Friday, April 21 (Good Friday)

Our last full day in Ireland.  While Colette was fixing our breakfast, we went outside and explored her backyard.  She’s done quite a bit with a small space (although the yard turned out to be larger than it appeared looking out our bedroom window), so far as gardening and landscaping go.  Not much grass, though.  Colette and her family have a big, white dog that never seems to bark.  Although it was still very cool out, the sun was shining brightly.  After breakfast Nancy used Colette’s telephone to confirm our flights home with the airlines.  A quick word on phones in Ireland.  Cell phones abound here, even more than in the States.  Cellular calls are cheaper than regular phone calls.  Even Colette’s teenage son, David, has his own cell phone.

Rumors that Dublin would shut down completely on Good Friday were greatly exaggerated.  The city center was alive and bustling.  We got to the tour bus departure point on O’Connell Street about 20 minutes early, but immediately boarded the bus to secure some of the last seats on the upper deck.  Our driver, Mr. Kelly, turned out to be yet another singing Irishman.  At times the lyrics of his songs were downright irreverent (“Ooooh, the working class can kiss my arse,” etc.).  However, if you listened closely between the ranting and raving, his earnest side shone through in heartfelt comments on the devastation caused by the famine and the missed opportunities of the Irish peace process.

The first town we passed through going down the coast was Dun Laoghaire, which is just south of Dublin.  With its seaside parks and trails Dun Laoghaire looked like a great place to spend a day in leisurely exploration.  Especially at a time when it wasn’t raining, like it was starting to do as we drove past the bay.  As the rain continued to steadily fall, we wove our way through several enchanting little towns that appeared to be populated by the upper classes.  The coastal scenery was entirely different from what we saw on our Wednesday excursion to Galway and Connemara.
 

We stopped for lunch at the Avoca Handweavers outlet in Kilmacanogue.  Lots of tempting, but expensive, handwoven articles filled the shop.  Our lunch consisted of asparagus and potato soup, brown bread, and a blue cheese salad featuring (you guessed it!) roasted potatoes.  Oh my!  We took our tray outside to some sheltered picnic tables and ate next to lush gardens that extended all the way down to the main road.
 

The bus returned to Dublin along inland roads with lots of sharp curves.  As we hit the outskirts of town, we passed through the ultra-rich district of Foxrock.  Driver Kelly dropped the names of a number of celebrities who lived there at one time or another, including several prominent American entertainers.  He told a funny story about how if he won the lotto, he would immediately move to Foxrock.  However, he would still keep his job as a bus driver.  When the neighbors found out that Kelly drove a bus for a living, they would quickly offer to buy his house at double the market value, just to get him and his family out of the neighborhood.  He would agree to sell his house, then turn around and buy another house somewhere else in Foxrock and repeat the process.  Soon Kelly would be as rich as anyone in Foxrock.  Oh, the hopes and dreams of a solitary Irish bus driver!

We got back to the bus station around 3:00.  Now we were in for some industrial strength walking.  We met Allie at her place, then started on what turned out to be a 40 minute walk to her school, University College Dublin.  By the time we got there, Nancy and I were absolutely bushed.  Unlike Trinity College, UCD has a thoroughly modern campus.  Although about 18,000 students go there, it was practically deserted due to the Easter holidays.  We stopped by the Arts Building where Allie took her classes.  Then we sat on the benches by the lake that graces the center of the campus.  The sun was out and it was almost warm.  We actually shed our coats and jackets.  It was our best Irish weather yet.  I took a number of photos of Allie in various poses.  We all had fun in the sun.
 
 

We made a very wise decision to take the bus back into the city center to get dinner.  I don’t think my feet could have handled another extended walk.  Allie suggested that we eat at Pasta Fresca, an Italian restaurant off Grafton Street.  She and Kristi had eaten there a couple of weeks earlier, when Kristi came to visit.  Too bad everyone’s spring break couldn’t be synchronized.  Pasta Fresca turned out to be an excellent choice.  A garlic lover’s paradise!  With the restaurant nearly full of the Good Friday crowd, the waiters and waitresses really had to hustle.  We were among the many satisfied customers.

Allie, Nancy, and I made our farewell trek back home and said our final goodbyes.  I still remember fondly my own study abroad program in Germany back in 1970 and was very glad that Allie was getting to have an experience like that of her own.  Her memories of Ireland will last a lifetime, I’m sure.  Nancy and I had a great time on our visit.  Our memories of Ireland will no doubt last a lifetime, too.

Back in our room at last, Nancy packed our now bulging suitcases.  We wrote a couple more last minute postcards.  We certainly didn’t want to dwell on the fact that this was our last full day in Ireland.  Falling asleep was, like all our other nights in Dublin, not a problem.
 

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map of Dublin City Center
 

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Created by Nancy and Dave Badertscher
badertn@rockbridge.net
May 21, 2000