Monday, June 4, 2018

over in Killarney...

We got the train to Killarney, without incident, on a lovely sunny day.
Kind of surprising to find your name in lights above the seats! As we got seated, we were surrounded by a group of men of varying ages, travelling together. They were all good looking, fit and casual but neatly dressed. A couple of them offered assistance with stowing our luggage overhead, much appreciated. As the train got underway, they were talking soccer and you know how you sort of eavesdrop but try to seem uninterested. Next thing I know they are all talking dancing, salsa in particular and discussing different dance instructors and whether they do their own choreography and that morphed into judges, competitions, and what all, all the time I was trying to concentrate on finishing up my ‘X’, Sue Grafton, used bookstore buy from last week. Soon the guys are breaking out snacks and, I notice one of them putting out a round of shots - I had already identified him as Polish from my shameless interest in their conversations, early thirties- he was facing me but across the aisle and we’d been making eye-contact and exchanging smiles - I was particularly interested because my daughter-in-law is Polish and I had gone to her mom’s birthday party a few weeks back and been treated to the ‘shots’ of liquor then so I knew what was expected. The man sitting at our table began including us in the conversations and they asked where we were from, etc. He was Irish and the oldest of the seven, fifty-ish, I thought. Anyway, turns out they were all professional dancers, (one Portuguese, one Italian, and two other Irishmen) who were going to Killarney for a dance event and celebrating a bachelor party for the youngest guy who was soon to be married. He was from Brazil and he later explained to me that he came to Ireland to learn English because it would help with his dance career,  and met the woman of his dreams - his English wasn’t too bad. I was dying to ask if they knew Len or Bruno or Tristan from ‘Dancing With the Stars’ but I held back.
Then they got into playing some games for the bachelor. One guy got out a stack of cards, like, things to do and gave the first one to Dennis, the bridegroom from Brazil. Evidently, he had to engage a lady nearby and teach her the first three lines of his national anthem and get her to sing them with him. It was pretty funny because he didn’t really know it himself, but he had already chose me as his target. While he was blundering through a line or two, I had no idea what he was saying and I offered to teach him ‘Oh Canada!’ instead. Thankfully one of the others found the Brazilian anthem on his cellphone with the words so we were able to complete the task, badly, but they were not judgy!  The prize was he and I were to do shots! It was just after noon by then, so I was up for it and I downed mine clean. He was having about his fourth and was a little slow - I beat him so they were going to pull his man card - quite a lot of teasing, he was dressed with a huge polka dot bow tie and a strange set of black antlers. It was quite fun to see the camaraderie and the engaging spirit of all of them and to be a part of it!
Arriving in Killarney, we made our way to the Scotts Hotel, our home for the next week. It’s a new-ish (most of it built in the last thirty years), relatively modern venue and our hiking tour group is meeting here on Tuesday afternoon. As this is the hotel for the tour, we booked in ahead of time so we wouldn’t have to scramble around and try to find it etc. thinking this would be easier. Turns out the Scotts has the best beer garden in all Ireland, at least according to the billboard beside the live band playing in the open-air courtyard that we had to elbow our way through. The front desk assured us this event is unusual because tomorrow is a ‘bank holiday‘ Monday which is equivalent to our stat holidays and there is a local football event with Kerry, the local team, playing. We get to our room and there is only one bed so Janet goes back down to ask for a change because she had called in person several weeks back and was assured that 2 beds would be standard. While waiting, sitting in the room, I felt like I was in the middle of the beer garden without benefit of beer. We got a new room, it did have two beds with a window that opened out right above the beer garden. OMG! There is no air conditioning and without the window open it feels like 100 degrees in there. We go out walking, the breeze outside is nice. We have a late dinner at the top local restaurant, according to Trip Advisor - it was alright, nothing special. Get back to our room and the music and noise of the crowd is crazy. The front desk told us it would be over by 11:30, so, we’re Canadian, we can live with that...Janet takes out her hearing aids and goes to bed. The band did quit at 11:30 but the crowd stayed for another couple of hours, singing without the band. Next morning, they are setting up for another all-day event and we see in the elevator, a billing, advertising all the bands for the coming month. We go down and request a new room, not linked to the courtyard.

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