur’s Bar for a bite to eat and another Pint. We were starting to feel the tiredness but our second wind came when Hophead suddenly got up and came over to my side of the table, dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him.
Then he pulled this gorgeous ring out and slipped it on my finger. He had it designed with the trinity on either side of the diamond. The Trinity is what we have… Love, Loyalty and Friendship.
I was stunned and was trying to keep from crying. I didn’t know what else to say. No one in the restaurant caught on to our big event. This explains Hophead’s other stressors prior to the trip. I guess this means I will soon become Mrs. Hophead, ergo Redhead.
After Guinness we made our way across The Liffey to the Jameson Distillery. We had to continue drinking. Hophead was selected to do a tasting and I know this was something he was looking forward to. After the tour we hung out a while longer drinking Irish Coffee, Jameson straight up, Jameson with Ginger Ale. At this point we had been up for over 24 hours, got engaged and all the drinking had us loopy. Thank goodness for the Spire of Dublin. This was how we found our way back to our hotel.
Once we had wifi, back at the hotel, I needed to get in touch with Ginja and let her know. I had friends calling her at the beach to get her on the internet on her phone. Finally, I just called her. We also started posting our engagement on Facebook and within minutes we were getting responses as well as seeing Facebook posts about the earthquake. Oh and get this… The earthquake took down that tree in the back yard… right into the neighbors shed.
We missed the entire disaster week with the earthquake and Irene.
The next night we went to see Flogging Molly in concert. We were smack dab in the middle of the mosh pit with the slam dancing. I didn’t want to be in a mosh pit so in my own way I kinda let them know this old chick was there and to keep away. I think I may have bruised one boy. Oops! He never came near me again.
Our next morning we were to pick up our rental car and head to Cork. The Cabbie gave us some directions and great advice. We were given the keys and when we got to the car we noticed it was pretty banged up. We checked the paperwork and headed back in just to make sure. The woman says to me, “Oh yeah! So you can bang it again and no one would know.” **Big Grin**
At least we were on the outskirts of Dublin and the directions the Cabbie gave us were great! We were on our way to Cork. I guess I should mention that we did not have a GPS. We were using maps and they weren’t very detailed for any of the cities.
Three hours later we were entering Cork. Now to find our B&B. The map we got with the rental car sucked so with the help of some of my other maps we were able to find the Kent House. It was nearly 4pm and we were starving. We immediately headed into town and found nothing but shopping. SHOPPING! We didn’t want to shop! We wanted food… With some pints!
Then it started to rain, as it did so often there. We jumped into the nearest pub we could find. We quickly ordered a pint and asked for a menu. They only had sandwiches but we were hungry. Hophead deemed this place a morgue so we paid our bill and went in search of a better Pub. We found Counihans Bar. We were enjoying a pint as the bartender and his friend Dennis chatted. We soon started chatting with Dennis and then his girlfriend, Siobhan, showed up. We chatted and drank with them for hours.
After leaving Counihans we wanted to get a bite to eat. I had seen a Thai place down an alley when we first started walking around. We found it and there was all sorts of construction. We were told the restaurant was open upstairs. This all felt so odd besides the fact that we were going to eat Thai food in Ireland. We were greeted at the top of the stairs but there was no one seated. We were offered a seat by the window overlooking the alley and when it came time to order the waitress told us she needed the number of what we were ordering. Pad Thai should be pretty basic but I got the number for her. A new waitress came out and asked us if we had reservations. We looked around at the empty restaurant and said, “No. Is that alright?” Luckily it was.
Just before our food came two different groups came in. The food was good and that was about the extent of our stay in Cork.
The next morning we were excited to have our first real Irish Breakfast. It was yummy but there was no blood sausage. We packed up and headed for Limerick.
Along the way we stopped and got a better map but still there wasn’t a lot of detail to help us get into Limerick City. We missed the turn and ended up at Bunratty Castle and Durty Nelly’s. I love that name Durty Nelly’s. The castle was unlike anything I had ever seen but also confirmed that I’m starting to develop claustrophobia. We had been checking out the castle when we found a small spiral staircase that led to the top of the castle. The views were AMAZING! More and more people were coming up so we decided to head back down. Mid way we came across more people coming up so we ducked into a small room.
The small room is where we met a woman from California. I had to take my jacket off and things were getting very hot for me. The CA Woman stood at the entry as a multinational traffic jam occurred in the spiral staircase. People tried to come in our little room but CA Woman would not allow it. She also was sure to let everyone know that they were making her feel road rage. One German couple did make it into our room and proceeded to block us in as they waited to go up. FINALLY, we were able to get out. Oh good heavens it was hot in there but Hophead never even took his jacket off, maybe it was just me… It was!
We headed to Limerick City to find our hotel with very little information. I knew it was on Ennis Road but that was about it. We took the Limerick City exit and after many round-a-bouts I noticed a street sign that said we were, in fact, on Ennis Road. See this was my job… I was navigator and reminder to drive on the left. Suddenly, we were right next to our hotel. Well that was easy! Where was our button?
Now to find our way to the race the next day…