This time, we had drinks in the bar of the Royal Marine afterwards.
We were in Ireland for natural20 and Shevy's wedding. Originally, we'd have flown out on Friday and back on Sunday, but then I received an email from the delightful Marina Diamandis saying she was doing a gig in the Olympia on Dame Street on the Wednesday evening.
So I dithered for about a week, and realised that I had three days to take left in this holiday year. It'd be a good chance to catch up with people outside the crammed social environment of the wedding day itself. So, what the hell, three days off.
And Marina was sold out.
Oh well. It let us have an early night instead.
On Thursday, we got into the car and drove down to see dduane and petermorwood at their place in Co. Wicklow. It's really in the middle of nowhere, and though it's about 75 minutes by car from DL, it does help to know where you're going, because it's a lone house on one of the fine spiders web roads out there. Public transport? Well, there may be a daily bus to the small village a fair walk away.
Peter and Diane had, of course, cooked lunch for us. A fine dauphinoise (because what's a meal in Ireland without potatoes?). And a fine slow cooked beef casserole, whose recipe is on the web - the only obvious improvement would be to thicken up the gravy somewhat because slow cooking doesn't do that as well as an oven does. It's great catching up, but we really should have left the hotel an hour earlier, because our time there was limited: we had to leave them at about 14:00 because the next stage was to drive down and meet irishkate by the Amazon offices down at Cork Airport at 17:00.
And I don't trust Irish roads long distance.
They've built some new ones.
It took us a little time to wiggle our way out from the Dunlavin area out to Port Laoise, but once there, we dropped onto the M7. From there, once past the toll plaza, we proceeded onto the M8, and with cruise control set, I was able to drive with my feet off the pedals all the way down to Cork except for once when I had to ease back to let a vehicle overtake someone in the left lane. Oh my goodness, the only thing that'd make this easier driving was if there weren't fierce (though happily small) rainstorms stalking the open landscape.
We got to Cork half an hour early.
Oh yes, that's a lot easier than it used to be.
So we met with Kate, and followed her down to her home town of Kinsale, and we were back on the old windy roads I remember.
Kinsale was as lovely as we remember from our previous time there. Kate did her practised tour, complete with the historical background (which is pretty rich for such a small town), and then we went to Fishy Fishy Café, which is one of the local foodie places. It may not be among the absolute best places I've eaten (it doesn't have a Michelin Star), but it's pretty good.
And then, at about 20:45, we bade farewell and departed, with the satnav feature on my phone turned off. After all, even with Irish road signage, getting back to the Royal Marine from anywhere in the country ought to be simple. And so it was, though as we were heading for the Cork tunnel the signs kept saying the road ahead was closed. In fact, they've been closing the tunnel at 21:15 each night, and it was only 21:14 as we entered it, so we made it.
Feet were then off pedals all the way back to the Port Laoise toll plaza, except when we encountered a tractor, and we were back at the Royal Marine 290km and about 3 hours after leaving Fishy Fishy. That's a pretty good average speed.
And so, into the bar, a drink (I'd had one glass of wine during dinner), and to bed.