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


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 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.


The real Day 7…


So, I realized after I uploaded the last post that I had completely skipped a day (which is weird because it was my favorite day). I started to go back and edit it and rework the post but I decided to let my error stand and roll with it. I mean, I never claimed to be a perfectionist (as you can tell by the errors you’ve read). Instead I will ask for your forgiveness. I came back with a bit of a cold and being back to work has been a bit of a challenge for more than one reason. While I’m excited to introduce Lemmy, you’re just going to have to wait one more post.

Ok…the real Day 7.

One of the things I knew I wanted to do in going to Ireland was to visit Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Reed rope bridge (please do yourself a favor and click on the hyperlinks and read more on these beautiful places). Both of these are located on the coast in Northern Ireland. I knew I had a 5 hour drive each way and I needed to start early if I wanted to get there in time to do both, so I set my alarm for an ungodly hour of the morning (because even in Ireland I’m not a morning person) and set off before the sun rose.

The route I took to get there was the blue route which took me through Belfast. While I really wanted to stop and explore Belfast, I was on a time crunch so I just did a drive by. Also, and I should have realized this before but I would be traveling to another country since Northern Ireland is part of the UK. I had completely forgotten until I got the text message from my cell carrier that said “welcome to the UK, this is what this is going to cost you!” Lol

It was mostly motorway driving with two lane roads the last quarter of the trip. All of it beautiful and scenic with plenty of opportunities to yell out to them, because I really am eternally 5 when it comes to some things and the sun had risen and given me a bit of life.

Once there I parked, bought my ticket, and decided to be a bit lazy and take the bus to the bottom. Man, I am so glad I made that choice.

Once there, my inner 5 year old came out again and I just wanted to climb everything. It’s hard to describe the basalt stone and the pure natural geometry in it. Even the pictures does not do it justice.

Of course, before you could get to the relatively flat and easy to traverse landscape above you had to cross the tumble of death.

As I made my way across it I really wanted to know the number of broken bones they see each year.

I loved hopping and jumping from stone to stone as I got closer and closer to the edge where the waves were crashing. Ok, I kinda wanted to get a bit wet. Hello….5!

It was about this point that I spotted a really cool tide pool with something inside that i really wanted to check out. This was also the point where the life guards noticed how close to the edge I was getting and started hollering at me. I pretended to not hear them but I tend to be a very honest person and in the end I turned back. This was the best I could do for a picture of the tide pool from afar.

Thwarted in my attempts at being dangerous, I just hopped and jumped around the rocks trying to get higher and higher.

It was at this point that I just sat down and watched the people around me. Children skipping over the stones with fleet feet like mountain goats, whole families helping each other to that perfect spot for their family portrait. A wizened woman smiling on as her grandson tries to coax her up the stones. It was a beautiful setting, a truly lovely day, and not for the first time this trip I felt so utterly and completely alone.

That’s the thing about being in my profession, while you get used to seeing the world and not being able to share it, when it comes to the truly magical moments, that is when loneliness can hit you like a punch to the chest and make you ache for days. This is how I felt. I knew I could share the story and the pictures but I can’t share the sounds, smells, and the feel of the place. That kind of sharing can only be experienced with someone else, and when its someone special to you, that just increases the magic.

Ah well at this point in my life, sitting on theses rocks looking at this amazingly wonderful place, I know I can at least share this magic with my kids one day and that will be enough for me.

When my thighs were starting to burn with the strain of all the climbing, and my balance got a bit wobbly, I knew I was done. I made it safely back to the bus stop, rode back to the top, and headed for my next destination.

A short 7km away from Giants Causeway is Carrick-a-Reed Rope Bridge. While a small attraction, how can I not cross the ocean on a rope bridge? I mean, it’s me.

Once there I parked and paid my admission and set off on the 1km hike down to the bridge. The view from the path was just lovely.

Once there, you go down a set of stairs and then make you way one at a time over the bridge. They ask you not to stop to take a picture on the bridge until your return trip.

I loved watching how each person crossed the bridge because everyone was different. It’s neat to watch people overcome their fears to do something which takes them out of their comfort zone.

Once it was my turn, I crossed as slowly as I could and just looked down into the water and rocks below and just marveled at the feeling of being suspended by a bunch of rope and some boards. I mean, it’s sturdy enough obviously but still, it’s brilliant.

Much of the island was closed due to rains and other reasons (which I’ve since forgotten) so I couldn’t explore much.

I could however sit there for hours and just enjoy the day if it was a bit warmer. That day it was 9 Celsius or about 48 Fahrenheit with a decent wind off the ocean.

When it was time to cross back, I totally took my time and took pictures.

I even tried a selfie but to be honest it’s not that great because I was a bit paranoid about dropping my phone and it falling into the ocean. That would have been the worst.

