If I were to describe my first impressions of Ireland, it would be like coming home and finding someone had moved the furniture around.
Dublin was delightful – with a quirkiness of it’s own. On every corner there was music – from a Ghanian drum band to a Stefan Grappelli tribute combo. We had to venture into a pub (surprise, surprise) for a taste of real Irish Craic.
My only sour note is on the cleanliness of the streets, I wiped my feet every time I went into a building.
The locals were lovely. And the gene for speech is obviously dominant in the gaelic genotype. We had some very amusing, intelligent and honest discussions on life, politics, ecology – and of course classic motor cars.
At first glance Ireland is in many ways like the UK – and of course the Irish culture is made familiar through the vast number of comedians and musicians they export around the world. They are far more ‘European Unionised’ than we are, with the Euro now instead of the Punt. On environmental issues they are certainly taking climate change seriously – and are already implementing adaptation strategies for the future.
For those taking a short break I would heartily recommend a visit to the Brazen Head – Ireland’s oldest pub, and the National Museum. We also did the Guinness World (I have to agree with one Australian wag who said it was a bloody expensive free pint…) and the Jameson distillery – slightly better value – although at the risk of being torn limb from limb next time we go I don’t really like either Guinness or whiskey.
I also highly recommend the one day Wicklow Mountains tour – our guide Damien must have been at least half Leprechaun, with a dry sense of humour, and a brain the size of his bus. A fascinating bite size chunk of Irish life and history.
Of course we had to have one evening devoted to the love of Astons.
Ken, a young engineer from Wicklow, drove his beatiful ’77 V8 into the maelstrom of Dublin traffic to take us out for a quite glass and a very pleasant couple of hours of chat.
I would have suggested we meet at this Hotel,
but I only discovered this on the last evening.
Not the cheapest place for a short break – but if ROJ is ready by then, Ireland is certainly a place to go back to for a longer holiday.
We stayed at Wynn’s a charming ‘traditional’ hotel just off O’Connell Street – quite good, but it fell down on details – the lintel of the beautiful panelled and brass lift was a scruffy old piece of wood, and the handle on the toilet cistern in our room was missing, the room – like so many in the UK too, was over-heated. Service and food were both unhurried and excellent.