Before I start telling you about today's antics I think I need to introduce a few people on the coach and our hosts for the week. So we'll start with the group leaders, Queenie and Noel. We also have Sister Sabina MBE (oooooh!) who over several decades has been raising funds to feed the homeless as well as working in soup kitchens etc herself. This has been acknowledged and she was awarded an MBE. Then there is Bridie, quite a character, always dancing and enjoying herself. After that, all the women on the coach are called either Mary or Molly! All the men are called Paddy or Seamus except for Jimmy who has taken a shine to me! Then there are our hosts.Councillor Pat (who was known as Paddy before becoming a Councillor!) who Queenie knows from previous fund raising events she has done and playing host in Birmingham to a youth marching band from Arklow. And finally, Paddy who formed and ran the Arklow youth marching band.
Today we're off to Dublin. There has been a visit arranged to the Dail, Leinster House, which is the equivalent to our Westminster. Councillor Pat rode up front for the journey into Dublin because he had a special place to park the coach and the group would have to walk from there. So he navigated me in to some on street parking bays which were full and we were on the wrong side of the road. So much for special parking! So I dropped off the group and went to park up while Councillor Pat lead the way for the group to get in the special entrance! Apparently, he got lost! What should have been a 2 min walk turned into a 20 min walk and was far to much for most. So I tell you what, Paddy, next time just leave it to me and i'll park right outside the front door! So after nearly killing off half the group they finally arrived. I think most of them found it pretty dull. This group likes anything involving music and drinking and not much else!
So after a 2 hour visit they were picked up outside the door for a short drive across to the Guinness Brewery. Now that's more like it! Councillor Pat had impressed the group by getting them all in for half price, including a free pint. Well excuse me Councillor, that's my kick back you're giving away! How rude! No one was particularly interested in the Brewery tour and most headed straight for the Gravity Bar with panoramic views across Dublin, to claim their free pint. I spoke to Paddy about about the best way out of the city and he said 'don't worry, I'll get you out'. So we left with Paddy riding up front saying 'get me to the main road and I'll show you the way'. So we got to the main road and Paddy didn't have a clue! Good job I'd looked at the map!
We got to the hotel just in time for dinner. After dinner, Paddy offered to take me and three others out in the car to see something weird! He'd taken Queenie and Noel the night before. Apparently, there is a steep hill where you drive down, stop at the bottom, switch off engine, in neutral, handbrake off, and the car rolls UP the hill! Yeah right! Don't believe it! I had come to the conclusion that it must be some kind of optical illusion and you were actually rolling back on a slight incline. So we set off. We started going down the hill, the car was put into neutral to free wheel down the hill, which was quite steep, but instead of speeding up we were slowing down. We got to the bottom. Paddy switched off the engine, I held the keys, neutral, handbrake off, and the car started to roll backwards. The further we went the faster we went and it seemed we were going uphill unaided. We went back down the hill, I kicked Paddy out and took the drivers seat myself and the same thing happened. This just can't be! It defies all rules of gravity! I know it did happen but I just can't get my head round it. And just for your information, I've not had a drink!
From there we went to the graveyard in Arklow where there was a headstone which Paddy wanted us to see. It said, 'in memory of Andrew Hattley. Died 31 feb 1938'. WHAT? This place is weird! My reasoning behind this was that the religion of Andrew Hattley was something similar to pagan and worked from the pre Gregorian calendar where the 31 feb did exist? Who knows? As for the car on the hill, someone has suggested it is something to do with the earth's magnetic fields. This area is heavily mined for iron ore which would increase any magnetism and because a car is largely metal, it is pulled to the strongest magnetic point, which in this case, is up a hill!
We returned to the hotel for another night of music and dancing and an early night for me! Very strange day. But this is Ireland after all! And I wouldn't have it any other way :-)