Day 9: Dublin, Lemmy, and Serindipity until the end

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Rested and packed, I bid farewell to Bodyke and hit the roads to head back to Dublin. Today is going to be a good day because today is also TATTOO DAY!!! Making that appointment was my first step in making this trip all about me and what I wanted to do in Ireland.

I hit the roads and planned to stop at the same service station in Moneygall to fuel. I still giggled as I walked through and saw all of the pictures of Michelle and Barack Obama.

One of the things I had planned to do was to try to talk to one of the truck drivers and see if they would let me sit in the drivers seat of their truck and take a picture of me. If I had time to work my magic you know it would happen (I hear I can be quite persuasive when necessary) but I was a bit behind schedule and I didn’t want to be late for my appointment.

Once in Dublin, I checked into my hotel but was told my room wasn’t ready. They took my bags and put them in storage. I stashed the car in the car park and grabbed a taxi to the shop. My car originally was scheduled to end today but I decided I wanted to do a bit more exploring down to the south and extended it by two days.

Once at the shop I showed up just moments before David, the artist, did. He took one look at me and said “You’re appointment isn’t for another hour, you know that right?”

I instantly regretted not putting the appointment in my phone and realized I could have actually gotten that picture in an Irish truck. Sigh, I knew there was a mall across the street so I headed over to kill some time.

One of the things that made me giggle was the pictures in the frames for sale. Instead of seeing some model(s) overly airbrushed, I saw this:

I almost wanted to buy one just for the picture in it.

When I got back to the shop there were two guys sitting in the waiting area. I asked David if he was ready for me and he said he was just finishing up with the changes I requested and I grabbed a contract to fill out. One of the guys went back to get his piece started and I sat down. The other fella was talking to his artist about placement of his tattoo and as he rolled up his sleeve I got a look at some of his art. There were some nice pieces on his arm and of the ones I saw they were kinda skull related.

As the artist left, and because silence bothers me when I’m a bit off kilter, and maybe I really wanted to hear his voice some more (I know, I’m shameless) I asked “So are you getting another skull? You seem to have a collection going.”

He tells me what he’s getting and points to his tattoos saying “They aren’t all skulls. This one is a heart and this one a snake..”

To which I blinked and replied “yeah but they all have skulls.”

He looks at me, looks at his arm, looks at me again, puts down his sleeve and says “So are you here on Holiday?” I explain my story in the self-deprecating way I sometimes do and end with “so yeah I was here for a week over Christmas and don’t know anyone.”

He looks me straight in the eyes and says “Well you do now! What are you doing after your tattoo? Do you wanna get a drink at the pub?”

This was my first real invitation to hang out with someone from Ireland (not counting the drunk dude last time I was in Dublin) and I jumped at the chance with a loud “Yes!” because I am absolutely starved for company other than my own. We shake hands, introduce ourselves, and I shamefully do what I always do which is promptly forget his name.

Look, I’m not too proud to admit that I’m shit when it comes to names. It’s not because he was forgettable (he’s not) but because I absolutely stink at remembering people’s names. It harkens back to being a transient and it’s such a hard trait to change. Well, that and my brain might have been flooding with dopamine at that point and he gave a good handshake and he smelled good…

Whew, I have been on my own waaaay too much. Reign yourself in, girl.

At this point our artists were ready for us and we hit our respective chairs.

I’m not going to go into the whole process other than to say, within a couple of hours a fella was up and gone but not before connecting with me on social media so we could meet up later and so I could remember his name and call him Jaz and not a fella. I also got a nice look at his tattoo.

… four hours later I realize we’re not even close to being done and I should let Jaz know.

We text back and forth. I tell him I’m hungry and he offers to bring food to me.

Wait….Some dude I just met is offering to go and get me food and bring it to the tattoo shop? He can’t be a real person, or is he the first real person I’ve met?

Anyway, I decline the offer of food because I can’t eat while getting a tattoo. I send him a shot of where we are at in the design and he says “Looks deadly with all the pointilism and all but just so you know, my tattoo would eat your tattoo in the wild.”

