An unexpected breakfast; Train confusion and attempted shenanigans; Back to Dublin and thence to Kilkenny; Unfriendly locals; The importance of minding the time

We woke up early, rested and warm, and surprisingly not hungover at all, though Sheryl’s sinuses are rapidly becoming a real problem. She definitely sounds like she’s getting a sinus infection to me. As we were packing up, David’s daughter came running over to tell us that he’d made us a hot breakfast! After three days of cold camp food, a hot breakfast was just what we needed. And after a week of seeing the greedy, usurious side of the Irish national character, a dose of the giving and generous side, as shown by David, was even more what we needed. The ham, eggs, toast and tea were wonderful, but the act itself warmed me more than the food did. Afterward, we gave him our contact information, packed up and cleared out. I hope he gets in touch, it would be good to hear from him.

The walk back up the hill to the train station was very hard on Sheryl, sick as she was. What was worse was the news that we’d misremembered the schedule, and that we had three hours to wait. After spending €4 calling the bus and train companies (Irish payphones are evil and horrible and the bastards at Eircom will be first against the wall when the revolution comes) I was able to confirm that onward travel was not an option and the only thing we could do was to wait the three hours and go back to Dublin. Also, there’s no such thing as a one-way fare on an Irish train. There are smae-day return or same-month return fares. Not thinking we’d be going back (and not knowing of other options) we’d gotten day-return tickets, which were now useless for returning to Dublin as it wasn’t the same day. If we’d known, we’d have spent a little extra for a month-return ticket. A man told us that the ticket collector on that line was off sick this week, so we might be able to ride for free. We decided to chance it, and waited in the park until it was time. No such luck though - either Seamus the collector was feeling better or they’d got a replacement in, because we got caught one stop after we got one and had to pay the fare from there to Dublin. An expensive lesson in Irish trains. We’re taking the bus from now on, it’s less than half the price of the train, and much more convenient.

And so by bus to Kilkenny from Dublin, which we’d picked purely because it’s the name of a good beer, and because a couple of people said it was a fun town. We got there in the early evening, found a hostel easily enough, and went out for groceries. Some sort of time warp happened in the grocery store because it was quite late when we left it.

On the way back to the hostel, a bunch of yelling idiot kids in a red car threw an egg at us. It missed - just - but it immediately changed our feeling of Kilkenny from ‘charming’ to ‘unpleasant’. The following days were unfortunately to reinforce that impression. Kilkenny is a cute enough place on the surface, if touristy, but underneath it’s ugly. The locals there hate tourists more than any other place I’ve been since Niagara Falls where I grew up (which still takes the cake). I never felt comfortable in Kilkenny - I wonder if tourists in the Falls felt that way?

Not realizing that it was late enough that the hostel kitchen was to close in minutes, we started making dinner, only to get evicted (rudely) by the woman on duty - another local, as it happens. We decided to call the day a writeoff, smuggled our dinner up to the room, which we had to ourselves, and went to bed.

Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
This travelogue comprises 16,426 photographs and 402,515 words in 307 dispatches written from 335 places in 52 countries on 6 continents around the world.
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