Ok, so it’s not the same as the traditional song “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” but from where I stand, Tipperary, or Tipp as the locals call it, is only 45 minutes from Dungarvan. Tipp is so close (how close is it?)…well, it’s so close that a friend of ours actually commutes there every day. Mary, or Mary from Tipperary as we call her, makes the long way (not really) over there each day and lives in Dungarvan because she likes it here better. We call her Mary from Tipperary because there are a ton of Mary’s in town and it’s our only way of knowing which one we’re talking about. Turns out Mary was the most popular name in Ireland for girls 50 years ago which would make sense that we know quite a few Mary’s since we’re about that age (yeah – I know it’s hard to believe). The name Catherine was a close second back then, according to my sources. Today, Emily and Grace are the most popular girl names. Now for the boys out there, it may be no surprise that John and Michael were the top names 50 years ago but today however, James and Jack hold the top spots with John and Michael not even making the Top 10 (go figure). Sean, one of the more popular names I would have thought, didn’t even make the top ten 50 years ago but came in at number 5 this time around. One thing I have notices in Ireland is they don’t do the whole junior or senior thing. Instead, they use the term “og” to distinguish a father from a son with the same name. The term “Og” actually means young but is also used similar to the term junior in the US. Sean Og, a cousin of my wife Kathy, is a good example of this.
I have clearly digressed here from the topic at hand, namely just how long it is to get to Dublin and how on earth should you get there. As most of you know or have hopefully read in my previous blogs, we got to Dublin back in March by plane from the good ole US of A. After renting a car, an automatic of course, we made the drive down to Dungarvan and hadn’t been back since. This all changed a couple weeks ago when my many trips to Dublin began. First up, a bus trip to Dublin to see the semi-final senior hurling match between Waterford and Cork at the hallowed Croke Park. As most people know, bus trips are usually not the speediest form of travel but are certainly a step up from driving especially if you’re going to experience a lot of traffic or have no idea where you’re going. They’re a nice bonus too if you’re going to be drinking and shouldn’t be driving in the first place (you can see my blog on that trip here for a perfect example of this). For those of you who did read that blog, it was definitely a great trip up because Waterford won the game and is now headed to the All-Ireland Hurling Championship this coming Sunday. Dungarvan is going to go crazy if they win and the party will be just the beginning of the celebration if they win with the Liam MacCarthy Cup making the rounds through the county starting Monday. Tuesday will be the big day for Dungarvan when the town will literally shutdown when the lads come to town (hopefully) with the coveted cup after a 59 year absence (think how crazy Chicago was after the Cubs finally won the World Series). Keep your fingers crossed!
Next trip just a week later was by train with a friend from the Men’s Shed who has agreed to teach me how to paint. No, not the paint by numbers, but actually paint brush in hand in front of canvas. Now to those of you who know me well, my artistic skills are, let’s just say, lacking. Drawing a stick man is about the best I can do at this stage. So my soon to be teacher decided it would be a good start to go up to the National Gallery in Dublin and actually see some art to get a feel for what I’m getting myself into. Turns out there is a special exhibit at the gallery featuring Vermeer. Let’s just say, the Vermeer exhibit was just the beginning of my cultural exploration as we spent well over 4 hours looking at hundreds of paintings in a huge gallery. As they say, everything in moderation and that includes culture so I was pretty much maxed out on culture that day (probably for a few more weeks as well). It was a great experience though especially having spent the journey up on the train watching a video of a painter taking you through the process of first drawing and then painting a portrait. You really get an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into these things when you actually see the process.
Now reference the train trip itself, the trains in Ireland and Europe for the most part, are very nice and extremely timely. If it says departing at 9am, you best be there by that time or it will leave you in the dust. So the good news for this trip besides all the culture I experience of course, was the free train ride. Turns out that seniors 66 and over in Ireland get free bus and train rides for the rest of their lives. It’s called the Free Travel Scheme and is a great benefit for all the seniors in Ireland. Something to look forward to when you turn 66 years old. As my friend is over 66 and has a minor balance issue, he is also able to take someone along for free (me!). So off we went via train first and then the Luas, which is Dublin’s Tram system. A great day to explore the gallery and also see part of Dublin which included Trinity College where the Book of Kells is located (ask google if you don’t know about it). One other thing I’ll mention about the train is just how clean and tidy it was. Even the toilets, with their automatic doors were immaculately clean. One thing I thought was very cool in the toilet was the automated sink. You walk up to the sink and there are 3 sensors located above it. So you basically hold your hands underneath each one – first comes the soap, next the water and finally the blow dry. So cool…I did see something similar in England on our visit (see blog on that for more details) where you held your hands under one sensor without having to move them and first came the soap, then water and finally blow dry. What a country? All in all, a great day and the only way to travel to Dublin especially if you have a travel pass.
Finally, the last mode of transport to Dublin, the automobile. This is where you really feel the long road especially when you go up and back in short order. Enter the family visitors. Up until just recently, we did not have any visitors from the US. And then all of a sudden, the dam breaks and we get all our visitors in the span of about 2 weeks. First up, my sister arrived last week for a short stop over before her journey to Moscow to live like a local. As this was my first trip back to Dublin via auto I was most happy to have my handy GPS with me to guide the way. GPS is a godsend in this country especially given the lack of road signs. As usual, there is an app for GPS on most phones and my app of choice is Waze. It not only tells you how to get where you’re going but also alerts you to traffic jams and garda speed traps. As her flight was in the early am I made my way up there around 7am and was happy to encounter next to no traffic on the road until I reached the beltway around Dublin. And even there, while traffic was heavy given it was rush hour time, I didn’t have to stop once and made pretty decent time.
So that makes 4 trips to Dublin in the last couple weeks by bus, train and automobile and no surprise, as I alluded to earlier, the train wins hands down. That said, I’ve got 4 more trips by car to Dublin in the coming weeks when my brother comes to town. I’ll be an old pro on Dublin by the end of these trips so feel free to come on over for a visit and enjoy the Murphy’s travel service. Sorry no automated toilets included.
Finally, as the name of the blog implies, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”, I thought I would include the lyrics for your entertainment. But first, the Irish phrase of the week:
|PHRASE:||Cathain a bhainfidh an traenach/bus amach i Baile Atha Cliath|
|PRONOUNCED:||kohh-inn a bwin-igg on tray-nock/bus ah-mock i ball-yeh aq-hah klee-ah|
|MEANING:||When does this train/bus arrive in Dublin?|
It’s a Long Way to Tipperary
Up to mighty London
Came an Irishman one day.
As the streets are paved with gold
Sure, everyone was gay,
Singing songs of Piccadilly,
Strand and Leicester Square,
Till Paddy got excited,
Then he shouted to them there:
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go.
It’s a long way to little Mary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It’s a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there.
Paddy wrote a letter
To his Irish Molly-O,
Saying, “Should you not receive it,
Write and let me know!”
“If I make mistakes in spelling,
Molly, dear,” said he,
“Remember, it’s the pen that’s bad,
Don’t lay the blame on me!
Molly wrote a neat reply
To Irish Paddy-O,
Saying “Mike Maloney
Wants to marry me, and so
Leave the Strand and Piccadilly
Or you’ll be to blame,
For love has fairly drove me silly:
Hoping you’re the same!”
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