Ok, I may have laughed a little too hard at that because I was in so much trouble. I have certain weaknesses and witty retorts are definitely high up there. Oh and now I have a stupid grin on my face that won’t seem to go away.

After a few more hours my tattoo was done. I had asked David what his name should be and he immediately said Lemmy. So….here’s Lemmy!

I may totally and completely love Lemmy. He’s my new BFF. My partner in crime (because he doesn’t have a choice.) He was well worth the 8+ hours in the chair. David’s touch was so great I may have to have another piece or three from him,.

If you’re in Dublin or planning a trip to Dublin and you want some work done, go see the boys at Old School Tattoo. They won’t do you wrong.

I had tried to get a picture of David as he worked but getting that perfect shot alluded me. The best I did was this:

Man I have a cheesy smile sometimes. Especially when I’m being silly. Ah well…

Tattoo all finished it was time to meet up with Jaz. He asked me if I wanted to eat first or get a drink and after 8+ hours under the needle it was time for some gin.

(I will apologize in advance for the lack of pictures. I was too busy enjoying the company to even think of my phone)

Our First Stop was Fibber Magees

Within 30 seconds of walking into Fibbers, I felt like I was at home. I love dark gritty bars and that’s pretty much what this was. Fibbers has its history in the metal scene and Jaz was great at painting me a picture of what it was like growing up in Dublin and how Fibbers was a fixture in the scene.

What was amazing was the beer garden. It was a congregation place of not only Fibbers but one or two other bars making it a massive space nestled in behind the buildings. It boasted a large screen for watching games and a few pool tables. It was perfect.

After that we were off to The Gin Palace. I think I died and went to heaven. I was overloaded with choices. After a perusal of their menu, I, of course, chose the one gin they were out of. On to my second choice and after more talking and laughing, I realized I really needed some food.

A walk around the block for a quick bite of shawarma (of which I saw quite a few in scattered around) and then it was time for The Oval with a final stop at The Foggy Dew.

With a light heart and sore cheeks from smiling, we headed to the taxi stand so I could head back to my hotel. As I was reaching for the door Jaz asked “So do you have plans tomorrow?”

I did. I had a few more places I wanted to see. I had extended the car rental so I could head south. I turned to him and said “No, what did you have in mind?” Just like that, all my plans happily tossed out the window, I had a lunch date for the next day.

The next day came and I was awake at 12:30 with plans to meet at one and feeling a wee bit tender. Knowing I needed a bit more time, we pushed back out plans until 2 and I headed for the shower downing a bottle of water on the way.

After meeting up and grabbing a quick lunch (traditional Irish stew for myself and a lamb shank for Jaz) we were off again on Tj’s personal tour of Dublin Pubs.

Our first stop was to Paddle and Peel. While this was a craft brew pub, I was told they had PBR and I just had to see it for myself. As an american we all know PBR is not really good beer. Yes it’s a sponsor of WFTDA and being a part of Roller Derby for years I drank my fair share, but that still doesn’t make it good beer by any means. Unfortunately they were out. What they did have was some interesting brews including (if I remember correctly) a chocolate hazelnut ale called Sumthin for Santa. The can was cute if not a tad bit disturbing as you turn it around and see Santa’s butt crack.

Don’t worry my lovelies, that was what Jaz had. I, of course, stuck with Gin.

We had a couple there and then we were off to Frank Ryans. It had a great vibe and a eccentric design interior.

After Frank Ryans I needed a bit of food and we went for New York Style pizza at DiFontaine’s. We both went for the Pepperoni and JalapeƱo and while it’s an unusual topping choice, it was good. They actually did a decent NY Pie.

We then topped off the night with a trip back to Fibbers (where I may or may not have almost started a bar fight). No I’m not going to go into details on the incident except to say it was my fault, I was sassy, aggressive, and stupid. Jaz was a gentleman. No one actually came to blows and got hurt.

After Fibbers it was off to bed and we made plans to spend NYE together with some of his friends.

The morning of NYE I headed back to drop off the rental car and then met up again with Jaz.

This was my last night in Dublin. I hadn’t done anything I had planned to do upon returning but I was having the time of my life.

