Bear with me, this is a long post. Did not have access every day to the web… so here it all is now.
Written in Dublin Airport – Friday, May 20th – Flight in 2 hours
Well, it’s nearly done. I’ve been traveling through Ireland for the last nine days and today, finally, I’m in the airport waiting for my flight home to Boston.
What a great time. Played golf four times with the RedTees.ie (that’s a tour group that specializes in women traveling for golf) They were great and very generous, not only with their time but with their hospitality. We stayed at fabulous locations, played fabulous golf courses and ate at fabulous venues. It think I can say it was totally FABU. Overall I could not have been happier. Wish I could afford to come back for a second trip. If I can get seven other women to sign up for a trip I can travel for free! Anyone interested?
So – about the golf…. I didn’t play well… I sort of imploded a couple of times, but who can blame me what with the weather changing from warm and sunny to driving hail and rain? We had to pack our golf bags for both kinds of weather. The only thing we didn’t get hit with was snow! Otherwise, we got a sample of all the types of Irish weather we could experience. Especially on the links course on the last day of golf. A links course is right by the ocean, surrounded by dunes, high grasses and of course is a naturally wind swept course. You have to learn to keep the ball low and let it roll on the fast fairways. I had a lot of trouble learning how to be accurate against the wind. I would aim left and the ball would get caught up in a gust and land far to the right, usually in tall grass and nearly impossible to find, much less play.
I brought along 24 golf balls, knowing I would probably lose a few. I’m happy to report that I still have at least twelve… perhaps more of them are tucked in the bottom of my suitcase…. so it wasn’t a total washout.
My friend Noreen who traveled with me, had better luck. And she won most of the putting contests. I think I need to get my eyes examined. I’m not kidding. No matter how I aimed my ball, it always went just a bit to the right or left. I wear progressive lenses and had trouble figuring out which part of the lens to look through. You don’t think it has anything to do with talent do you?
Once golf was done the red tee ladies dropped me off at the Dublin airport where I was picked up by my friend Joanne. She lives here in Dublin and for the next two days we played tourist, visiting some of the big sights including New Grange, which is about an hour and a half north of Dublin – it’s a neolithic site discovered back in the 1600’s and restored to its original condition in the 1980’s. It looks like a big grass muffin on the top of a hill with a ring of stones around its base. They think it’s a type of Passage Tomb designed to allow the ancient ancestors to pass through from this world to the next. (One piece of trivia… Liz Hurley – one of the redtee ladies – lived in the area of New Grange back in the 60s and 70s and as a kid she and her friends would run all over the place… she even said they used to go into the structure and mark the walls with their graffiti. Probably took the archeologists lots of carbon dating tests to figure out which marks were from the neolithic inhabitants, and which from Liz Hurley and her friends!!!
We paid for a tour and were able to enter the sacred space and experience what it must have been like for the ancients. Scientists have discovered that each year just at sunrise on the morning of the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year) a slice of sunlight penetrates the tomb and fills the inner sacred chamber with sunlight. It is believed that the ancient souls could then pass from this life to the next on the beams of light… or something like that.
Each year thousands of people travel to New Grange to try and experience the actual moment the sun penetrates the tomb. There are so many that the Irish government has had to set up a lottery. Only 24 people out of the 25,000 who applied last year were allowed to be present inside at last year’s Winter Solstice event.
So that we might have a taste of the experience, the tour has set up a little electric light demonstration. I’m sure it’s nothing like the real event, but it was fascinating to watch the shaft of light cross the floor of the chamber and suddenly illuminate the space. Very Indiana Jones!
What else did we do? A lot of the streets were closed because the Queen of England was visiting, but the buses were running right enough. During my stay in Dublin:
• I visited Trinity College and checked out the Book of Kells, saw the skeleton of the Irish Giant (a 24 year old who grew to 7 feet, 400 lbs or so before he died—bad disease I think.)
• Took a tour of the Guinness Brewery and had a bit of a pint
• Had dinner at Johnnie Fox’s and enjoyed a Hooley – a wild night of singing and dancing meant to entertain the tourists… and they did
• Enjoyed the exhibits at the Chester Barret Museum
• Walked down Grafton Street and shopped in Temple Bar
• Visited Kilkenny Castle
• Took a long walk along the sea wall in Booterstown
• Ate lunch at Powerscourt and walked their gardens
• Had a plate of bangers and mash (that’s sausage and potatoes) at Quay’s Pub (pronounced Keys) along with a pint of Guiness, on my last day of touring Dublin
• And I learned to take the Dart (the local trains – like subways in Boston – but believe it or not, these run exactly on time!!! – amazing!)
So it’s been a great trip with lots of memories and pictures to share. I will be posting a gallery so you can see it all. Watch for it! 🙂