Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Geraldton Greenough - Issue No.: 489 Issue Date: 17 Sep, 2018

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The Emerald Isle and More.....

So the conference had ended and we had never been to Ireland.

We left England and flew to Dublin ready for a week of R & R. We had a rental car booked and, after half an hour of trying to find which company the rental was with, we located the Hertz desk and were directed to their office where we were given the keys to our vehicle, which was supposed to have a GPS. It didn't so back into the office and we got a Tom Tom.

We loaded the hotel address into the GPS and set off. About 5 minutes into our jouney to the hotel which was half an hour from the airport we missed an exit off the motorway. That was not good because by this time it was 5.00pm and traffic was very heavy. We were told to avoid the traffic in Dublin, particularly at busy times. Sufficient to say I have now experienced peak hour traffic through the middle of Dublin City and driven where even experienced Irish refuse to go. There were buses, taxis, cyclists, pedestrians, ambulances, fire engines and police to contend with as well as vehicles parking on the wrong side of streets and roundabouts everywhere with up to six exits. Two hours later, after ending up at the end of a cul de sac that the GPS told me I had reached my destination,we asked a local where the Hotel was. He happened to be an Italian Irishman so you could imagine how easy he was to understand, not. Fortunately he pointed us in the right direction and with a couple of landmarks as reference we managed to finally find the hotel.

We booked into the hotel and got our cases out and I tried to lock the car. The central locking wouldn't work. Again we thought about warnings we had received about pickpockets and car thieves in Ireland and realised something needed to be done, but not that night. We realised the only way we could address our situation in a suitable manner was for me to have a Guinness to clear my head. It worked well so I had another and after a while I found that the more Guinness I drank the clearer my thoughts were. The next morning was a different story because we had to take the car to the rental compant to address the issue with the central locking. Back into the city traffic and finally to the Hertz office where we were given another vehicle. What I have neglected to mention up until now is that the original rental was a Jaguar with all the fruit. Our replacement was a Volvo S60 which was a very standard model. Damn the stories about thieves in Ireland.

For the rest of the day Sue and I did the tourist thing in Dublin and had a good look around including using the Hop on Hop off buses. When we had finished looking around we decided it was easier to get a taxi back to our hotel rather than try and find our way without a map. A couple more Guinesses and the world was good again.

Next morning we packed the car and got on the motorway to Galway. They don't muck around over there and suddenly I realised that all the vehicles were passing me because the speed limit was 120kmh. That was pretty cool although visibility was limited due to heavy rain and the spray thrown up by trucks etc. Then all of a sudden there was a toll booth in front of me. No sweat because I had the correct money and threw my 1.90 euro into the dish. The gate didn't open and the cars behind me started to build up. I tried again but kept getting the message incorrect amount and the coins were going through. I ended up throwing another Euro in the tray and was able to proceed. Later I found the tolls will not accept copper coins. On our way again to Galway when I see a notice advising we would be approaching another toll booth and I realised I was not going to have enough coin to cover us ao we made an exit at the next opportunity. Probably a big mistake because we were straight into a roundabout with no indication as to where to go and no maps and the Tom tom had advised that the last update had been carried out 65 months ago. All of a sudden the road became a farm lane and there was no chance of changing our notes for coins. Turn around and go back when possible. We went back to the roundabout and took the next exit which took us over the top of the motorway and into another roundabout. We finally found a small town which made us think of the book "Angelas Ashes" Everything was grey and the buildings need a coat of paint, and it was raining steadily. The air smelt of coal smoke and everything appeared run down. We decided to grab morning tea so I got a sausage roll and Sue ordered a scone with homemade jam. My sausage roll was probably fresh once but didn't handle the zap in the microwave too well as the pastry was soggy and the sausage meat had shrunk to a small red hot plug. Sues homemade jam was homemade somewhere but not where we were. The cellophane container with the foil cap was a dead give away. It must have been pension day because the bakery was fairly busy and there appeared to be a large number of welfare recipients there. The reason, you may remember, for our visit to the small town was to get some change for the tolls on the motorway. Well, when I paid for the morning tea I asked if I could get some change and another person behind the counter,(not the person serving us) said "no, we don't have any change" Fortunately I was able to exchange some notes with our assistant and she was quite happy to give us coin in exchange for notes. Their issue was they didn't have any small notes so she was happy when I was able to exchange our smaller denomination notes.

Guinness - solves all problems!

Goodbye Angelas Ashes and on to Galway. Another toll and we were on our way. Still we had the issues with an out of date GPS but managed to find our way to the B & B where we were to spend the next two nights. We were too early to book in to the B & B so logged the location as home in the GPS and went for a quick look around Galway. Here we go again. Middle of Galway, tall buildings and the GPS gets lost. I felt like Captain Kirk from Star Trek boldly going where no man has gone before. The streets are even narrower in Galway and the same rules apply for parking, park where it is convenient and with a bit of luck cars can get past you. If not then never mind. When it was suitable to book into the B & B we made our way and found ourselves in the attic room three floors up. Fortunately Sue is not that tall and only bumped her head on the ceiling a few times. Once again it was nothing that a guinness wouldn't fix so we found a pub and settled in for a couple of bevvies. The singing was due to start at 9.30pm but we didn't have the stamina to wait and were back at the B & B by 9.00pm and asleep not too long after that.

This is turning in to a long drawn out story but I feel it is one that needs to be told because I don't think anyone would appreciate my committment to travel if I don't document this.

I will continue next week if the editor is agreeable.......

(YES! The Editor wants MORE! Brilliant stuff, eh! Only in Ireland! After reading about this stressful "holiday"/R&R,  you can see why I like Cruise Ships! Don't need a GPS to find my bed!! That Guiness must be good s**t!! -Doc)

Author: Peter Svensson

Published: 1 October, 2017


Meeting Rosters
Setup & Door
Setup & Door
Guest Speaker Host
Invocation & Toast
Raffle & Rotary Cor
Guest Speaker Thanks
Fines Master
19 Sep, 18
Laurie Dines
John Gooch
Lew Hills
Peter Sukiennik
Hugh Lavery
Robert Houwen
Graeme Bylund
Peter Svensson
26 Sep, 18
Viki Fennell
Steve Muir
Clark Scarff
Stu Watson
Kim Stokes
Peter Sukiennik
Grant Woodhams
Tim Duggan
03 Oct, 18
Geoff Watson
Ian Taylor
Zane D'Mello
Bruce Ralph
Paul Pirrottina
Ray Haynes
Phil Martin
Scott Bennett
10 Oct, 18
Glenn O'Brien
Kevin Watson
Michelle Mitchell
Jim Dillon
Laurie Dines
Geoff Wood
Luke Bayley
Ian Taylor
17 Oct, 18
Laurie Dines
Tony Emmott
Lew Hills
Peter Sukiennik
Hugh Lavery
Robert Houwen
Graeme Bylund
Bruce Ralph
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