It was at this moment above, on New Years Eve, that I was grateful for the chance to experience Ireland solo. If not for the unpredictability of storms and nature, my entire experience would have been different and I would have missed something truly unique and special.

We started off the night at a The Kimchi Hophouse for some bulgogi and the start of our drinking.

After that we were off to Thomas House where I met the lovely Shona. (No picture, but she’s great). Thomas house has the same sort of vibe for me that Fibbers did. It is exactly the type of place I would frequent if I lived in Dublin. After a drink we were off again to Fibbers and to ring in the New Year.

For the first time on my trip I felt relaxed and at peace. Between all the conversation of getting to know one another and the laughter and stories we each traded, there was an amazing friendship being built. With everything that happened from the moment I left the states, I would never have guessed that a chance meeting with a fella in a tattoo parlor would be what I was soon coming to understand as a life altering event.

In this world there are people who will float in and out of our lives. For many people, I am that ephemeral friend as I flit and flutter from one place to another; there one moment and gone the next. Always on the move. Always looking for the next thing. Occasionally we will meet someone who just sticks with us and changes us just a bit in that meeting. I’ve met several people like that over the years. From Marc, and our meeting one afternoon on a street in Los Angeles, to Sarah who one day at Bonnaroo plopped down at my picnic table and told me we were going to be friends (to which I’m grateful). Meeting Jaz in that tattoo parlor was one of those instance. It was interesting to see how two people, from different continents, could be so similar.

Where this particular friendship and story goes? Well, that’s a tale for another day. For now, it’s all still being written

As the morning of the new year rolled around, I’m off and gone before first light. My flights went off without a hitch although I do have to chide United on their food selection.

Beans? On a plane? For a 8 hour flight? Did you really think that was a good idea?

After my layover in Newark (this time without the fancy Polaris lounge but just the average ho-hum lounge) and my quick flight to Tampa, I was finally reunited with my truck and more than ready to get back on the road.

I’ve needed this last week to fully process everything and write this particular Chapter of my story, mostly because now it’s really and truly over. I definitely came back from Ireland a different person. Part of it was my personal journey. Part of it was their culture of what I can only describe as kindness. Part of it was their food. (America, we really do eat shit, especially those of us who live on the road full time.) What had the biggest impact on me were the lovely people I met who touched my life in profound ways. We have facebook and social media for now, but I will see them again soon.

If you have that place you’ve always wanted to visit, make it happen. Get out of the states and get some perspective on the world. It just may be the thing you need.

Thanks for reading as always.

Cheers!

Day one

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After finding out that my friends weren’t joining me I had two choices, one was to completely shut down (which quite frankly I was leaning towards) or grasping the ring of opportunity and riding away on a unicorn. Well, I chose the unicorn of course because why wouldn’t I?

As tired as I was, and really only having a 2 hour nap on the plane doesn’t equate to a full night of rest, I decided it was time for a shower, some food and coffee, and to hit the town.

I had the opportunity to eat at the hotel but what I really wanted was a little cafe that was quite and not filled with other tourists. As I walked with no destination in mind I came across T.J. Coffee Cafe. Well hello lovely! I had to stop since it was fate given the name.

Inside I met Theresa and James, the lovely proprietors who made me a perfect Irish Breakfast (mini), sans beans because I’m just not about beans for breakfast. Call me silly, it’s cool. Theresa was, what I have come to reference as the consummate Irish person. Open, gracious, funny, and just a genuinely nice person, After telling her my story, she asked if I was going to be in Dublin, .When I told her I was headed to the Ennis area, she was sad because she wanted to invite me to their house for Christmas. My first thought was shock. I mean, who does that? My next thought had my frozen heart melting and growing three times its size.

This, I would come to find out, is Ireland.

After my meal I jumped on the Loise (tram) and headed over to the Irish Heritage Museum. Coming from Chicago where our museums are massive, I expected something along the same lines. Instead I found this lovely quaint little museum with extraordinary treasures that rival any others of the same time period. The fact that some of the caches are still being found (last one found was in 2016) with lovely and delicate gold work from anywhere from the 6th to 8th century…mind blown.

