Left Dublin and headed to Kinsale Ireland. It’s a harbor town in the southwest of the country. I played my first round of Ireland golf, which was as I expected. Stunningly beautiful, but with winds upwards of 900 MPH, a driving rain, and getting paired with a Dutchman named Orkra.
Sunday was the all-Ireland hurling final. If you don’t know what hurling is, dont worry, no one does. It’s on Wikipedia though, so you can look it up while watching the superbowl of hurling and pretend to understand it. Basically, it’s a cross between football, baseball, field hockey, and Killing people. During the game we watched, someone hit the referee with a club in his face. He was bleeding out of his eyes. They patched him up and game on. I don’t even think there was a penalty for that. In other words, it’s the greatest sport of all time.
The scoring of hurling involves goals and something else, points or field goals or something. The goals are worth 3 and the other things worth 1. The score is like 1-7 to 0-4. Meaning the first team has 1 goal and 7 other things and the other team has 0 goals and 4 other things. It involves too much math for me.
Midway through the second half, the scoreboard read: KIK: 2-9y.? TIP: 1-7€!.32@. An old irishman walked to the door of the pub we were in. There were about fifteen people watching the game, but we were closest to the door. He said to anne, “who’s winning?”. At this moment, I put the odds of a correct response at 1 in 22. Anne said “Kilkenny” I was floored. I could see Anne’s eyes saying “please leave, please no more questions.” he nodded and looked back, “by how much?” I was panicked. She was definitely going to blow this. She looked at the TV turned back, nodded calmly, and said “seven.” the old man gave a confirmatory nod and walked out the door. I am still in shock. I’ve been to baseball games with anne before where there is an enormous jumbo tron in our section that will say: YANKEES 1 RED SOX 0 and she will have no idea what the score is. It must be the Irish in her blood.
Friday was our last night in Dublin. We went to our first ever soccer (football) game (match). Ireland was playing Slovaks in a qualifier for the 2012 Euro Cup, which is like the world cup but without America in it. I was surprised by a number of things at this game. The stadium was a little more than half full (suck it haters, I can be an optimist). the game play was more physical than it seems on TV. These guys were really fast and hitting each other pretty hard. As a fan, what stood out the most was how much I missed even though I understand the game fairly well. There were a handful of instances where the crowd would have a slight surge in volume – probably a player getting open or a play developing away from the ball – and I didn’t know what I missed. Other times, Ireland would have a good goal scoring opportunity that they missed and it would be followed by polite applause for the good try rather than a scathing rebuke on everything about the player.
Some other things about the game were also quite surprising. We bought the tickets from ticket master and they were available at the box office for pick up. In America, the box office is part of the stadium. In Ireland, it’s not part of the stadium and only one police officer (Garda) in the whole land knows where it is. After about 70 minutes of walk-sprinting, we found the ticket booth in some hotel, conveniently located in the general vicinity of Ireland.
The hiccup picking up the tickets meant that we got into the stadium just as the game was about to start. We were the only sober people in the whole country at this moment, and the fans walking through the gates had a rowdiness and excitedness that usually leads to hooliganism. I knew that after one beer, I would be in the same inebriated state. I was looking forward to a nice half pint from the beer stand or vendor in the stadium. And maybe a tasty snack.
The stadium did not serve beer. I repeat. THE STADIUM DID NOT SERVE BEER. Of all the surprising things that happen in the world, this was the most surprising. A soccer stadium hosting a game of the national team in a country with a thriving commemorative key chain bar industry did not serve beer. Also, there wasn’t even a shake shack.
Some not surprising things happened at the game as well:
No one scored
It ended in a tie
My U-S-A chant went over very poorly
We walked to the Guinness storehouse today. If you have never been to the guinness storehouse, picture exactly what it would be like. Got it in your head? Ok, it was exactly like that. A tip to any man that visits Ireland in the future, don’t order a half pint of anything for yourself. That’s a mistake I do no want to make again. “Git a load of ‘dis guy. He ordered a half pint.” (do the leprechaun voice again).
This evening will bring our greatest adventure yet. We are headed to the 2012 Euro qualifying match between Ireland and Slovakia. I bought the tickets this morning, and I’d put the estimate at 85% chance that we will accidentally be seated in the slovak section. Are they called Slovaks? That sounds sort of racist. Do their fans drink half pints?
Pints of Guinness: .5
Miles walked: 6.4
Additional McLovin sightings: 1
Extra Miles walked because neither anne nor I correctly navigated to Guinness storehouse: 3.7
Inappropriate hooligan jokes I make at tonight’s game: 9
Times I get murdered by a Slovak: 1
Tomorrow we head off to a TBD destination. We hear there is going to be an epic hurling final on Sunday. I also plan to do some epic hurling of my own when I switch back to the big boy pints.
Started the day with a three mile run around St. Stephens Green and Merrion Park. Unofficial Guinness tally for the day is now -3. Boom.
Day two was rather uneventful after an epic night one. We walked around the city and took pictures of things that looked like we were supposed to photograph. We visited the Dublin castle, trinity college, the garden of remembrance, the world’s largest flagpole (the millennium needle), a place with 200 varieties of milkshakes, and walked past Mclovin, who is staying in our hotel. That’s how we roll.
So far, the most I have offended anyone was when I used the “notes” app on my iPhone to record the tourist advice our new friends gave us on our first pub adventure. I think she yelled to the whole bar, “get a load of ‘dis guy. He’s using notes!” That wasn’t as good of a punch line as I had hoped. Read it again and use the voice of a leprechaun. Hilarious.
Day 2 amazingly involved no pubs, no keychains, and no Guinness. we will try to remedy that today…if Anne ever wakes up. Just kidding, Anne (it’s only 7:30) (but seriously, wake the eff up).
Today is our last full day in Dublin. Thanks to all who have suggested things for us to do. We have tried to at least take one photo pretending to do each of those things.
Times I said Mac-looooowvvviinnn in a fake Irish brogue – 134
Times Anne laughed when I did it – 7
Guinness pints – 0
Times I used the notes app to try to remember the name of our new Irish best friends – 2
Jokes I made involving the name of the banging scene from the first restaurant we ate at – 22 (it was called Bang Restaurant)
Times Anne laughed at those jokes – 0