After traveling from the new Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport to Galway on a GoBus luxury coach I needed to contact my brother as we had arranged. My American cellphone could not get service. I am not sure if it was jet-lag, excitement, being technologically challenged or a combination of all those but I could not manage to use the public telephone. (One would think I grew up with cellphones.) I approached a bus driver who was more than willing to help a confused traveler. He produced his smart phone (I still use a stupid phone) and called my brother.
"Listen Tony, P.J. is here at the GoBus depot in Galway and is wondering if you could pick him up," he said as if he knew us for years.
Tony informed him that he would arrive in 40 minutes.
"Sure, there's no hurry," the wonderful man informed him. Of course, he refused my offer to reimburse him for his trouble.
Tony arrived in a small, diesel-powered Volkswagen van that was to be my mode of transportation for the duration of my stay. Diesel vehicles have come a long way. The silver van was lively, quiet and extremely economical. I thoroughly enjoyed driving it on the wonderful Irish roads. As I had some hauling to do it proved to be very practical with lots of room inside and an easy-to-use rear hatch.
As we drove from Galway to the Burren region of County Clare I saw signs of an improved Irish economy. The so-called Celtic Tiger is long gone and a real economy is taking his place. The Galway area has a noticeable abundance of industry.
"Those houses were going for a million euros during the boom," Tony said pointing to a small housing estate (subdivision) near Kinvara. They are nice houses but definitely not worth that price. Now the owners are paying for a house that is worth considerably less than what they paid for it. What can I say?
We stopped at Londis supermarket in Kinvara where I purchased sausages and black pudding. Tony's wife, Frances, cooked up sausages and black pudding but not the ones I had purchased. I found them in the car several days later. What a waste. I knew a woman who liked to consume sausages as they were "going off" but thought it better not to follow her example.
It was the first day of my three week visit to Ireland. It was a long four years since my last visit. As I looked out the window at Moneen Mountain I promised myself not to waste a single moment because the time can slip by quickly.
Let the adventures begin ...