Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ireland September 2017

Dunlaoghaire 2017
Traveling to Ireland again this year was unexpected but proved well worth while.

The  younger sister of mrs maytrees is seriously ill with cancer and this following the huge sadness of the sudden death of her husband in April, so we decided to go over to visit her for a few days.

Given the major problems with Ryanair which I am never keen to use anyway, travel by British Airways to Dublin Airport was straightforward. 

I recalled travel  to Ireland 45 years or so ago, by ferry to Dunlaoghaire,  bringing my old Morris Minor convertible over. Cars could not simply be driven up an exit ramp in those days but had to be lifted off by crane and placed  often none too gently, on the quayside. Dunlaoghaire has changed much for the better in many ways since those days as we appreciated during a day trip north of Dublin. Air fares are far  cheaper now than in the 1970s so ferries tend to be less popular than they were.Car hire was surprisingly inexpensive and easy. A tiny but easy to drive Seat proved ideal. 

On this visit  the installation of the new trams in and about Dublin's O'Connell Street appears at last  to be nearly complete with many of the new routes being tested presumably with passenger use expected soon. Hopefully the trams will reduce the noise and nuisance of the vast number of buses that currently travel around the area although London's Underground seems to have made no difference to the similar problem at home.

The Castle Hotel proved to be a great idiosyncratic hotel as illustrated by the picture below:

The Castle Hotel
One evening as mrs maytrees and I were enjoying a quiet supper in the old music room at the hotel, the owner came over to chat with us. He said that when his father had died he was living with his mother in Putney paying a weekly £5 for rent at council accommodation. We talked of Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the UK miners' strike  and education, to mention but a few topics. As to the latter he described how to better himself, he studied for and secured a law degree. Later he was able to buy the then rather run down property which he now owns as the very successful Castle Hotel. 

We talked for quite a while during which time he bought us some tea and coffee though my supper had grown slightly cold by the time we had finished. An unusual and great evening especially as speaking with staff afterwards, they all said how good he is. Doubtless we will return there on our next visit.

Temple Bar
 River Liffey
Early morning for me at least proved the best time for visiting parts of Dublin. 

Trinity College is as attractive as ever as the picture below illustrates
Trinity College Grounds
58 years later I recall let alone still know, very few people with whom I was friends  as a child but William from County Dublin is a great exception. His wife is now a lecturer at Trinity and like the maytrees' family, they have four children though a few more grand children than we do. 

We met again in Dublin for an extremely convivial lunch and I reflected that perhaps one of the few advantages of boarding schools is the very strong friendships that can be formed there   so much so that they firmly stand the test of time.
O'Connell Street

For he sake of completeness I add the picture of Dublin's main thorough fare to the left, though to me the street is not very attractive. The newly enhanced  tram system which traverses O'Connell Street is welcomed by all Dubliners I spoke to but although putting in an underground system might be very much more costly, it would serve the people rather better. Perhaps in the years ahead, the tram system will be complemented by a new subway as seems to have occurred in say  Munich.

The reason for our trip to Ireland was the sad illness being suffered by the younger sister of mrs maytrees. Indeed during our first three visits to her at the beautiful accommodation in which she lives, provided by the convent substantially  supported by the state, she was really unable to communicate but on our final visit she was almost back to her old self enabling us to spend a couple of hours with her in a cafe.

And so the trip proved really worthwhile.

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