torrie's travels


Driving… December 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 4:27 pm

I got up and got ready to leave Dublin. As much as I had longed for lengthy stays throughout my trip, I think having two 5-day stays wasn’t that great. Because I didn’t want to leave. I had settled into a place and the thought of packing up again was tiresome. But it’s also the end of my trip, so I’m sure that had something to do with it.

I had some anxiety over the car. I don’t know why. It’s true I haven’t driven in 3 months.  That’s super weird. But I’ve driven here before and I made it out alive. But we had an automatic last time and I was going to have a manual this time. I wasn’t able to drive the manual last time (which baffled me), so even though I have since driven a 6-speed (I hadn’t previously driven one when I tried to drive one here in 2012), I was still nervous. More nervous than I think I should’ve been or could really explain. Bizarre.

I got on the airport bus and went to pay my 6 euro for the ticket and only had a 50 euro note. The driver didn’t have enough change and was going to short-change me 3 euro. I said fine, because what else was I going to say? (I asked if we could wait for others to get on and get change from them, but he said he was getting off because they were changing drivers. So I said, can’t you tell the next driver? He said no because the money gets off with him.)   I sat down and realized before we got to the next stop that I had one euro coin. So if I gave him the one euro coin he gave me, plus my one euro coin, he could give me a 5 euro note and we would be even. I approached the front of the bus to ask him and he was really angry, yelling at me that “I told you when you got on, I was clear when you got on!” Rude. If he had said, politely, the money is all locked up (or whatever), I would’ve understood. But he was a jackass. Another bus worker, I think, heard the conversation (and me saying, loudly, thanks for being helpful!), and came back where I was putting my bag down and gave me the change out of his pocket. I said no, it was fine (thinking he was the next bus driver…because I swear he was the driver when I took the bus into town on Monday, but he wasn’t the next driver today), but he insisted. Who does that? So nice!

I got to the airport and went to the car rental counter. As the guy was pulling up my reservation he looked at it for awhile and then said, “can you drive an automatic?” I was kind of surprised because, really, who says no to that? And I was thrilled that he was giving me an automatic for the same price as the manual. So I readily said yes. The guy working next to him laughed and said, “you’re offending her with those questions. She’s going to take your arm off!” I guess I responded a little too readily! He gave me my drivers license back and wished me a happy birthday! So sweet! I got my GPS and he gave me the keys. I was surprised that I didn’t have to take the shuttle bus to the lot like we did last time. The car was waiting in the parking garage. As I was leaving he again wished me a happy birthday, as did the guy next to him.

I got in the car, super pumped that it was an automatic and tried to fire up the GPS. It wouldn’t find my hotel in Cobh, so I just did the city. But it kept searching the satellites, so eventually I pulled out and was going to get on the M50 myself and hope it caught up. Then I realized that wasn’t the best plan, so I stopped for an early lunch and the GPS worked great. I only missed one direction and made it just fine. It was motorways mostly the whole way, so that was a piece of cake. Once I remembered that slow cars here stay to the left and not the right! Once I turned off at Cork to head east to Cobh, the roads got more windy and narrow. I was thankful I had the full insurance (had to buy theirs because I have none at home right now), so if I scraped a wall or something, it was no worry. He literally said to me, you don’t have to worry about scratches or dents. Score!

I couldn’t find my hotel, as it still wasn’t pulling up on my GPS, so I stopped in at the tourist office and a very kind lady took me outside to point the direction/turns I needed to take. And she gave me a map. I found it easily from that point. My room is great. Quite large. Kind of said to only be here one night.

After bringing my bags in, I set out for the Cobn Heritage Center. You may be wondering about the name. It’s pronounced Cove. Which is what the name was until Queen Victoria arrived in 1849 and the name changed to Queenstown. It remained Queenstown until just before the Easter Rising, when it changed back to its original name, but with its Irish spelling.

Cobh is “famous” for being a port of call for lots of ships. All kinds of ships docked here throughout the years, starting with the famine emigration on the coffin ships, all the way up to tourist ships in the 1960’s. The vast majority of the emigrants during the potato famine left on any ship they could from Cobh. Between the years 1848-1950, more than 6 million people emigrated from Ireland and about 2.5 million of them from Cobh.

Cobh is also famous for the being the last port of call of the Titanic. The Titanic was built in Ireland (I was able to see the Titanic museum in 2012, the 100 year anniversary…the museum was erected on the spot where the ship was built in Belfast) and from England, it sailed to Cobh. It left Cobh on April 11, 1912 and sunk 3 days later. Additionally, the Lusitania was sunk right in front of Cobh during WWI. Cobh citizens rescued as many people as possible and housed and nursed them anywhere they could, including hotels and private homes. Finally, beginning in 1791 Irish convicts who were sentenced to “transportation” were sent on ships from Cobh to Australia.

I thought that the museum also had a replica of a famine ship that was available for tour. But I didn’t see it anywhere. I was bummed, but that might be just a summertime thing. Or maybe they just don’t do it anymore. I’m not sure. So after the museum I walked around town. It is very colorful and very pretty. I wish the weather had been better. Although it was about 50 degrees, it was overcast and did a little sprinkling now and then.

I was looking for dinner around 5 because I had only eaten once today…at 11am. I went to one place, the Titanic Bar and Grill, but I wasn’t impressed with their menu, so I moved on. I decided on a pub called the Rob Roy. They didn’t serve food. They recommended I try the Titanic for pub food (even though I didn’t see that on the menu). So I went back and then saw a sign that they weren’t serving food again until 6pm. Sigh. So I decided to go to The Quays Bar and Grill. I asked if they served food and he said they did…starting at 6pm. Seriously, do people not get hungry early here? I had gotten some fruit at the store, so I decided to go back to my room and hang out until food was being served.

Then I decided to walk down to The Quays. I debated this because, although it wasn’t far away at all, it was down a massive hill. And I didn’t want to walk back up. But it was silly to drive and if I was going to have two pints, I wouldn’t want to drive. I ended up not having two pints, but still. The place was cozy but I wasn’t crazy about the menu. I made do, because I was starving!

I came back to my hotel and went to the hotel bar. It was set up for a party, but they said they always serve hotel guests. So I found one table not reserved and it was right by the fireplace. It was perfect. I drank a Bulmers and read. And then the “live music” started…which was a DJ playing mostly terrible music very loudly. And then the women streamed in. So loud. So I finished my pint and returned to my room!

Looking forward to Dingle tomorrow! Drive should only be about 2.5 hours, but we’ll see. It will take me through Killarney, which I am looking forward to because I missed Killarney last time. I think that will be a good lunch stop!


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