Side note, this is the first day I wore my winter jacket. I had just worn a hoodie up until this point but this day required the extra warmth.

A short hike back up the hill to the car and I was back on the road. I decided I wanted to take a different route home since I had a choice so I took the coastal route back. I didn’t get to see a lot since the sun sets pretty early in Ireland in winter but they were still roads I had never traveled and that’s the point of an adventure.

I made it back to the golf village around Midnight, feeling a bit peckish as I didn’t really eat since breakfast. I made a quick dinner and headed to bed with the plan to rest the next day and clean and do laundry before heading back to Dublin.

Now we’re really caught up, all the days are straight, and more importantly you get to meet Lemmy tomorrow. I love Lemmy.


Day 6 with an quick overview of my brain


So I realized after posting my last update that it encompassed more than one day, which is fine but ultimately messed up my tidy day by day walkthrough of Ireland.

In other words, welcome to my brain. It’s messy, noisy, and non-sequential but it’s really rather glorious if you like weird twists and turns and non-sequiturs. Hey, you’re still reading so you must!

So, to recap and catch everyone (including myself up)

Landed 12/21

Bodyke 12/22

Galway/Ennis 12/23

Ennis 12/24

Bodyke Christmas drunken extravaganza 12/25

Now Day 6

Whew! Glad that’s all cleared up.

Let’s see I promised Cliffs, Crows, and Customs

On the 26th in Ireland they celebrate St Stephens day. Being that I’m not catholic and have no idea who St Stephen is or how/why he became a Saint, I’ll let you use whatever your favorite search engine/information stream is for more information. All I know is that in America we know it as the day our vacation ends and we have to go back to work.

On this day, since I was still on vacation, I decided to head to the Cliffs of Moher.

If I had come earlier in the year, I could have gone to Doolin and taken a boat ride under them and to the Aran Islands. Oh gee, I guess I need to plan another trip.

One thing that was plentiful were the number of ravens (ok I lied, no crows just ravens) who had little to no fear from us silly humans. Most likely hoping for a handout or two.

There were lovely walking trails along the tops of the cliffs. While this was my plan I made it as far as O’Brien’s Tower

Two things about visiting Moher on St Stephens day. First, no need to pay an admission fee since no one was working, yay! Second, no toilets were open because no one was working, boooo! As I started to walk past O’Briens tower and head towards the path, I saw it was a muddy mess with plenty of traffic and I really needed to use the toilet, which there were none open because it was St Stephens day. Did I really want to chance a walk and an embarrassment? No, besides I might have been feeling a bit tender from my personal Christmas celebration.

Back in the car I took my time and just enjoyed the scenery and wondered about St Stephens day. Being the heathen that I am, I know little about Saints except that Patrick is used as a way for gaggles of ‘that guy’ having an excuse to get black out drunk and piss and fight their way all over Wrigleyville or the fact that Chicago dyes the Chicago river, which is already a shade of green, into a nightmare of atomic proportions.

I did ask a fella about it and he told me of the other term of the 26th of December being Wren Day.

Look up Wren Day and search images or give a quick listen to a song by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. I highly recommend the song but I’m also a sucker for Irish music.

Day 7, my last day in Bodyke was spent in contemplation and laundry. The cottage had a washer/dryer combo which was pretty typical from what I saw of flats, but I couldn’t figure out how to get the dryer to work which meant I had to hang everything. No big deal since this is how I like to roll when home, but yeah I just decided to laze and watch my clothes dry. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

OOOOOOOOOH! Ok, I totally spaced this (there goes my brain again) So, my second trip to Brogans on Christmas Eve I had their mussels and OMG… Yes I’ve been told the mussels in Brussels are wonderful (side note Mussels in Brussels is my new all girl punk band name) but to date these were the best mussels I’ve had.

They are served in a white whine, shallot, and garlic cream sauce and I really really really loved the sauce. It was perfect.

Next up: Dublin, Lemmy, and serindipity

Day 2: Driving in another country – Dublin to Bodyke and beyond


Waking up I headed down for breakfast. While it’s was your usual buffet fare, it was still better than anything I have ever had in an American Hotel. Sorry USA, your standards for food are very lacking.

After I checked out I hopped a cab and headed over to Enterprise to pick up my rental car.

Ok, I’m not going to lie. This was my favorite part of this trip. I have always (since I was a teen) wanted to drive a right hand drive manual car. Yes I know I’m weird. I’ve been star struck with anything European and knowing that people drive on the other side of the car and road was always something that fascinated me.

One thing I didn’t pack for this trip that was a definite fail was my dash camera. I would soon lament the lack of it after hitting the road.

