Home again, home again

I’m back from the west of Ireland. I was sorry to leave. I had a wonderful, music-filled time.

I’ve already filed my music travel report over at The Session so if you’re interested in Irish traditional music, that’s the place to catch up on what’s been happening in Miltown Malbay.

If you’d prefer a more pictorial impression of the past few days, I’ve put together some pictures of my time in West Clare.

The weather was lovely and mild the whole time. Jessica and I took advantage of the weather and the scenery. We started each day with a five mile walk down to the beach and into town. When we got back to England we heard about all the really bad weather that hit the south coast. I’m glad I missed it.

The trip started with a bit of an upset. When I got to Heathrow I realised that I had forgotten my passport. Someone just kick me. Technically, a passport isn’t required for travel between the UK and Ireland but some form of photo ID is needed. I didn’t have any. Luckily for me, the man at Shannon airport was more than happy to let me into the country anyway.

The friendliness continued with a nice chatty bus driver who took us to Ennis. From there, we decided to get a taxi.

Now, when I was planning this trip and arranging the accommodation at a Bed and Breakfast over the phone, I asked for the address so that we’d be able to find the place.

"Sure, just tell them my name", the proprietress told me. "Everyone here knows where it is."

I decided to give it a try. I told the taxi driver the name of the woman who ran the B&B. Sure enough, they knew each other for years and when we arrived, they had a nice cup of tea together.

The B&B was in a beautiful, peaceful location. The calm was shattered on our first night there, however, when a gaggle of loud guests from Kerry, who were returning late, woke up the donkey in the field next door.

Take it from me, you don’t want to be woken up by a donkey at four in the morning.

Apart from that, everything went smoothly. Jessica and I hung out with another girl staying at the B&B who was writing the third edition of Ireland For Dummies. Together, we investigated the local cuisine and, of course, the magnificent non-stop music.

Getting back to Brighton proved to be something of a chore. Our flight was delayed but I didn’t mind that so much seeing as Shannon airport (along with Dublin) offers free WiFi. Our bus back from Heathrow was also running late. We didn’t make it home until midnight.

Now it’s back to reality. I’ve left behind a land where the pubs have good drink, no smoking and civilised opening hours. I’ve returned to a backwards civilisation where the so-called beer tastes like dishwasher, my clothes are permeated with other peoples’ smoke and an evening in the pub ends with forcible ejection as soon as the curfew is sounded.

I might start planning my next trip right now.

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