Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Travel Tails

Ireland Bound Again

Once I realized, I needed to get back to Ireland to do more research, Sweetpea and I began to make plans. We were going to focus on Ireland and Ireland alone. I had so many questions. I needed answers. Typically not one to check on things ahead of time, when a deal on flights came up, we leapt at it. Not as cheap as the first time we’d gone, it was still pretty decent, and three years had passed since the last time. The flights would cost a bit more, but we could still afford to go. After all, we were really good at travelling on a budget. If we had to skimp here and there, we would do so. It was all part of the adventure. Besides, when we have to be careful with our funds, we’re more likely to live like the locals. I’m sure they don’t live high on the hog, watch their pennies and budget for the things they want and want to do. We were going to travel like they did, live like they did, and learn as much as we could about the lay of the land. I wanted to see and experience the real Ireland. After all, the girl in the dream, travelled Ireland like we planned to. If she could do it, so could we. By mid-September, we were on a plane headed to the Emerald Isle.

We landed in Dublin and caught the shuttle to the bus station. We studied the destinations and couldn’t quite decide. There was nothing on sale, so that didn’t help us. Where to go, hmmm, where to go? We hadn’t explored Dublin at all, it seemed like a good place to start and we decided that we would stay and explore the city for a few days, until we were told that because of a huge golf tournament, all accomadations were either completely booked, or extremely inflated. A room that was usually fifty euros was suddenly two hundred. No way were we going to pay that or waste that kind of money, even if we had it to waste. Scanning the board, sweetpea and I shared a smile, Kildare seemed to beckon. We’d enjoyed the National Irish Stud the last trip, a second time seemed like a great start to this trip.

“Oh,” the lovely lady apologetically smiled and gave a tiny shrug, “that’s not such a good idea. That’s where the tournament is. It’s a very big one. You see, Tiger Woods is playing, so everyone wants to see him play. It’s far busier than the usual because of him being here. There’s nothing available for miles upon miles. I’m very sorry … it’s just bad timing.”

Not about to be put off, I glanced up at the board, and made a snap decision. After all, just like the girl in my dream and story, we had no set plans. I turned to sweetpea and smiled, “let’s go north. We haven’t done that yet, and if I remember from a magazine I read at the doctor’s office, the Giant’s Causeway is north.”

Of course, the girlchild was willing to go with the flow. She wasn’t crazy about big crowds or overpaying either. No good Manitoban paid full price if they didn’t have to, never mind overpaying. We were in Ireland to explore, experience and escape into a dream. As we always did, we’d simply go with the flow. Turning back to the young woman, I smiled, “as long as there isn’t a golf tournament or something, that is?”

“Yer fine,” she chuckled in response, “nought such as that to the north right now. Where is it, yer wanting to go … is it Belfast, or somewhere else then?”

“Belfast?” Raising my brows in query, I looked at my darling daughter, “or further?”

“I’m okay with starting in Belfast,” she immediately agreed with a nod, “let’s go.”

When we got to Belfast, we didn’t stop there. We carried on towards Bushmills and the Giant’s Causeway. Adventure was waiting for us. We were in the land of leprechauns and faeriedust, where anything could happen. A month of ‘anything could happen’ stretched out before us. It was time to embrace the unknown.

We arrived in Coleraine in good time. We’d picked up a few brochures, and knew that Bushmills wasn’t much further. All we had to do was find a cab and head out. One would thing that catching a cab would be an easy enough thing to do, and it is, yet isn’t. Like the first time we travelled all over Ireland, we intended to use buses and the occasional cab. Those cabs were often Gypsy cabs. Now, many would warn against them, and there are all kinds of dire warnings, yet we never had an issue. We negotiate a price, hop in and away we’d go. This time was slightly different. I asked the driver, a pleasant bloke with a friendly smile, how much it cost to go to Bushmills, but couldn’t understand the reply. I asked a couple of times, and he though he patiently repeated himself, I still couldn’t catch what he was answering. He had a very thick accent, and I suppose I was simply trying too hard. Of course, the girlchild understood, and I was probably embarrassing her a bit, as a good mom should. It never bothers me if I embarrass my children. One has a limited window to do so in, so every opportunity should be taken, intentionally or not. After all, a bit of humility is good for the character. Apparently, I was doing a very good job of it at that moment.

“Mom,” she rolled her eyes with a bit of exasperation, even as he repeated himself and held up the appropriate fingers, “eight pounds. He said, it’s eight pounds to Bushmills.”

“Oh,” not easily embarrassed, I shrugged and giggled a bit, “right, eight pounds. That’s fair enough. Good, we’ll go.”

When we were in the cab and on our way, the driver glanced at me in the rearview mirror, “I’m sorry miss, but I’ve got to ask, am I really that hard to understand?”

“I’m the one who’s sorry,” I grinned, “I didn’t understand because you have a very strong accent, but I’ve got it now. My daughter’s just way better at picking up accents than I am. It’s not you, it’s totally me.”

“Oh,” he raised his brows in amused surprise, “I’d no idea a tall that I had such a thick accent. Yer the first ’as ever said anything about it. But yeh can understand me now, yeah?”

“Yup,” I shrugged, “I can. I just needed a few minutes to get used to it, that’s all. I guess I should let my daughter do the talking first from now on,” I chuckled, “until I figure out what people are saying. I kind of feel like, a bit of a dummy. After all, once I realized what you were saying, it was perfectly clear. I’m just slow on the translating of accents,” I giggled and shook my head at myself. I knew it was something, sweetpea wasn’t going to let me forget for a while. Funny thing was, I had no further problems after that. Even though accents were different depending on what part of Ireland you were in, or where they were from, I understood from then on. He was a very friendly driver, and left us his card if we needed a ride back. We were in Bushmills. The Giant’s Causeway was a short walk away, and we had a month of new experiences ahead. Even better, there were three horses in the pasture right near our bed and breakfast. Our adventure was off to a great start.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB