After spending far too little time in the vibrant town of Kenmare, I sped onwards towards Dublin. A brief stop in Cashel for Wi-fi and Coffee at a wonderful little bakery was a welcome change of pace before the final stage of my race.
The race ended prematurely when I hit the M50, Dublin's beltway. Whereas I had almost no traffic problems during my entire journey, now they were on me in full force. After some painful navigation of an unfamiliar city on the still-unfamiliar left side of the road, I eventually made it to my destination.
I had asked one of my friends from camp, Emily, if I could stop by Dublin and see whatever cool places she thought I could see. She welcomed me with the generous Irish hospitality that puts most of America to shame, and invited me to join, first off, a lecture series she and her friends were attending that evening.
The lecture series was called Head Stuff, and it was a fascinating glimpse into what I think might be called Irish Millennial culture. Lively personalities informed us about an incredible variety of subjects: why zebras are stripey, why Paris Hilton is absolutely amazing, why the Irish government needs some serious overhauling, why we're all cyborgs, and why music has no real definition anyway, to name a few.
The next day brought a trip to Dun Laoghaire, a wonderful coastal town just south of Dublin. Foolishly/Pridefully, I attempted to drive there, Emily as passenger. She just takes the train, as sensible people do, so didn't herself fully know the vehicular route to town. Armed with GPS-lacking phones, we eventually figured out our way there, and consequently all the stress that had melted away from the previous day's rush hour driving came back with a vengeance.
Emily had lived for a time in Dun Laoghaire while pursuing college studies and knew all the neighborhoods, it seemed. We sped along the coast, past brightly colored fishing boats and small church ruins on nearby islands. Upwards on quiet streets towards Killiney Hill, conversing about all sorts of topics. As we passed the coastal railway, I ran ahead down a trail towards the bay only to be rewarded by the sight of a naked man finishing his swim. I promptly turned around, any desire to photograph anything quite obliterated. Apparently, this is a normal recreational activity in these parts.
Up the steps to the obelisk. Grand views and rushing wind all around. To the south, a view of Enya's castle. Somewhere nearby, Emily said, is Bono's house as well. My time was nearly up, however, and we walked quickly back to town, past the maroon castle and expensive beach homes. Another coin in the meter, a dash to grab some quick lunch, and suddenly 'twas time to head home. Back on another plane, another layover.
Yet, for myself, for these friends, for this dear island, I think it shall not be long until I say hello once again.