Welcome to day one of my Irish adventure...
The last time I went to Ireland I was 12 years old and my mother spent most of the time yelling at me for breaking the side mirror on our hire care, that fyi, I actually hadn’t broken. Now ten years later I have ventured onto this beautiful little island to visit a girlfriend of mine and take a tour with a rather exciting twist of music, sightseeing and the Murphy family.
Arriving at Gatwick airport at 1:03 is to say the least, shit. As I walk into the north terminal, all around me are poor buggers rolled up on the floor in sleeping bags and hiding from the glaring halogen lights. Great, I have 5 and a half hours of this nightmare with nowhere to sit and not a decent coffee in sight. But thank heavens I have downloaded the first season of True Blood for some glorious, sexy, vampiric entertainment. This interspersed with copious chapters from E.L.James’s 50 Shades of Grey and I find my five hours has disappeared quite quickly. I did, however make the mistake of purchasing a latte from the M & S, boy was that a bad decision. As an Aussie, we really do know how to make damn good coffee, the little Indian man behind the counter on the other hand, does not. Burnt fluffy and horrible I retreat back to my corner of the marble floor with a scolded tongue and an increasing level of irritation. Now to find the Aer Lingus check-in desk.
After spending 30 minutes walking a track into the marble floor trying to find the little green booth, I give up and head for the Information desk, which just to add to my increasingly grumpy mood is unmanned. Right, a few more laps of the north terminal and I think I’m ready to hang myself. Ok so before I start looking for a long piece of rope I try another trip to the now manned information desk and find that the tiny little green desk I’m searching for is in K section, not that I haven’t been past it a 100 times and I am on my way to the departure gates. Yay!
An hour and a little later I’m standing in the wrong line to get through passport control. EU/ Non EU....what? Lord airports can be some stressful! That glorious game of 21 questions at the passport booth is reminiscent of being questions by a communist official...or my dad. A short ride into Dublin town centre and I am standing outside the Spire on O’Connell street looking for my girlfriend Jenna Murphy, music extraordinaire, vegetarian and looper as the Irish call them. But bugger me if I can find her, after 30 minutes of walking the main street and 5 phone calls from the post office pay phones I finally find her and her blonde bombshell friend Claire.
A quick ride to Claire’s apartment and we are off to Powerscourt Waterfall in county Wicklow. Warm seafood chowder in Powerscourt House’s Terrace Cafe and then a walk to the waterfall, what a better way to be introduced to this emerald paradise. The waterfall is Irelands highest at 121 meters. But to be totally honest what makes this place, apart from the glorious cascades of water, is the clear black water that runs of the rock face. Being an Australian and missing the sunshine, we took the opportunity to sit by the river (see photo) to chat, try our hand at skimming rocks and locate stones that were actually fossils, and the clue to this? Lick it!
By now though, I’m feeling a little like death warmed up from my midnight escapades at Gatwick so when the time comes to head back to Claire’s place I don’t mind one little bit. A quick power naps later and we have decided that as The Globe in the city centre is having an open mike night it might be worth heading over and seeing if there is the possibility of getting Jenna on stage. Spruced up and watching Claire and Jenna drink white wine from a baby sippy cup, we are on our way into town on one of Dublin’s double-decker buses. A far more amusing bus ride than usual.
The Globe is furnished with deep wooden interiors and beautiful long wooden bar. It has been discovered that the open mic night is not so open and Jenna has had endure a gruelling questioning to get a spot in tonight’s entertainment in the Song Room. It seems there is a little hesitancy as she is a “walk in.” Hamlet, the guy running the night has had a bad experience with a “walk in” musician who claimed his brilliance but had to be cut off after half a song. Well this certainly isn’t Jenna Murphy. As an accomplish classical pianist and singer song writer Miss Murphy is going to blow their socks off. We settle down with a house white and enjoy the first act. A young man reminiscent of Ned Kelly begins and boy is he talented. Second is a young guy with a guitar who is a mixture of Jeff Buckley and Scott Matthews with a rather over protective girlfriend who whisks him away after his set when Jenna ventures over to give her congratulations, get a life! But finally it’s time for her set and Claire and I take our seats with great anticipation. This is not the first time
I’ve seen Jenna play but her tunes have such an infectious melody and her stage presence is to die for so I know how good it’s going to be. She begins and although there is still a general banter as is to be expected in a bar, people are really listening and as each of her songs draw to a close there is great applause. Stepping off stage people arrive to congratulate her on her performance, and Hamlet takes a great sigh of relief commending Jenna on being the best drop-in act they have had in their 5 years running the Song Room.
A little later on in the night we head to Sweeny’s around the corner where a 50’s inspired Rock-a-billy band is playing. This place is stuffed to the gungholies with all sorts. We are pushed out into the smoking area due to the sheer number of people. After chatting to a few young musician lads from northern Ireland, who are quick frankly a bit wankerish we escape next door to Malones Fish and Chips to devour some traditional hand cut Irish chippies smothered in ketchup and vinegar and holy heck they are good, though now I’m feeling rather fat and a little guilty for eating so late. Sleep time.
A short ride home in a cab and we are in bed. And to be totally honest I’m shattered, however the night was a ball and I go to the land of nod looking forward to the next day’s adventures.
Check in tomorrow for flesh eating disease, crazy nurses and a small county.
By Saabeah Aforo-Addo