Dublin 1998
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10/22-23/98, Thursday and Friday

We flew this afternoon from Syracuse to Philadelphia and from there to London Gatwick. I used the ATM at the airport to get 100 pounds sterling. We found out that the train to London cost 19 pounds each, and off we went. We bought tickets on the train, and it dropped us at Victoria Station. We walked down the street and wound up at Buckingham Palace, which was not that impressive. It was a large stone building, inside a very tall fence, with some 18-year-olds, not in uniform, with machine guns slung over their shoulders. We took pictures, and looked at a monument to Queen Victoria in the traffic circle in front of the palace. Then we walked back downtown, past the Parliament Building, Big Ben, and some other real old places. As you can tell, I'm not much of a history buff. Looking at all that stuff was neat, but I didn't know what it was unless there was a sign telling me. There was a small stone structure, very old, where one of the kings kept all his money. There was a park with a bunch of statues. We went by Westminster Abbey where a lot of people are buried. Then it began to pour, and it was rush hour, with lots of people rushing to work. We ate breakfast at a little diner near Victoria Station, then got back on the train. I made good use of my conversion pack, carrying it on my back all this time. Tea was served on the train back to the airport, and they passed out a questionnaire about the train service.

At the airport, we had to walk miles to get to the gate leaving for Ireland. Seems to reflect the English attitude toward the Irish, by putting anything Irish as far out of the way as possible.

In Dublin, we took a bus from the airport to Connelly Station, the main train station in the center of the city. Then we took the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) (train) to Lansdowne Road, near our hotel, the Mount Herbert. We walked to the hotel and checked in. Bob's father, Les, was already there. Bob and I went for a short run around the neighborhood to loosen up from the lengthy plane/train/bus ride.

We walked up to Ballsbridge and had Guinness at a pub, then ate dinner at a nice Italian restaurant, then had more Guinness at another pub. We were pretty tired after that.

Saturday, 10/24/98

We ate breakfast at the hotel and took the DART to City Centre, and walked to Trinity College. We went in the library there, and the others paid to go in and see the Book of Kells. I bought some souvenirs and postcards in the library, then sat out in the courtyard watching people. We took some photos, and walked downtown to an ATM. Then we walked to Temple Bar, and had a couple Guinness on the ground floor of a pub called Oliver St. John Gogarty. Then we went for lunch at another restaurant while it rained, and we went shopping in Grafton Street. It rained a little while we were there. Then we went for more beers back at Oliver St. John Gogarty, where they had live music on the second floor, which was very good. Dave was there, and we talked with some of the Joints in Motion runners he was coaching. Then we went to a Chinese restaurant for supper and took the DART back to the hotel. A long day, and lots of walking and time on feet. My feet were actually kind of sore.

Sunday, 10/25/98

Today I wanted to walk as little as possible to rest up for the marathon. We slept in and blew off the International Breakfast run, since we figured it would be mostly Americans, and we didn't want to trade shirts with Americans. Les wanted to go to the pasta dinner, so he decided to stay in Dublin for the day and take a walking tour. Again, we had breakfast in the hotel as it came with the room, and then decided to take a train to Wexford, which is southwest of Dublin. So, we walked to the Lansdowne Road DART station, took the DART to Connelly station to buy train tickets. We got our tickets, and found out that due to some repairs being made on the tracks, we would be taking the DART back past Lansdowne Road to the south terminus of DART at Bray, then transfer to a bus to Wickford, then back onto the main train to Wexford. When we got off the DART train at Bray, it was raining. But the bus was right there, and we got on the top floor of the double decker. The bus ride went up over the Wickford Mountains, and was very pretty, and winding. The roads there aren't cut wide enough for double decker busses, and the tree branches kept whacking the bus. We saw the track work being done at Greystones as we stopped there to let off passengers. Then on to Wickford, and the real train. They served tea on the train, and we arrived at Wexford. We saw lots of old estates on the way, farms, and some interesting old buildings. As the train was trying to leave Wexford for its southern terminus, before returning to pick us up, the brakes seemed to be seized up and I got a little nervous about getting back to Dublin.

At Wexford we walked through winding, narrow streets where there was enough room for traffic in one direction, or pedestrians, but not both. The sidewalks were about 20" wide, and in most places there were cars parked on them (and in the road). I bought a souvenir sweater in a shop there, and the clerks were very friendly and helpful.

One thing we noticed in Ireland and in England is that as far as automobile drivers are concerned, pedestrians do not seem to exist. If they exist, they must be invisible. Which is very different than in the States, where pedestrians usually have the right-of-way. In Ireland and England, it seemed like stepping off the curb was an act of bravery. A bus in London nearly hit me, and Bob kept chancing it and scaring us. Making matters worse is that when you come from the land of driving on the right, you always look the wrong direction first when you walk in the land of driving on the left. In both countries we visited, they had very helpful instructions painted on the street, just off the curb, telling you which way to look. Which also tells me they don't get any snow to speak of there. Here in Syracuse, instructions painted on the pavement would be useful about 4 months of the year. The rest of the year they would be covered by snow, salt, or whatever litter was washed up near the curb.

