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Mark's 30th Birthday

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[Written on the plane from Dublin to Heathrow after several pints of Guinness].

It all started back in December when Coleen e-mailed Scary and me to say that she was planning a surprise trip to Dublin for Mark's 30th birthday. She said it'd be nice if some mates came along as well. Scary and I booked our flights pretty much straight away.

Unfortunately, Scary had to work over the weekend that we were in Dublin. We tried to persuade others to come (ooh-err), but nobody was up for it. As Queenie pointed out, what had Mark done to upset people? A surprise 30th birthday, and Coleen and he ended up spending a weekend away with me.

Saturday 17th January
Anyway, I got to Heathrow in good time, so had time to catch up with some e-mails at the airport. Because I was flying with Air Lingus, I couldn't use the BA Executive Lounge, so had to pay for my food and drinks. My flight left on time, and arrived about 10 minutes early. There was loads of Irish totty with low-cut tops on the plane. This almost made up for having to pay for food and beer on the flight (obviously I went without).

I got chatting to some older totty on the plane. Nice body, but, after about 15 minutes, mentioned that her husband was meeting her at the airport. What a waste of fifteen minutes of my life!

Anyway, I was greeted by an Irish immigration officer:
Him: Where are you from?
Me: England.
Him: Are you British?
Me: Yes.
Him: Welcome to Ireland.

I love this laid back approach to border control. Almost as laid back as the checks at Heathrow. All I had to show was my bus pass, and my boarding pass was issued. Travel between the UK and Ireland is excellent.

Mark & Coleen's flight was delayed by ages, so I checked into the hotel for a kip. Unfortunately, all the non-smoking rooms had been allocated, so I had to have a smoking room. It wasn't too bad, as the top totty on reception pointed out, it hadn't been used for about a week. Mark told me that FHM had awarded Stella the Beer of the Year award, but I was concerned that we'd have to celebrate the fact by drinking Guinness.

They arrived at the hotel at 14:55, so we just had time to have a bite to eat at the carvery. I spent ages trying to work the TV in my room. I checked the power supply, and pressed every button on the TV and the remote control. Still nothing. When I returned to the room to get my trusty fleece, I put my card into the slot that turns the power on, and the TV magically turned on! Gimmer!

We then went out on the Guinness. Mark and I were amazed to find that we thought that it was a very nice brew - we even agreed to try it back in England. After a few Guinnesses, we spent ages deciding where to eat. I was keen to try something traditionally Irish, but we ended up in an American type cafe. Nice food, OK service, and totty waitresses. Not a bad choice in my book!

We then carried on drinking Guinness (well, Mark and I did, Coleen wasn't convinced by the taste). Mark and I even drank Guinness in the last pub that we visited that served Stella as well (there was a nice fish tank, some very nice totty, and a bouncer who looked like Nigel Ben). Back at the hotel, we were too knackered for beers in the hotel bar. Flicking through the TV channels, I found a film that was in French. I watched about 30 minutes, but I didn't see any porn. Another waste of my time!

Sunday the 18th
We thought that breakfast was served until 10 o'clock, so agreed to eat at 9:30. That turned out to be a bad idea, because the hotel had run out of hot water, so we had to have cold showers in the morning. Still, breakfast was nice (I got Mark's and Coleen's black and white puddings). We then left to walk to the Guinness museum.

We stopped off at Dublin castle on the way. We found a nice maze type thing, but couldn't figure out how to get into the castle, Still, it saved us paying the 4 Euro entrance fee! After getting lost a few times (following the tour bus was a bad idea), our noses announced our arrival at the Guinness Storehouse (ignoring Mark's Guinness farts, of course). The tour was both entertaining and informative (but there wasn't much totty). We learned all about Arthur Guinness buying an old brewery at St. James's Gate in 1759.

By the end we were gagging for "the best pint of Guinness that you'll ever taste". Coleen even tried a pint, but Mark and I finished it for her. The free Guinness was in a new bar called the "Gravity Bar". It was a lookout post on top of the factory that had a nice view of Dublin. The views were good, it was non-smoking, and there was loads of totty. The only problem was that the views were too scary for my liking. After two pints, I felt brave enough for Coleen to take my picture by the edge of the bar. One of the barmen had his birthday, so we sang Happy Birthday and he got a kiss from some old bird. He served us both times, but he didn't draw a shamrock on the beers. All the totty barmaids did.

After two pints, it was time to get the lift back down to the ground floor. Just as the doors were closing, this pokey little kid got into the lift and pressed all the buttons. Fortunately, he got out at the next floor down, and all the buttons reset. The lift then took us back to the top floor, at which point a few more people got in. As we went down, the lift stopped on the next floor, and in walked the pokey little kid. "Don't let that pokey little kid get near the........", I said. Too late, he'd pressed all the buttons again. "You 'orrible pokey little kid", I said. "I don't know which floor I need", he said. He doesn't know how close he was to getting a slap!

We then drank a few more Guinnesses before finding a traditional Irish pub to eat in. Mark and I had a very nice Irish Stew, but Coleen unfortunately had cold chicken (and I had to bite my tongue and not complain). After all our drinking and eating, we didn't have time to go on the bus tour (the Viking Splash tour didn't run during the winter), so we had to find something else to keep us out of the pub. We went to see Thirteen at the UGC cinema (excellent, my annual pass was even valid in Ireland). We had a quick pint in the Outback (Stella, because we were feeling dehydrated) before watching the film. The film itself wasn't brilliant (especially for Coleen, who had some gimmer kicking her seat during the film), but it kept us out of the pub for a while. We had another Stella in the Outback afterwards, before eating a pizza in a "restaurant" opposite the (s)Hooters bar. We wrote an Irish limerick postcard to Gordy, Scary, and Emma while we were waiting for the pizza. We popped into a pub for a quickie on the way back to the hotel, and I got to sample a pint of Beamish. I thought that it was nicer than Guinness, and Mark agreed. There was some gimmer falling asleep on the bar, who kept us entertained. A quick Guinness followed in the hotel bar before we called it a night (not before we'd taken a few pictures of Mark next to the famous statues in Dublin).

I watched the end of Trainspotting, and then found a program that caught my eye:
Bird1: I never stay friends with my exes.
Bird2: Oh, I always do.
Bird1: That's nice, how do you manage it?
Bird2: I guess that's the difference between men and women.

One hour later, and they hadn't snogged! Even more waste of my time.

Monday the 19th
The Housekeeper knocked on my door at 08:15 and then ran away. It was OK, because we wanted to have breakfast a bit earlier before the hot water ran out.

Then we went for a wander to find where the bus tour started from. We found it after walking around in a circle and then back on ourselves. The bus tour was good, quite a few gags (including the Australian visa criminal record gag) and lots of useful history (that I've forgotten). Got a good view of the totty in Dublin. Mark's statues were mentioned - "Tart with a Cart" and "Hags with the Bags". Also saw the smallest pub in Dublin. We also found out why we couldn't get into the Irish Castle the previous day - it's because Ireland has the EU Presidency. We also found that the bus tour gave us money off vouchers for the Guinness Storehouse.

After the tour, we went to a pub by the Liffey and saw some Murphy's pumps. Unfortunately, they were empty, so we carried on with the Guinness. With Coleen's excellent directions, we went for a pint in Dublin's smallest pub before heading back to the hotel to pick up our bags and then get the bus to the airport.

We had time for a few more Guinnesses and to write a couple of postcards before Mark and Coleen's flight left.

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Created on: 19 Jan 2004. Modified on: 19 Jan 2004.
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