So I had my first real break since May 2008 last week. By break I mean going somewhere to do nothing, there have been one or two occasions I've done sod all at home(would be plenty more if I had the fecking chance). Flew into Dublin last week on the day of the horrific winds(I know, that could be any day) and then a bus to Heuston Station before a train to Limerick. I've got to say the train was superb, spacious seats, decent priced food and drink and the bairn fell asleep both times. At only 1 hour 40 mins journey time, it was fantastic.
It was my first time proper in Ireland since March 09 and even in that just under three years time, the change is stark. Rural towns are being battered by the bad economy and, where I was, eight pubs had closed in that time. Similarly young people are heading to Australia and America in their droves, particularly Australia and easy to see why with very little prospects for them in their homeland.
I must be getting more used to the Limerick accent as for the first time, the Newcastlewest twang, I could actually understand some folk there. The language used has certain quirks like everyone being referred to as "Lads" and funny people being known as a "Gas". Once you get your head around it, it gets easier!
Of course my one big thing was where to see the Celtic game on Sunday. I'd gone round a few pubs on the Saturday enquiring and a few said they would be showing it. However this was not the case on the Sunday where horse racing and Wayne Rooney interviews were the order of the day. I'd previously thought of going into Limerick City but was struggling badly with a cold by then. Sadly after going in every pub and bookies in the town, no one was showing it. So it was the dodgy internet stream and thoughts of why on earth these people put their lot in with english teams.
I didn't have any internet access at all in my time away, barring that 90 minutes at Peterhead, and was restricted to phone, which ran out after four days and could not be topped up til I got internet access. So from Sunday to now my only contact with the outside world was RTE and they are obsessed with Dr Phil. Trying to find out the cup draw was like trying to explain Twitter to your Granny.
I shouldn't complain too much though, if I had to listen to most of the politicians in the South prattle on, I'd need a Dr as well.
I did eat like a king though with loads of Stews and Steak Pies washed down with the black stuff. Thankfully prices have fallen a bit since my last visit. I've told this story many times but once I was out in Newcastlewest and went into The Shamrock Bar enquiring if they did breakfast? The woman said no but she'd do me a wee toastie if I liked? Grand. I ordered a Guinness, sat at the fire and before long the toastie came, two bits of bread, butter and a bit cheese. I thanked her and she stood looking at me before saying "Seven Euro".
So Ireland, I love you, but next time, get the Telly on the right channel and dinnae gie me the cauld.