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.
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 Jalapeño 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.