At the airport waiting for our flight back to London and realised that its been nearly a month since I've written in this thing! I'll deal with this trip first, then add on all the extras later.
Well, last Monday I decided that if I spent another weekend in London I'd go absolutely mad! So I got cheap tickets for Paula and I (Paula is the Kiwi girl from CSFB) - £69 each. Paula organised a B&B for us and we were due to fly out of London Stanstead at 21:55 on Friday night.
After work on Friday, Anna (from my dept) and I went to the pub downstairs for a drink or two, while waiting for Paula to finish work. Well, Paula got to the Corney & Barrow*, we had a few drinks and then left (with Anna) to get the DLR** to connect with a tube to Liverpool Street, from where there's an express train to Stanstead.
OK, mishap #1! DLR stops near Shadwell, we're waiting for ages, then they kick us off because the train has broken or something. Saw two guys from the Scandinavian desk at CSFB and jumped in the cab they'd hailed. IT was then I realised I'd left one of my bags, with our tickets and all my clothes, on the DLR.
Mishap #2. So Paula and I leapt out of the cab, ran back to Shadwell, found a conductor who searched the train and the train front, found my bag and returned it to me. Whew! Then we had to find a cab. Got one to Liverpool Street but soon realised that as it was 1/4 to 8 and the journey takes an hour or more to Stanstead, we were running way late. Asked the cab driver to go to Stanstead but he declined as he was about to knock off. So ran through Liverpool St Station to get another cab and then £62 later arrived at Stanstead, just as our plane (last flight of the night!) took off!!
We got on standby for 7am the next morning, but as we were: (a) broke; (b) tired; and (c) would've had to have left almost as soon as we'd arrived home, we decided to sleep at the airport! Hmmmmm. Not an experience I'm anxious to repeat in a hurry! We couldn't even get blankets so had to sleep stretched out on seats with our jackets over us!
Anyway, woke, or got woken up I should say, at quarter to 5 by some horrible Northerners who sat down next to me and started talking in that awful "ow's it goin' luv" accent.***
Anyhow, we managed to get on the 7am flight to Dublin via Prestwick. Didn't know Prestwick was in Scotland!!**** Got a few 'Burns' postcards and things in the transit lounge. Left Prestwick at 9:15 and arrived in Dublin around 30 mins later. Got to our B&B, had a shower and brekkie and headed out for some sightseeing.
OK, let me say this right now. I LOVE Dublin and I want to live there. How on earth I'll get a work permit I don't know, and the pay is shit, but I love Dublin. We did all the Maeve Binchy stuff***** - visited Grafton & O'Connell Streets, St Stephen's Green, UCD, Trinity College, The Four Courts, Temple Bar, the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin Castle, etc, etc. I bought a Laura Ashley dress which was half price at Grafton Street. Looks gorgeous and gives me a summer dress for work.
Saturday night we went to Planet Web and I sent some emails to people and surfed the net (CMD has changed their name to SA) while Paula ate cake and coffee, then we went to a cool Mexican restaurant where we met Josef (a Kiwi) and Mark (from Sydney) who were in Dublin on business (they work for Phillips). Had dinner with them then went to a pub near the restaurant, then on to Break for the Border. They brought us drinks all night which was cool, so it was quite cheap for us!
Sunday got up around 9-ish (BTW we stayed in Rathmines which is south of the city, near Donnybrook) and went to Dun Laoghaire, where Hugh lives. Didn't get to see him though, I think he must have gone away for the weekend. Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Leery) is just stunning and is where I'd really like to live in Ireland - it's only 15 mins from the city by train and is the perfect Irish seaside village. We walked along the pier, then along the beach front to James Joyce's tower, then back to the pier for fish and chips before heading back to Dublin. The weather was gorgeous - bright and sunny but still cool enough to warrant a coat.
Headed back to Dublin and wandered through St Stephen's Green where we saw some Irish dancers in their bright costumes. They were great - they dance so well. After that we went to the Shelbourne Hotel for a very posh afternoon tea - sandwiches, tea, scones and cakes for £8.50 each. There was a pianist who played old show tunes and it was wonderful!
After that we walked through to St Patrick's Cathedral. Unfortunately it was shut, but we got to look around the gardens which was nice and I got some some photos. Then we walked back along the River Liffey to the Grattan Street Bridge, where there's a clock IN the river counting down the seconds left until the millennium. You could get postcards for 20p which had the number of seconds printed on them!
Then last night we had burgers and chips in a café near Rathmines before crashing and getting up at 6:30am this morning!!
A very busy weekend but a great one - I'm so glad to have finally been to all the places Maeve Binchy describes. Well, we're about to land in London so I'll have to pack up. More on the train I guess!
* otherwise referred to as the Horny & Shallow by those of us who frequented it
** Docklands Light Railway... otherwise known as the Legoland train
*** Clearly I was cranky, because I actually love the Northern accent. Makes me giggle.
**** I know I was only 24, but really. That's embarrassing. I'm ashamed that I had no clue where Prestwick was.
***** I used to read a lot of Maeve Binchy back in the mid-90s. I blame an ex-boyfriend's mum... she'd always give them to me for birthday and Christmas presents.
****** There was no "more from the train". In fact that was the last entry in that particular diary.