We also noticed that things seemed to be much cleaner and greener. Although everything in upstate New York was brown at this time of year, everything in Ireland was still bright green. Many flowers were still in bloom, and very few of the trees had lost their leaves, nor were they turning colors.

We tried one restaurant, but we weren't "booked," so they told us another place where we could eat. We had to wait 15 minutes there, so we went to the pub next door and consumed a Guinness, then back to eat. After a quick meal, we rushed back to the train station, hoping the brakes had been fixed and the train would be along soon. It was. But, of course, it was a little late, and then the busses were a little late. When we got to Wickford, we decided to take the regular DART back only as far as Lansdowne Road, rather than riding the express train to Connelly Station, then the DART back. That worked out okay, and we got to the hotel around 11. We placed a 6:30 wake-up call and ordered a cab for 8.

Monday, 10/26/98

Marathon Day. Without sleeping much due to nerves, we awoke early and went for breakfast. I limited myself to just tea, since I don't usually eat before running. Back to the room to dress, and then a cab to City Centre. It was pretty windy, and we had gotten garbage bags from the hotel staff. We decided that shorts and singlets would be right for the race, but kept our garbage bags on to stay warm in the wind. A little running to warm up, and some stretching, and we headed to the line, dropping our equipment bags where we would pick them up after the race.

A moment of silence was held at the start for Noel Carroll who had died Friday. Then the race was off. I tried to get as far up as I could, but it still took 35 seconds to cross the starting line. Then we were running, and within a quarter mile we were spaced out enough to be able to run at my own pace. It was still windy and cold, so I ran in my garbage bag the first two miles, then threw it in a litter can. I wore my gloves the entire race.

It seemed in the first part of the race, maybe the whole first half, that most of the spectators were Americans. This was due to the running of large contingents from Team in Training and Joints in Motion. Their support people grouped at intersections and cheered them on. They didn't have much encouragement for the rest of us, however.


About 9 miles I started passing walkers. These were also mostly from the teams, and they seemed oblivious to the fact that there was a race in progress. I expect the leaders had to run around them as well, as they walked up to 7 abreast. At some points, they provided a welcome windbreak, but mostly they were just slowly moving obstacles that you had to be constantly aware of and run around.


The wind seemed to stay in our face most of the way. When it wasn't in your face you didn't notice it, but the rest of the time it was cold and strong. It seemed that the whole first half was into the wind. Even so, my plan of running 9:00 pace the first half and then trying to run 8:30 went up in smoke. I was running comfortably, trying to slow down from 8:30 to 9:00. I slowed down a little each mile, but didn't run 9:00 until 18, when I was beginning to struggle. That mile really hurt, and I promised myself that I would stop to purge when I got to 20. I had tried to use the portacan at the 15-mile mark, but there was a line of walkers waiting for it, and they didn't seem to mind waiting or to be in a hurry. So at 20, I found an abandoned gas station and got very dizzy when I stopped. But I started running right away, and that felt better than standing still.

I started noticing the Irish spectators more and more in the second half. They were not screaming at the team people like the Americans, and they had some encouragement for all the runners and walkers. My favorite was a guy at about 20 miles who said "good stuff laddie" as I struggled by. When he said it, stuff rhymed with roof. Then I started listening for the Irish comments, and they were very polite, friendly and encouraging.

I started feeling my legs cramp as I approached the 18-mile mark. Running carefully, I made it to 21 before my left hamstring locked up, and I had to walk a little. I walked backwards, as someone had shown me to do in the World Vets marathon in 1995. That seemed to work, and within a couple minutes I was running again. 21 was my slowest mile, a little over 11:00, even after stopping to pee in the 20th mile. After that, my calves kept cramping, but I was able to keep running with calf cramps by running flat-footed. The last 5 miles were a real struggle, but each mile got easier. The torture was mostly mental. I really wanted to stop running, but I also wanted to break 4 hours, and I wanted to finish, and I couldn't have both.

In the finish chute, we were handed our finishing plaque, a cup of hot tea, and very heavy goody bags. They had boxes of food, cartons of soup, water, a candy bar, and the wonderful Irish fig bars. I got my drop bag and put on a dry shirt and windbreaker, and tights. I ate the candy bar, and then felt nauseous. I called home and talked with Cathryn so she'd know I finished. Then I decided to wait for Les, who planned to run about 5:00. So I stood by the end of the chute and watched people. It was still pretty cold and windy. I left after 5:30 of race time, figuring I had missed Les.