Making it out of Dublin was my first issue. I’m very comfortable with a manual transmission, but it had been so long since I had driven a car I forgot that you don’t have to double clutch to change the gears like you do in a semi. While working a gear shift with your right hand is second nature to me at this point, it took a bit more brain power to shift with my left. I had the option of going through town to pick up the motorway I needed, or to hop one motorway to another. I chose the route through town just to give me some practice following and understanding the flow of traffic.

Once done, I was off for Bodyke (which is not pronounced as Body-key but bo-dyke as I would later come to find out). About 3/4 of the way there I realized I needed to fuel up. I stopped at the next service station which was just very confusing.

I just…

I really kinda have no words. It was surreal and the last thing I expected to see in Ireland.

As I understand it, Falmouth Kearney was Barack Obama’s maternal great-great-great grandfather and he was from Moneygall. The Obama’s visited the village and there was huge fanfare and hullabaloo.


Back in the car I pulled off the motorway to make my final leg of the journey through the countryside of County Tipperary and County Clare. Ok, I’m not too proud to admit that I totally squealed like a kid as I steered left and right down the curvy two lane road. Word of advice, there is no room for errors on Irish roads. In America we have lots of space. Many of our roads have shoulders, or at the least a flat patch of ground if you need to pull over. More often than not, in Ireland you had road, 3 inches of dirt, and then a rock wall. This made things a bit more interesting.

As the road dipped and twisted I did what I always do when I see farm animals I yelled out their name, except adding the word Irish to the beginning. “Irish Cows” or “Irish sheep” because I’m eternally 5.

Finally, I arrived at my final destination the East Clare Golf Village.

It was exactly what the name says, a little village by a golf course…

out in the middle of nowhere…

in a town called Bodyke…

And I’m here for a week…

Well, at least I have a car!

After checking in and settling in, I headed to Scariff which was the closest town with a market to get food and gin. There is no way I’m getting through this week without gin. Once back at the two bedroom two bath cottage, I poured myself a drink and then sat there in a daze. I knew I was heading to Galway tomorrow but what after that? Oh yeah, Christmas where everything is totally shut down in Ireland. Sigh.

The next day I drove to Galway and I did a bit of walking around and shopping for presents (which I can’t talk about because they haven’t been delivered yet. I did manage to reign in my inner 15 year old and not buy one of these.

I never owned a swatch back in the day but I did have several for short stays. Usually surreptitiously snagged from a boy while they were otherwise engaged elsewhere. Hey! The Sting was one of my favorite movies growing up and I adored Ellen Brennan’s character in that movie. What Can I say?

After Galway, I headed into Ennis for some dinner at Brogan’s. I had come across Brogans back in the states when we were searching for Christmas dinner (before we knew everything was closed on Christmas) and I also had another truck driver from my company suggest it as she’s originally from County Clare.

It was pretty packed with people downstairs but I was told I could get a table upstairs. There I met three lovely women and they kinda changed everything for me. When I walked in I was feeling down and out, still kinda in a daze wondering what the hell I was doing and going to do for the next week or so. Struggling with the idea of just holing up in my little golf cottage and drinking myself into a stupor until I needed to go back to Dublin, thereby avoiding everyone having a joyous time with friends and family, or doing what I always do which is making magic happen.

As I ate, and between tables, these ladies and I talked and laughed and had a great time. They told me of their Pan-demic” of 2018 as Storm Emma brought higher than normal snowfalls and the stores were sold out of bread and milk well ahead of the storm. Of course some people had a laugh at the whole Pan-ic.

While Becky and Chelsea regaled me with stories of winter in Ireland and how they wish they would get more snow, I shared the ultimate horror of growing up in the upper Midwest where 2 days after it snows you begin to wish it was gone, and knowing that the universe was out to get you when everyday you would wake up and have to shovel the sidewalks.

Miss Becky

Miss Chelsea

I had a lovely meal of Clonakilty Chicken which was a pan fried breast stuffed with Clonakilty black pudding and wrapped in bacon with a creamy mushroom sauce. Since this was my first trial of black pudding I thought it was a safe way to go and in the end, the black pudding was what I loved the most about the dish.

After dinner I headed downstairs to the bar to see who I would soon dub my new Irish bestie, Ellen.

My Irish Bestie Ellen ❤

Since we’re Facebook friends now, and she follows this blog I know she’ll be reading this. Ellen, you were a godsend on a dark night and your kindness will never be forgotten.

This woman bought a total stranger a Christmas gift so she would have something to open on Christmas Day. The world needs more Ellen’s.

While at the bar I sampled one of their house cocktails, The Burren. While I never made it to the actual Burren, the drink was lovely.

This delicious drink was made with Bombay Sapphire, violet liqueur, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, passion fruit purée, and Pinot Grigio and was very dangerous.

