Friday, 11 May
Woke up with a start with the wind howling around the hotel and whitecaps breaking on the tide. It was 5:30am—exactly when I’d been getting up at home, so somehow I managed to acclimate in one day. Thank you, massage. However, this wind … I might have underestimated the Irish weather vis-à-vis my wardrobe.
I’d been checking the weather forecast as I planned what to pack. I know May in Ireland can be cool … and sometimes it can be quite springlike. But this was wintery weather! However … I did at the last minute throw in my tried-and-true favorite travel accessory: a black quilted knit zip-up vest with a high collar. (Best part: pockets, lots.) Thank goodness. In the meantime, we were snug in the hotel with not a lot on the agenda except to recover from a long trip.
I just love the breakfast dining room of this hotel—did I say that already? Dutch people to my right, Pakistanis to my left (and he was “Stuck in the middle with you,” Gerry Hampson said). But seriously, the Pakistani cricket team was staying in the hotel! So was the Irish cricket team. There was a big match on Saturday; everyone was watching the weather. Would it be canceled? Postponed? In the meantime, those Dutch folks were dressed like golfers. (And according to the American man in the elevator that morning, yes, they do golf in this weather, God bless ’em.)
After breakfast we went out to Malahide to get bottled drinking water, postcards, stamps, teabags, Listerine, and a shirt for Gerry to wear with his suit. We also ended up with things we didn’t necessarily come for: an Orla Kiely purse for me (a birthday present!) and goodies from Donnybrook Fair, an upscale supermarket. As we drove ’round looking for a place to park, I was reminded that the wind and rain stops no one in Ireland. Everybody was out: moms with toddlers in strollers, ladies who yoga, and on and on. Oh, we bought books too. I always come to Ireland with a list of titles I can’t get on the other side. 🙂
When we went out I put on a thin long-sleeved T-shirt under my spring-weight pullover sweater, then zipped that quilted vest over all. And it worked fine. We stopped along the Malahide road on the way back to the hotel to take photos—
—and the winds were gale force, no joke! But I wasn’t cold.
I’d brought work to do, so we went back to the hotel to hang out, work (me), and make arrangements to see my niece Alli and her husband Sabas—who live in California—for dinner later. They’d been in Ireland for five days or so sightseeing before the wedding we were all here to attend. Now they were staying with Gerry’s nephew Eoin and his wife Tracy for their last few days, so we went and picked them up. Went to the Goblet for pub grub because it was easy, and had a delightful time. They are such nice people!
I did solve a botanical mystery from a previous trip: I’d seen these bushes in Co. Clare and thought they were gorgeous. When I found them in Dublin, I took photos. Now I know they are Pieris “Forest Flame.”
Saturday, 12 May 2018
After all that wintry bluster, we woke up to a gorgeous day … and we heard at breakfast that the cricket match was ON. Traffic was getting heavy even mid-morning, and we’d heard Mick Jaggar was there too. (He was.)
The wedding venue was about an hour away, out in the very rural country (like, one-lane roads rural). It was an absolutely gorgeous location.
Nice things about the wedding: the food was good, and we were seated with Ashling (Richie and Isolde’s daughter) and her husband Damian, as well as Alli and Sabas.
Otherwise, as I said earlier, there was some family weirdness, and we were not only not welcomed, we were snubbed. And that, really, is as much as need be said. It makes me sad to report this. We got back to the hotel around 10:30, 10:45, completely exhausted.
Sunday, 13 May 2018
We slept late, had breakfast after 9am, which is unusual for us. Stayed in and worked all day with the doors open listening to the ocean. Just a relaxing day.
We have a camera on the front door at home, and when it’s activated, Gerry’s Apple watch dings. Even when the watch is in Ireland. Sometimes it’s the wind, sometimes it’s the UPS guy, but Gerry swears he knows when it’s Spot the cat … and he goes and lets him in. We now have multiple video snippets from those days of Spot on the front porch, staring woefully into the windows by the front door, as if Gerry will be there any minute.* We had a good laugh over that.
Around three o’clock we started talking about supper. The food is good in the hotel but I just like to get out. So we talked about McHugh’s in Portmarnock village but decided we wouldn’t be able to find parking. From there we thought about trying Malahide, and Gerry brought up “treats,” so we thought we’d try to find a spot to park near Donnybrook Fair (location of aforementioned treats) and walk to a restaurant. This all took half an hour because we had to look at menus and trade ideas and banter back and forth. 🙂 But half the fun is in the anticipation, right?
So we drove into Malahide, and the whole town was packed. (Probably the aftermath of the cricket event.) A Sunday afternoon would be slow at home, but not here. We knew immediately there was no way a parking spot was going to appear, though we did drive around a little, hoping. Then we drove back to Portmanock village, which was dead, and bought treats at the gas station (yes, I admit it), and ended up eating supper at McHugh’s after all, parked a couple doors down from it. Sheesh.
This was our last night in Portmarnock; tomorrow we’d be moving into the Dublin city centre for a different vibe altogether.
*But don’t worry—we have a wonderful pet sitter who checks in on our pets several times a day.