In Dublin’s Fair City

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I liked traveling with the jump-on-jump-off (JOJO) passes, which is what the Slow Coach was. None of these services exist anymore…I’ve been trying to find out when they all disappeared. They all seemed to start around the same time in the mid-90s but it sounds like they couldn’t make a real go of it so the services don’t exist anymore. That would have made my European trip a very different adventure for me. The JOJO passes were almost like a tour where the drivers explained things about where you were going along the way, and it had a defined route (as you’d have seen in my earlier map of Britain) but there was no commitment other than that; people could get on and off as they liked so you weren’t with the same people all the time. I loved it.

Dublin Castle was my first castle. And funny enough, that table really was my favourite part. I had been bummed that I didn’t take a photo of it at the time but I found one online (ah, the power of the internet):

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Doesn’t seem like much, I know, but it was beautiful and intricately done.

Obviously was a good little tourist and did some of the things I was supposed to, not surprisingly, based around alcohol (even when it’s a church!). The Guinness brewery really did have the best pint of Guinness I would have my entire trip (and truthfully, I had a lot!). Someone told me recently that Guinness will never tasted the same here because it has to be transported overseas and there’s a chemical they have to add to it for stability. Not sure it’s the case…I just think there’s none of the River Liffey in it.

I vaguely remember Eamonn…was a little put off as I recall when he talked about Jack the Ripper while we had a pint at a corner table at O’Reilly’s…that must have been after he kissed me, because obviously I let that happen.. He was a bit hard to work out. But what a 23-year-old experience to have. I feel like I made the right decision by ditching the second night. It did freak me out a little as well, because the first night he had walked me back to the hostel, so I felt like he knew where I was and would come and find me if I didn’t show up. Still, it’s not my style to ditch someone, or make plans and not show. I’m just not like that, hence the slight feeling of guilt.

I loved Tom Robbins – read every one of his books in my 20s, still have copies on my bookshelves…they are some of the books I just can never pare down. They meant a lot to me…That’s another thing I should return to 20 years later. See how that feels. Jitterbug Perfume I think was my favourite. If you’ve never read it, here is a rabbit hole of quotes to give you the flavour of the fantastical cult classic.

This also sparks again my interest in religion related to the feminine. I had spent some time exploring goddess religion – I loved the feminism and the empowerment and action behind it…still do. But ultimately I found while that religion of any sort is so fascinating, and I love educating myself on all different kinds, practicing any kind or organized religion isn’t for me. But learning about women who became saints was of particular interest. Will look forward to re-learning more about St. Brigid of Kildare.

And as a recap, because I spelled it out so neatly, this is the trip so far:

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So many people who seemed significant and memorable at the time have faded from memory. But some remain, and some come back to life when I reread bits and pieces about them. I do think I get a bit more detailed in future posts…


Manchester onto Dublin

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So in writing this post, I was in the Wed Wose Cafe, which seemed to have closed down in the mid-2000s but this map gives you an idea of where it was in Dublin. Pretty central…I don’t recall this specific spot but I can certainly romanticize what it was like!

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But this post was really more about Manchester than Dublin and covered the 24th & 25th. A little bit tricky when trying to honour the anniversary…should it be the anniversary of the event – I’d think so – or when the entry was created? Maybe I have to read ahead a little after all. Guess I’ll have to work that out.

I find it interesting that I tried to go out alone and was told not to. I’m glad I asked. I’m not much of an asker these days, I like to try to figure things out myself. But I’m guessing my Spidey sense was probably tingling…but nice that Nick guy was a good dude. He was just a guy who wanted to go for a beer. Probably a little unfair of me to refer to him as “goofy” as he did me a favour in hanging out when I had no one else.

I’ve never been a clubbing type – it’s just not bred into us North Americans the same way it is for the Europeans. I remember wanting to check out the Haçienda because of its legendary status but I knew right away it wasn’t my scene. But what I didn’t realize at the time is that it closed a month later, nearly to the day. I had no idea.  And now gone for good. As a music fan, it’s cool I got to visit one of those legendary venues.

Can’t find evidence of the music festival but I found a little history on Toss the Feathers. Still have a love for Celtic music. It was exciting to find a few small music festivals. I love seeing live music whenever I can and this is something that’s been with me for years. Especially a festival like this which seems like it reflects the Winnipeg Folk Festival which is of course, so near and dear to my heart.

Especially as a new traveler I loved meeting other single women on the road. They all seemed to be something so cool, which was both inspiring and motivating. Most of the time I loved the freedom to move, to meet and hang with different people learning about different cultures along the way. I tried to steer away from Canadians, whom I felt I could meet at home, and Americans, because they felt too much like Canadians. I was enamoured of the Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and other Europeans. They were all so exotic, with their accents and their slang, many of them on their gap years or lengthy overseas stays with their parents’ heritage leading them to work visas…

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That’s what I did and where I stayed. Feels like not much yet…I know it took a while to ease into it all, to have my Canadian life melt away. I don’t think I quite had a sense of how free I was then. I was so uncertain of where I was going to go in life. This seemed like a justification. I did feel supported by my family when I left, which was good. They believed in travel as a form of education, so it felt like I was extending my learning before really starting in the working world and I didn’t feel like I was copping out or escaping. OK maybe I was escaping a little. But I needed to do something different. My dreams of working in Advertising (which I thought I would do from when I was about 14) were shattered after actually taking an advertising course and learning what it was really about. I was single, I had no debt (huge thanks to my parents for saving for my education all those years) and more than that, no plan. So it really was the best time to go.

When I was with my mom last weekend in Sonoma we talked about this blog. She asked me why I was doing it. Why was I sharing this online with the world to see. My first answer is that I felt the need to commemorate this trip somehow. I needed the impetus to read the journals again, and I needed a framework to put it all in. She knew it was a hard time for me back then. She said the trip changed me. I hope she meant for the good…but maybe not entirely, I didn’t ask her to elaborate because I don’t know if I want to know.

But I am at peace with my life now. And I’m really proud I made this all happen for myself. It would have been really very easy NOT to make the journey, NOT to take the risk. But with all risk comes results one way or the other – and I can say in this case, rewards.