Today was to be a non-driving day to hopefully give my tailbone a rest so we caught the bus into Dublin and hopped on the sightseeing bus. The live commentator was not terribly good - she knew her facts and figures but wasn't as interesting as some of the other sightseeing bus trips that we have done. We circled the city - of which the Guinness brewery takes up quite a large part of the city centre. When the brewery had first been built 100+ years ago, the canny Mr Guinness had organised a contract with the city council for a 9000 year lease - at 45 pounds a year!! When we hopped off the bus an hour later we immediately dived into the closest pub for a toilet break and cup of coffee. Surprisingly we also got free wireless, so we camped out there for the next hour looking up flights and ferries and car hire phone numbers. The flights were actually cheaper than the ferry and my hopes began to rise for a very pleasant journey in the morrow.
We left the pub in search of a phone and once I contacted Hertz, all my hopes were dashed. They said that a one way drop off for the car to a "foreign" country would be 500 pounds. This left us with only one alternative - to get the ferry as planned and then drive straight through from Holyhead to Canterbury - 500kms. We returned to the pub so that I could book the ferry online and we stayed for a very average lunch, accompanied by some rather charming live Irish music. Unfortunately after an hour this was replaced by Gaelic football on the big screen with the speaker blasting directly in our ears. We sought refuge at the other end of the pub as far away as the football din as possible.
Mandy was attending an Irish Music jam session and invited us to come along. She had picked up another hospitality member, Martine from Belgium, and we had arranged to meet her at the big spire at three o'clock.We all squeezed into her little car for a one hour journey out of town to the community centre where the Sunday Music Session was to be held. Unfortunately when we reached the small village we discovered that the community centre had gone up in flames. We retired to the pub for a drink and the publican told us that the fire had actually happened four weeks previously and an electrical fault had set the thatched roof ablaze. Mandy was a peeved that the organisers had failed to mention this on their website. After a quick drink we headed back to Mandy's place where Martine cooked us an excellent pasta dinner. The four girls spent the rest of the evening chatting about our respective different cultures and traveling experiences.