15 Jun 2006
|Ireland is expensive.
The train journey from Dublin to Edgeworthstown takes 1.5 hours and costs 17 euros one way for an adult. Give or take a few dollars, that works out to around $35 Australian. Compare that with a similar train journey from Brisbane City to the Sunshine Coast town of Nambour. It takes 2 hours but only costs $12.
And we were worried that the train home to County Longford would be full!!!
There wasn't much to see as we headed northwest into the rural heartland of Ireland. Unless vast plains of green fields dotted with sheep and cows gets your travelling mojo shaking. Luckily our sanity was saved by the pocket sized travel scrabble game we had purchased at Heathrow airport and before we knew it, we had arrived at Edgeworthstown station.
Stepping onto the platform, we were welcomed to the country by the cloying stench of pig slurry (liquid pig manure that is used to fertilise every field in early summer).
"Ahh...the sweet air of the country." I teased Marie as I screwed my nose up.
Paddy, Marie's father appeared with an excited grin.
"Thank god, you're home." He said to Marie as he embraced her tightly.
Later, Marie's mum Kathleen would say the same thing. Which made me feel like I had kidnapped Marie and taken her to some godforsaken place in the bowels of the earth.
Paddy drove us home along the country lanes that were overgrown with blackberry bushes and wild grass. Tractors passed us by with only inches to spare. Driving in Ireland is not for the faint hearted. One must have a mixture of rally driving skills, razor sharp reflexes and a sixth sense for what may be just around the next blind bend. Oh yeah... and the help of God hitching a ride in the passenger seat.
Our first day in Longford was overcast but humid or 'close' as the locals would say. Apparently we had already missed the Irish summer. It had come and gone in the first two weeks of June. Now the weather forecast for the next week was dirty days, fierce rain and temperatures struggling to reach a high of 21 degrees.
But as Kathleen would say.
"Ahh well...what can you do."
Bad weather is always more enjoyable in the country anyway I told myself as I peered out my bedroom window at the rain streaming down.
Luckily, I was blessed with the ability to always see the glass half full instead of half empty.
The deluge certainly didn't seem to worry the hares anyhow. They were still chasing each other around, their white tails bobbing up and down. The cows still ambled past on their morning way from the top paddock to the bottom field. Birds still sang to each other with summer love songs. And the rain painted the fields such a lovely shade of green.
'Soothing to the eye' as my Irish grandfather Jack would say.
Food for the soul I would say as I breathed in the serenity of the landscape. What more do you need than God's own backyard to bring peace to the mind and the joy of a simple life to your heart.
Hmm...well a decent espresso and a tofu burger wouldn't go astray.