Details of a successful and
Between 31 May and 3 June 2001,
This is a record of the trip.
Further photographic evidence will be added as they arrive back from the Chemist, and when suitable blackmail challenges have been offered and rejected.
... and here is an early one
Thursday 31 May
On time ... for once
The immaculate organisation of our second visit to Ireland required that we caught the 0850 Ryanair flight from Stansted to Shannon.
It was good to meet up again with Mark and Ann and Bethany, up from Semley for the trip, and even the news that Sir Jukes had tweaked his knee failed to dilute our optimism for the trip. He would perform in many other ways, we were sure.
Smoothly through check in, on to the magic train, and away to the boarding lounge, Little Egypt, totally out of character, were on time.
Which is more than can be said for Ryanair.
Ryanair would like to apologise
... but we can't
Quite how they managed to get us all through departures in time for the flight, only then to tell us that the plane would be an hour late, is difficult to understand. Especially as the delay stretched on and on.
This further delay could mean only one thing.
I'll have a pint
For Little Egypt it meant that, at 8.40 a.m., John Proffitt and New New John Fleming were on to pints of Guinness. "He forced me," whined Proffo. Tommo, on the other hand, needed no such excuse for his pint of lager: it's what we've come to expect, being so tolerant of the immaturity of some people's taste buds.
Students of public transport will be intrigued to know that, after the 8.30 announcement of a delay, the next time the public address announcer decided to talk to us was at 5 to 10, with a projected departure of 10.30.
Go West, (not so) Young Man
We took off at 11.17. Not bad, Ryanair, for an 0850 flight, was it?
But were we downhearted? Not a bit of it, because we knew that we had Fireballs' in-flight entertainment to look forward to. We discovered more about his mother's range of names than we thought possible. So did his (female) travelling companions, and the lady flight attendants; in fact, so did anyone who cared to listen and some who didn't.
Anyway, the flight was otherwise uneventful, and touchdown at Shannon was at 12.16, and we were assembled by the car hire booths at 12.57.
At this point, Nev decided to deliver his now familiar Squirarchical Address to the assembled company. Saying it only once, he told us that there were some changes because of our late arrival, that we would assemble in May Kearney's Bar in Ennis at 3.00 p.m. and that it would now take 15 minutes to collect the cars.
Acclimatisation is so important
The pleasant country town of Ennis is but a short drive from Shannon, and we arrived quickly and without further incident.
We met up here with Dick O'Connell who was to be our guide for the rest of the day, and, before we left, Neville escorted the small party who were to stay at Kelly's guest house, where we changed into Horkey gear, and prepared for our tour of County Clare. A minor blemish on Neville's record for the day was his second wrong turn of the day (see glass barrier, above) when he confidently tried to deliver us to the wrong guest house. We don't think anyone noticed.
Orientation has its moments
Having changed and reconvened at May Kearney's, we set out for our tour of the Burren. This spectacular tract of limestone karst landscape covers a wide area of West Clare and is wild.
Best seen in the gloom and wind that greeted us, it struck some people so much that they felt obliged to stay in the minibuses to avoid being overcome by the beauty of it all.
Isn't that right, Martin?On our way to the Burren, Dick, the guide, showed us one of the many ancient ecclesiastical sites in the area: Diseart Tola (Dysert O'Dea). This place was so moving that some could take no more. You can have too much culture, after all.
Isn't that right, Martin?
That same evening.
Then we moved back into the bar to enjoy some, er, Guinness and a few songs.
Let it be noted that we left Kilfenora sometime after midnight, so that most of us had been awake for more than 20 hours.
We Egyptians are made of strong stuff.
However, if any don't quite believe it, you can read Proffo's blow-by-blow, drink by drink account of life at May Keareny's here.
© Steve Clarke November 2005 - firstname.lastname@example.org Created: 03/06/2001