After walking around and visiting a few shops, I jumped the tram again and headed back to the hotel. Once in my room I still felt a bit out of sorts and to be honest a bit gut punched, and I decided it was time for some food.

There was a pub that came recommended by a few people and I had a craving for fish and chips and a G&T.

I walked in and sat down and then it happened. The it that I had been avoiding for weeks. Over the soundsystem Wham’s Last Christmas started playing, I knew that I was taking my life into my own hands by coming to this part of the world, but I was really hoping that I could hold out for the 4 days before Christmas. Nope! Here, within my first 24 hours I get sent to Whamhalla. Le Sigh!

If you’re lost, please look up Whamageddon.

At least my G&T was delicious and made with Dingle Gin. One of the things I would come to love is the little bottles of soda that would come with your glass of alcohol if you bought a drink as a mix. While one may think it’s wasteful to have all those little bottles (glass recycling is a thing) I like the ability to decide just how much mixer I want in my glass

Of course I went with the Fish and Chips for my first meal (the chips are hiding under the fish) and it was good.

After dinner and still not ready to go back to my room, I decided to walk off my meal and ended up at a tattoo shop. No, I didn’t get a tattoo…I just made an appointment to get a tattoo for when I get back to Dublin.

After that, well it was time to call it a day. I decided to have a nightcap in the hotel bar and there I met and man whose name I promptly forgot, as I’m wont to do. This man was drunk beyond drunk, what I’ve heard referred to as pissed, and because I’m weird I gravitated towards him. He told me lots of stories. Told me about growing up in Belfast and having to kill people. Told me about spending time in prison before going to New York. Told me of the IRA in New York. Told me again about his time in prison but this was about a guy who wanted to perform fellatio on him due to the size of his penis. Queue eye roll. Next thing I know he’s offering to toss my salad and now it’s time for me to go.

Deciding I needed a bit of nicotine I excused myself and headed outside. He, of course, followed me, and demanded my room number. Oh man, he picked the wrong American on the wrong day.

I politely declined the requested information and he persisted, getting more and more agitated. The hotel staff came out looking concerned and I gave them the thumbs up letting them know I was fine because honestly I just wanted to see where this was going and because he was so drunk a strong wind could have knocked him over. He became more and more insistent but never touched me so he was allowed to stay. I didn’t find him to be dangerous just belligerently drunk. My favorite part of the conversation was this.

Him: Are you scared?

Me: Are you 5?

Of course all good things must come to an end and it was definitely time to end this. After him asking me if I was turning him down because I was a lesbian for the 7th time, I had pretty much had enough. I told him I wasn’t getting naked with him, I didn’t care how big it was or what he wanted to do to various parts of my body, and that I preferred potential partners to be sober enough to remember the exchange and that I quite frankly had had a shit day and I really didn’t want to deal with his bullshit. When he asked me AGAIN if I was a lesbian, well that’s when my claws came out and I got loud and very forceful as I told him he needed to walk the F away from me as he didn’t know who he was dealing with.

Side note….I really can be intimidating when needed and at that point it was very needed.

He blinked at me and I stepped into his personal space putting us chest to chest and nose to nose and simply said:

Do you really think I couldn’t take you? I don’t know who you are or where you’ve been but I can tell you that you, my drunken friend, don’t stand a chance of walking away unscathed and trust me when I say that attacking a woman traveler over the holidays probably isn’t a good thing, regardless of the fact that you will be quite bloody and bruised and probably a bit embarrassed at how easy it will be for me to wipe the walk with your face. I will press this until the end and will walk away while you will not.

Needless to say, he backed down. Score one for the badass bitch with zero fear.

The manager of the hotel came over to apologize to me and I tried not to laugh at him. I told him that I was fine and in no danger and that I had dealt with his kind a time or two. He again apologize and said they had a duty to keep me safe and I told him I was safe enough. While drink may make people a false kind of brave, it also slows their reflexes and makes it easier to take down when necessary. He laughed. I laughed. It was all good.

Now, it was time for bed. I made sure he was not on my lift and I watched myself on the way to my room, but I was more than ready for my bed,

Tomorrow, I leave Dublin in a rental car.