Please forgive me if there are typos in this posting. The keyboards in France are tres strange. :)
So, I traveled through Ireland and made two stops. One in Dublin, and another in Cork. My experience in these little Gaelic sitties was a good one, but a wet one. It rained almost the entire time! Really Seattle, we have been outdone. :)
Brend Ban (one of the Aussies I met the first night in London) and I left London by train, traveling through the English countryside, which is really beautiful. I wish I had enough time to spend in one of the little villages which we had passed. The countryside is covered in green rolling hills, speckled with castles, and suspended half between a tranquil past and a roaring present. The journey ended at the little dingy port of Holyhead, where we boarded a massive 5-story ferry, complete with arcade, store, lounge, restaurants, and even a small casino where passengers tested their luck at a game of 21. We made it to Dublin early in the day and met back with the two Aussies ladies who were also traveling with us.
Dublin was a very good experience. That night we went to a fun, but very American knock-off of Johnny Rockets, called (not surprisingly) Eddie Rockets. :) It was good and after a week away it was nice to be at a place that felt like home.
The next day, we spent the morning doing laundry. While I waited, I spoke with the portly and perpetually irritated attendant. We had a good chat where she told me of some of the best bars and also convinced me of the restaurants to avoid by showing me their towels stained to a colour not quite brown and smeared with what looked like auto grease. Later that day, we headed to the Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. This building was the former premier Irish prison, housing several notorious political prisoners, among others. The gaol has a brilliant history, more a part of Ireland`s revolution than perhaps any other building. The tour there was incredible. The most interesting story told was that of Robert Emmett and his former house-keeper Ann. Robert, a prominent member of Irish society, had been involved in a plot to break from the British rule. He was captured, tortured, and put before the firing squad where he made a speech that has been mentioned by several important men, including Lincoln. Even more interestingly is the story of Ann who, implicated in the same plot as Robert, was sent to the Gaol where she spent years tortured, starved, and crammed into a cell filled with excrement and filth because she would not release a list of names of those involved in the same plot. Eventually, a political leader had her released, only to be hounded by the police for another 40 years, imprisoned and starved in a poor slum in Dublin, before she died never releasing the list. If Ann would have crumbled those important revolutionaries would have been imprisoned and likely executed; and Ireland`s revolution would have likely failed.
I apologise about the long story, the Gaol was so cool!
After seeing a bit more of Dublin, we headed south to the port city of Cork...