I have always wanted to have a job that allowed me to travel. I had dreams of flying off to beautiful locations, having a meeting then lying by the beach drinking beer for the rest of the day. Maybe another meeting over a 5 course, 5-star dinner at night as long as they kept serving beer.
So I was pretty excited when we started discussing a work trip away to Geneva a few months ago. Unfortunately for me that trip got canned at the last minute.
Second time lucky though, we ended up planning a quick 2-day trip to Ireland at short notice to cover off a few different meetings in one trip. My dreams of beautiful locations with beaches had to be adjusted down slightly to settle for Waterford & Dublin, Ireland. I had never even heard of Waterford. According to Wikipedia, Waterford’s population is 46,732 and Vikings first settled nearby in 853. There’s all you need to know about Waterford.
As excited as I was to fly off to Waterford, my plans were nearly derailed before I left for the airport. Our flights were booked for first thing Monday so when I got sick the Wednesday before I thought I still had plenty of time to get better. Fast forward to Saturday morning and I was hugging a toilet in the bathroom of a NHS waiting room, waiting for a doctor to tell me what to do to get better. At this point I couldn’t even hold water down and I was 4-5kg lighter than I should have been (YAY for having a “healthy” BMI for once though) – it was not looking good for my Monday morning flight.
Thankfully I managed to make a miraculous recovery and was even able to hold down a bit of food by Sunday evening. So off I went to Southend airport at 6am on Monday morning.
I’m used to London airports being quite large and busy so Southend airport was a nice change. The only downside of the lack of other customers was that the airport security appeared to think this meant that we should get some extra attention. Nothing like an early morning pat down to wake you up though.
The plane we took to get to Waterford was one of the slightly scary propeller planes that I hate flying in. Added to this was the fact the flight before us was diverted to Dublin due to poor weather. All up, not a great flight.
Arriving in to Waterford is not an awe inspiring experience it has to be said. My first view of Ireland as we landed was huge piles of mud surrounded by muddy fields with a small
tin shed airport terminal dotted in the middle of one of the muddy fields. At least clearing security was quick, 10 seconds and we were all through.
I won’t bore you with the details of our meetings and will leave you to fill in the blanks of what a bunch of accountants might get up to when stuck in a room for four hours. It was thrilling.
I was starting to feel a little worse for wear so had to dip in to my supplies of various painkillers and nausea meds to get me through but we made it to our train to Dublin on time. After catching up on a few bits of work using the wireless on the train (being able to remotely log in to your computer from a train in another country still amazes me), we arrived in Dublin late on Monday night.
One of the great things in London is that any night of the week you can find a whole range of different places open for dinner late at night. Unfortunately Dublin is not like London on this apparently and we settled for a tourist-y establishment that was still serving food. This was fine for me as we got the classic tourist experience of cheesy Irish songs while we ate. The Pogues’ Dirty Old Town was a highlight for me.
I still wasn’t feeling 100% at this stage of proceedings but I couldn’t resist doing another classic tourist activity in Ireland – drinking a pint of Guiness. Some people have gone so far as to say that Guiness is actually good for you and based on my experience I would have to agree. I felt much better (and fuller!) after my pint.
In between meetings on Tuesday I got to see a bit of Dublin on an apparently rare sunny day but was mostly stuck inside. I did manage to walk around some of the nicer parks in central Dublin but left plenty to see when we go there next time (hopefully next year!).
As most of you know Dayna is, according to her passport at least, Irish. This is despite never having been to Ireland. To make up for beating her to it and visiting Ireland without her I had to buy her a little present to tide her over until she can get there too…
I arrived back in to Heathrow on time on Tuesday evening ready to pack up and get ready to complete my tour of London airports (3 in 3 days) as we were flying out for Norway from Gatwick early the next morning.
Next time: our first visit to the Arctic and our chase for the Northern Lights…