Summer 1998 Ireland Tour
Account by William Norton
Wednesday 24th June 1998
On arriving in Dublin we attempted to locate our hostel without a map and little knowledge of Irish road signs, (Give Way signs, for instance, being replaced with ones that read "Yield"), or any notable regard by local drivers for the road signs anyway. The purchase of a map and many wrong turns and unmarked roundabouts finally led us to our home for the next few days. After unloading our luggage we prioritised our objectives, and like any serious bellringers, headed for the nearest pub. We found a nice pub in nearby Blackrock, ( or An Charraig Dhubh for you Gaelic speakers out there), - the Potters Bar which to our unending delight served drinks to us at our tables.
Thursday 25th June 1998
SS Augustine and JohnA short ring later and we were off again - destination Drogheda. A mixture of ambitious planning, Dublin traffic and road works meant that we turned up in town at the time that we were meant to finish ringing. Drogheda has two churches that are called St. Peter's, and it took many frantic phone calls to find out that we had been standing outside the wrong one. Drogheda has a lovely ring of eight bells and we were kindly allowed to ring for a lengthy period of time and enjoy them in spite of our lateness.
St. Peter's, DroghedaThe afternoon was spent seeing some of the sights of Dublin - green postboxes, the Ha'penny Bridge, Temple Bar and Dublin Castle. We returned to the Potters Bar to find out that the beers were stored on the roof and that red lemonade was available behind the bar thus confiming our eternal patronage.
Friday 26th June 1998
Christ Church Cathedral
The tower captain, Leslie Taylor, (no not our one, look at the spelling), told us that they had recently acquired a mini-ring of eight bells (11 pounds in weight) and we were ferried in cars to St. Mhobias, Dublin to have an unscheduled grab. The mini ring was easily mastered, (honest), and produced a good few hours entertainment before we had to drag ourselves away to catch the last DART home from Tara Street station.
Saturday 27th June 1998
St. Saviour's, ArklowThe final stop on our tour was St. Mary's, Blessington. The drive to the tower gave amazing views of the surrounding countryside - the Wicklow mountains and nearby fields and woods. After lunch in a local hostelry we were caught in a heavy shower of rain waiting to ring at St. Mary's. Unfortunately we were locked out of the tower and so headed back to Dublin.
The lock out. The rain added insult to injury.
Tea was eaten in Ireland's most famous chip shop, (Besshoff's), and then to the oldest pub in Dublin - the Brazen Head, Bridge Street - to sample more Guinness and the legendary craic.
The Sheffield Universities' Guild of Change Ringers would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody in Ireland who helped us organise the tour and made us feel so welcome when we were over there. Everybody was fantastically friendly and helpful, and we recommend that anybody thinking about taking a tour over to Ireland definitely should. We would also like to extend a special thank you to Fleur Kellett who helped do a lot of the organising for the trip, but couldn't go due to having to attend lectures.
We are already planning our next tour for the summer of 1999. The only complaints about our Ireland trip have been the amount of ringing that was included - so the Greek Islands look like a good choice!!!
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