If you ever find yourself in Ennis in County Clare, please do yourself a favor and go to Brogans. While you’re there, give these ladies some love from me.

Christmas was spent…well in a drunken stupor. I had decided on a steady diet of mimosa and went through two bottles of champagne over the course of the day and night. Also, pants were not allowed. Not a bad day if I do say so myself. Plus my toes were toasty and cute with one of my presents from Ellen. ❤

Next up, Cliffs, Crows, and Customs.

Day one


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.

And away we go…


As I sit here on my delayed flight, wondering if my travel mates will make it out of the states at all, I’m filled with this sense of peace. I cant really explain why it is, but I feel as if I’m supposed to go on this trip. I’m not a big believer of destiny or fate (because if I did I’d have to have a long conversation about a few key things, including the two marriages to horrible people) but for whatever reason, this trip is different.

My day so far has been a series of starts and stops. The day before travel, saw Tampa covered with sputtering rain. It started, it stopped, and it wasn’t consistent at all. This morning however was all about downpours.

My flight was delayed about a hour and a half. I thought about going to the airport and waiting, but since Tampa is rarely busy and I was only 5 minutes away, I decided to just wait it out. That was the first mistake I made. When we finally reached the airport traffic was horrendously backed up. Even Travis was surprised and stated “in the 20 years I’ve lived here and as many times as I’ve flown into/out of this airport, I’ve never seen it this busy.”

TSA was…ugh. I’ve decided to apply for global entry as it also includes pre-check so I can bypass the regular line. If I’m going to be traveling more often it only makes sense and well I’m sick of taking off my shoes.

After I got through the line I had just enough time to get to my gate before they started boarding. Since I splurged on this flight, my Tampa to Newark flight was first class.

Once seated the flight progressed as all flights do, but with good food and room to move.

Salad with roast chicken, quinoa salad, and hummus

After landing in Newark, I had a 3 hour layover between flights so I headed over to the Polaris Lounge. Talk about swanky…

Top shelf alcohols and a few signature drinks like Cloud Cover, their gin offering

This wasn’t your average buffet.

Free food and drinks and plenty of seating and charging stations made this an extremely comfortable place to wait for my next flight.

Starting clockwise from the top: Hummus on pita, chicken parmigiana. Salmon mousse on brown bread, roasted winter veggies, fingerling potato salad, cherry coleslaw, and cheese ravioli.

Fingerling potato salad,. So delicate…

I really loved all of the food with the exception of the two salads. I felt they were not dressed enough so the flavors were lost.

Soon enough it was time to head to my gate, which was conveniently located just outside of the lounge. After boarding I was greeted with this.

Everything I needed to be sung as a bug in a rug was located on this seat. In the small black bag, I found the silly thing that made me a happy camper.

THE SMALLEST TUBE OF TOOTHPASTE EVER!!!!! Sure we can have a discussion about the fact there is more plastic than product here, but can we not? Look it it! It’s the most adorable thing ever!

I also had a very large screen with plenty of movies and tv shows to choose from or a flight tracker to show me exactly where we were in our trip.

Then there was the food…The starter was a lovely salad with Kale, mesclun, roasted fennel, bell peppers and pomegranate seeds and was served with a pomegranate balsamic vinagrette, smoked duck with a cranberry pumpkin seed farro salad, brined carrot, and stone ground mustard.

For the main it braised short rib with Carolina stone ground grits and braised Bok Choi.

There was a dessert offering but I was way too full and a bit sleepy so I reclined my seats to the full bed mode and snuggled in. I felt that I had only been asleep for a few minutes, but it turned out to be hours as we were about an hour from Dublin and I was being woken up to ask what I wanted for breakfast. Considering I hadn’t finished all the food I was served previously, and I still felt full I passed on breakfast.

At 7am the sun was still down so I wasn’t able to see much as we came in for a landing. Once on the ground I was amazed at how quite the airport was. Like, there was NO ONE around. I grabbed my bags, hopped a taxi, and headed to check in.

Once at the hotel, there was a bit of confusion at check in. I was told that all of the reservations were in one of my travel mates name but the hotel said they had no reservations for him. Feeling a bit panicky and probably looking as much, the lovely girl asked what my name was and said the reservation was under my name. Confused but happy that I would be able to take a shower very soon, I finished my check in process, and headed up to my room.

Once in my room I checked my phone to check in with my family and saw that I had a missed call from my travel mates and a message asking me to call them.

When I called I found out that my entire vacation was changing. They had missed their connecting flight and due to storms in Florida and high holiday traffic they weren’t able to get out of the states until sometime later in the week, so in short they weren’t coming.

They had contacted everywhere we are staying and transferred all of the reservations to my name, but for all intents and purposes I’m on my own.

Next up, Dublin and driving on the wrong side of the road.