The Bus to Killarney

TEAM CRAZY BIRD is en route to Killarney Ireland, on a minivan bus driven by Declan, a native resident of this fine country. We just stopped at a rest stop so everyone could pee, an artifact of the several pints of ale consumed back at the Salmon Leap Inn in Leixlip, a suburb of Dublin, where the team met up and had lunch, and several more bottles of beer and cider consumed on the minivan.

I forgot how collectively boozy TEAM CRAZY BIRD can be.

Note: Declan, the driver, is not drinking. He doesn't drink, I think.

This morning, teammate Amy and I milled about Dublin because our planes arrived earliest. We took the Air Link bus #747 into town (€6) and ditched our suitcases at Ned Kelly's "left baggage" repository on Upper O'Connell Street (€5). Basically, they watch your bags so you don't have to lug them around, something akin to a coat check, but for bags - very convenient.

We got our bearings on the city by milling about for a few blocks after eating a full Irish breakfast at the Arlington Hotel. We retrieved our left bags from Ned Kelly's before boarding the #66 bus (thanks Airport Information Kiosk lady!) out to Leixlip (€3.30) about 11 AM. We lacked exact fare for the bus, so the bus driver gave us receipts for the difference, redeemable at some obscure location in Dublin. A nice lady on the bus offered to buy the receipts off us at face value, realizing that we were naive tourists.

"That's very kind of you," I said. "Thank you."

"Oh well...you're visitors to our country," she said, handing us a few Euro coins. "Better I should take 'em. You don't need to waste yer time tryin' ta find the transit office."

Her name was Michelle and her stop was a couple of stops before ours in Leixlip. When she got off, she told the bus driver to be sure and let us know when it was our stop. We waved her farewell and I was a little sorry when I realized we would probably never cross paths with her again. She had no reason to be so nice to us...but she was.

It's true what they say of the Irish. They are fantastically nice people.

The bus dropped us a block from the Salmon Leap Inn about 11:45 AM. We sidled up to the bar with our bags and ordered Imperial pints of beer (Tom Crean's - €4.50) from the authentically Irish bar keep. It was delicious after the long plane rides and the walking around in Dublin. A local at the bar interrogated us on our comings and goings, which we gladly shared.

The rest of the team arrived from the airport about 12:45 and we migrated into the pub's dining room for lunch, where we met the Irish associates of the team (Fergal, Keith, Declan, and Dave, along with some of their spouses and kids). I had the roast beef (€15) and washed it down with Irish Guinness (superior to American faux Irish Guinness, but I still don't have much taste for stouts in general...). We socialized for a spell before piling into the minivan, helmed by Declan, for the 3.5 hour drive to Killarney.

That's the update thus far.

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