Traveling alone in Ireland is not so bad

Deidre McEvoy
Deidre McEvoy

Before I took this trip, I was nervous about traveling alone. I’ve never traveled by myself and was worried whether I’d get lonely. But I just felt I needed to do it alone. For one, I wanted to be able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. Toni and I travel well together, but we are different people and like to do different things. Sometimes I just like to sit in a cafe and people watch and to Toni that feels like she’s not doing anything. She needs to move around and see something, or she feels like she’s not getting her money’s worth. She also doesn’t talk much to other people she doesn’t know and I enjoy it.

So far this has been the best experience. I have met so many people that I otherwise would have never talked to if I had traveled with another person or more.

To begin with, I had dinner the other night in Dublin with Deidre McEvoy. Deidre is an amateur genealogist from Rostrevor, where my O’Rourke family came from. She does genealogy for lots of people, particularly Americans searching for their Irish roots. She was able to send me lots of information, including the names of my third and fourth great grandfathers. (By the way, they were both named John — John Jr. and John Sr. My great grandfather is also named John.) Continue reading “Traveling alone in Ireland is not so bad”

Jet lag, weather and civil rights my first day in Dublin

I listened to these Irish musicians at O'Flaherty's Pub in Temple Bar.
I listened to these Irish musicians at O’Flaherty’s Pub in Temple Bar.

If only it could rain like this in California in January. I was ill-prepared for the weather when I stepped out of the Dublin airport late yesterday morning. The rain was coming down in buckets and the cold penetrated my skin underneath my light sweater.  I was only wearing a t-shirt under the sweater and my umbrella was packed away in my suitcase. What a difference between the warm, sunny weather I left in Ukiah. The the biggest shock of all was the air temperature — 45 degrees. It literally felt like a cold January rainstorm in Northern California, when it used to rain in California.  I expected the rain, but not the cold. I had checked the Dublin weather before I left and it had been in the low sixties.

My flight was uneventful except that they somehow did not have me on the list to receive a vegetarian meal. Luckily, they had an extra one. I sat next to a French lady traveling to her home in Paris who barely spoke the entire trip. I managed to get a few hours sleep which is pretty good for me as I always have trouble sleeping on planes. I still have jet lag today as I only slept about four hours my first night in Dublin.

After arriving, Tony the taxi driver picked me up at the airport and it was good to see him again. He dropped me off at the Kilronan house, a guest house near St. Stephens Green. It’s in the Georgian part of Dublin among row houses with colorfully painted doors. It’s a very pretty part of the city. My room is nice, but it’s as big as a closet. Continue reading “Jet lag, weather and civil rights my first day in Dublin”

Getting closer

Tony Cappocci in front of John Kavanaugh's in Dublin.
Tony Cappocci in front of John Kavanaugh’s in Dublin.

It’s Sunday and five days before I leave for Ireland. I still don’t have a complete itinerary, but I know most of the places I will be. When I arrive I will at least have a familiar face to greet me. Earlier this week I contacted the taxi driver we hired two years ago when I visited Ireland two years ago. His name is Tony and he was perfect for us. He drove us to Newgrange, then to Malahide Castle and Howth a small town just north of Dublin. He took us to his favorite fish and chips restaurant, a small take out joint where they didn’t even write down your order. I don’t usually eat meat or fish, but I made an exception and it was delicious.

On our  last sight seeing day in Ireland he took us to the Dublin Cemetery, the Botanical Gardens and his favorite watering hole or pub — John Kavanaugh’s. We saw the graves of the Irish martyrs — Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and Tom Clarke who were executed by the British after the Easter rising in 1916, an  event which is said to have turned public opinion against the British and for Irish independence.

I’m glad I’m arriving Saturday morning to a familiar face. I’ll be tired after the 10-hour flight. He has already suggested I check out Croke Park in Dublin a venue where Gaelic Football and Hurling are played — two ancient Irish sports. He must have sensed I’m a sports fan. I may even check out a hurling match when I’m there.

If you’d like to read what I wrote about Tony two years ago, go to: