Leaving on a jet plane
25/9/14 - 27/9/14
Final day of being tourists, and we were determined to make the most of it. Up and out of the apartment early-ish (early for tourists, anyway) and into town again, via the Mercy International Centre. Today the bus took us out to the Kilmainham Gaol for a tour and we learned about the prisoners, political and otherwise, who had been housed there. From people intentionally offending during the time of the famine in order to get one meal a day, to the political prisoners who ended up being politicians, there was quite a selection of 'criminals' on offer.
Lunch was at Fade St Social on the recommendation of Simon's telemarketer friend Kevin. Unfortunately Tiago wasn't working until later that night, but our waiter was essentially the Irish version of Anthony Callea. The meal was deeeeeeee-licious, a mouth watering assortment of local foods. So glad that our last proper Irish meal was of such a high standard - thanks for the tip, Kevin!
Time to wander the shops and soak up the atmosphere, and digest the dinner, and then we thought we'd explore Phoenix Park in more detail. So back on the tourist bus, where we consolidated our amazing knowledge of Dublin trivia. Bram Stoker's grandmother read horror stories to him as a child, and he married an ex-girlfriend of Oscar Wilde's. Oscar ended up in jail (tactfully undisclosed crime committed), while Jonathan Swift ended up the Dean of St Patrick's. He was thought to be mentally ill due to Meniere's disease, founded a hospital, was all for boiling children and feeding them to the poor, and wrote Gulliver's Travels as a scathing political commentary rather than light-hearted children's story. A descendant of Arthur Guinness paid for restorations to St Patrick's, and Christchurch was originally a wooden structure, until the Normans came along a replaced it. Factoid overload!
When we had finally facted our way to Phoenix Park, it had started raining. Quite a bit. Enough to make the idea of strolling about seem like rather a bad idea. Ice cream seemed like a much better idea, so for the sixth time we entered an establishment called Murphy's.
At last, it was time to give up on our tourist aspirations and walk back to the apartment and collect Hanz. With one final wave to Morris, we drove out to the airport. Hertz set a new bench mark for efficient rental car return, and we cruised through Dublin security. The airport seemed so quiet and small, almost like we were back in Melbourne at 3am. We had the compulsory pre-flight Mars bar, and then it was onto the plane for 21 hours (or thereabouts).
The flights were no more painful than would be expected - the usual combination of crying children, strange foods offered to you at strange hours, queues for the toilet, odd movies, feeling cramped and completely demolishing a good book or two. The highlight was catching a train between gates at Dubai airport - made the Belfast airport seem completely insignificant in comparison.
We arrived in Melbourne at an hour far too early to disclose, and again breezed through customs and security (obviously I looked much less suspicious this time around). Currencies were exchanged, and a bus to Ballarat found for Pat, and then Belinda, Simon, Neville and I were couriered back to Werribee by Sam. Not sure who was more excited to see us again - Di, Chuck or Ruby!
Time for a spot of faffing before heading home to Camperdown, where Neville made a triumphant return to Coverdale's place to watch the grand final with some of his fans.
And so we munched on little boys and party pies, watched the AFL and knew we were definitely back in Straya and the adventure was over. But who knows what the next adventure will be...?