Ireland - Day 12, April 26

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7:53 am
The morning is bright and there is a lot of haze along the coast which is only about 1/4 mile away.
Except for the haze, the sky looks completely clear.

9:21 am
Breakfast of cereal for Susan & full Irish for me
music is trad with lots of uillean pipes.
Owners here 6 years
pretty pony house
took panoramic
email panorama & chief impressions
I highly recommend Sheepwalk House.  It's a beautiful house (evidently largely rebuilt by the McCabes) and the McCabes are very friendly people and excellent hosts.
Jim completely rebuilt the pony house into a self catering cottage.  We took a walk through it on the way out and I certainly wouldn't mind staying there someday (although I might have to find a way to keep going in for Jim's breakfasts).
Regina McCabe asked me to send her our impressions of Chief O'Neill's.  Her daughter had seen it or stayed there and didn't care for the minimalist decor.  We were actually looking forward to it as a change from the rest of the trip.

10:36 am
Susan's driving
we're off to Avoca to email
That's something that's really nice about Ireland (at least, nice for Internet dependent tourists).  There's some kind of public Internet access just about everywhere.  In Avoca it was in the library which really wasn't much larger than a typical gift shop.
We sent off a few emails to the family and left for Dublin. 

11:01 am
Leaving bk
Ballykissangel.  I know it's not, but it is.

11:09 am
Getting gas. Full service twice. Should we tip?
This was the second time we'd had someone run out and start filling up our car.  Unfortunately we didn't think about the possibility of tipping until afterwards.  It just doesn't happen over here.

11:12 am
On the 11,hauling.pretty hills to the left outside Arklow. The sheep laying down look like caterpillars.
Signs: Heavy plant crossing, Dangerous bridge ahead
(on road) Slow (how slow?)
The sheep really did look like fat caterpillars.  When they're laying down you can't see their legs and with their black faces, they look like something that a bird is going to swoop down and grab.
I made a note about the signs because some of the signs in Ireland are quite humorous.  The heavy plant crossing was a good one as I immediately pictured a huge (heavy) plant crossing the road.  Dangerous Bridge was one where what was dangerous was the fact that there was a sharp curve as you crossed the bridge.  The bridge was quite tame.
We would also see signs telling drivers to go slow (often when construction was going on) but never how slow.  Most drivers seemed to ignore those signs.

11:52 am
On the outskirts of Dublin. *sigh* no more scenery
No more scenery.  We've entered the city.  We also had to deal with the fact that we didn't have directions to the hotel and most of the drivers on the roads were actively trying to kill us.  All in all this was a bad time as we tried to get to Chief O'Neill's.

1:52 pm
Here. Nice room, no view.
The only thing we could see outside our room (until the following night) was the unattractive square, but the room was very nice.

2:27 pm
Bar. House beer, Maeve's crystal
the house is somewhat bitter, but good
Time to get used to noise again. Both Susan & I are having to repeat ourselves a lot because it's noisy here. Welcome to civilization.
Do you get the idea we weren't glad to be back in the city?  It was nice to have some of the amenities available in a large city, but getting used to the drawbacks was a bit painful.  Having to talk louder was one drawback that we noticed immediately.  We'd become used to lower ambient noise over the previous two weeks and our general speech volume had decreased without us really noticing, until we got back into a large city.
While we were sitting at the bar, we borrowed a yellow pages and wrote down some of the dance stores in walking distance.  A bit later and we were off hiking/shopping.

4:20 pm
Looking for dance stores in dublin 1
We didn't have any luck finding what we wanted at the first two so we set about going to one which a friend had recommended.

5:28 pm
Fay's, we're buying 3 pair of shoes.
We went to the address listed in the phone book and found a dead store.  At first we thought we'd wasted all that time until I went to the corner store to ask if they knew what had happened to Fay's.  Fortunately they had a flyer for the new location (evidently they'd been there some time) and gave us directions.  A bit later we were in the store.
We were surprised to find that it wasn't strictly a retail store but rather the place where they actually make the shoes.  When we walked in, there were two men in the rear 3/4 of the shop, working on some shoes (there was also a heavy scent of glue and other chemicals). They do keep some shoes on hand for walk-in customers to try on but don't keep extras that may be purchased and taken away.  Had we known, we probably would have set aside more time at the beginning of the trip to run by.
As it was, we set about talking with one of the men and trying on several pair of shoes before placing our order.  With luck, we'll have the shoes three weeks after placing our order.
We were extremely lucky that we arrived when we did as moments after we left, they closed the store for the day.

8:26 pm
O'Neill's bar
Rum & coke, Smithwicks
Guinness casserole, veg plate
2 baileys for dessert
We staked out a table and had dinner, drinks and played cards.

9:06 pm
band is warming up
fiddle, uilleann pipes, concertina, guitar, flute
I wish there had been an unobtrusive place to get up and dance.  *sigh*  There wasn't.  The band was good and my legs really wanted me to get up and move around.

9:50 pm
There are step dancers performing for a group downstairs.
Our counterparts in Ireland (meaning, some dancers for hire) had been booked to perform at a special function.  On my way back from the little boys room, I ran into several of them heading for "backstage" to get ready to perform.  I spoke briefly with one of them but unfortunately didn't think to ask if they did Ceili dancing (I later thought about trying to get them to join us for a set).  I wasn't able to run into them again before they finished their performance and left the building.

10:26 pm
Back in room.

 

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