I walked toward the DART station and asked directions in a little shop. A coed followed me out of there and told me the owner told me the wrong way, and that there was a shorter way. So she walked several (very slow) blocks with me and pointed the direction. She was very friendly and was attending Trinity College. At the DART, I found out yesterday's unused return ticket was expired, but they let me on the train for free. At Lansdowne Road, I had to cross the tracks, which is done by going down two flights of stairs, crossing under the tracks, and then back up two flights of stairs. That seemed cruel after the marathon, but I made it. Then two blocks to the hotel, up the front steps and to the room, where Bob and Tom were already asleep. They let me in and I got cleaned up and laid down just as Les arrived. After Les had a chance to shower, we went to one of the sitting rooms and asked for soup, sandwiches and tea, which was wonderful.

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Then we decided it was time for a Guinness. We walked to Sandy Mount, another little village no further away than Ballsbridge, and went in Ryan's, where we found the best Guinness in Dublin. After a couple Guinness and some roasted nuts, Bob, Tom and I decide to go to Temple Bar for supper. Les was very tired, and had eaten on the way back from the race (two Guinness and a beef & kidney pie). We took a bus, just as it began to rain, and it dropped us at Oliver St. John Gogarty, where we climbed the stairs to the third floor location of the very fine, old-fashioned Irish restaurant. We had smoked salmon, Irish chowder and steak, vegetables and potatoes. Oh, and some very good Guinness. We had now had Guinness on the first 3 floors of this establishment. We also returned the Guinness to them on the 4th floor. Then we took the DART back to the hotel.

Tuesday, 10/27/98

This morning we ate in the hotel, and walked to Lansdowne Road, where we boarded the DART with a day pass headed for Bray, the southern terminus. On the way there, we got off at Dun Loughertie, pronounced "dunleery", which is the seaport where the ferries dock. We walked down to the port, and watched a large ferry dock and offload it's cargo of pedestrians, autos and tractor-trailers. As the load came off the ferry, the seaward end of it rose and rose. Then Tom discovered he had forgotten his light meter at the hotel, and got back on the DART to go get it, agreeing to meet us at Bray at 1:30. Les, Bob and I walked up into the village, and as Bob took a photo of an old church, an Irish guy started telling us about when the church burned down, then went into a history of the area, mentioning the time the USS JFK and its entourage docked in the harbor, etc., etc. It took a while to get away from this very friendly guy in a polite way. Then Bob, Les and I went into a pub for a couple of Guinness. It rained while we were in there, and there seemed to be a great deal of traffic and pedestrians. Lots more commerce seemed to be going on than in Syracuse. Then we walked back to the DART and got on for Bray, and saw Tom in the next car, light meter in hand.

In Bray, we walked all around some old sections, and found a pub in which to have some Guinness, soup and sandwiches. Bob and I left Tom and Les to enjoy their second Guinness and we walked around the town some more looking for souvenirs and taking pictures. We rejoined them, and I was very sleepy, so I got some coffee on the way to the DART. Our plan was to ride to Howth, the northern terminus, and have dinner there. Tom realized he didn't get a VAT voucher check when he bought his crystal, and wanted to get off at City Centre to get the document. I decided that I was too tired, and got off at the hotel for a nap. Bob and Les went on to Howth and had a great time. Tom picked me up at the hotel, and we walked up to Sandy Mount for some Guinness. Then, in the rain, we walked over to Ballsbridge to order a pizza. We took the pizza to one of the pubs we were in the first night here and ate it with more Guinness. By then we decided it was too late and we'd go back to the hotel.

Wednesday, 10/28/98

We ate breakfast early, to get ahead of the hockey team, and called for a cab. Everyone was up early, and the cab was early too. Les had already left, since he had different travel arrangements. We avoided the traffic jam caused by all the Irish farmers coming into Dublin for a protest, and got to the airport in time to return our Irish cash, do some duty free shopping, mail a few postcards and catch the British Airways flight to London. Again, when we landed at Gatwick, we had to walk a mile from the remote terminal used for Irish flights. We gathered our luggage, and headed for the ticket counter to check in on our American flight. But since we still had tickets for the original US Airways flight, we had to change tickets. And we had to do that with US Airways, whose ticket counter at Gatwick was closed. With 5 minutes to spare, they sent two agents to the desk to write us new tickets and we headed back to the American gate, went through customs, and rushed to the plane. The plan was about half full, and we were able to spread out and enjoy the flight. The movies were good, the food was good, and we were very comfortable, arriving in Boston a few minutes ahead of schedule. Since that gave us a chance to catch an earlier flight to Syracuse than we had booked, and get home almost three hours earlier, we rushed through the terminal out to catch the shuttle bus to the US Airways terminal. The driver said he went to that terminal, but it was the wrong bus, as he took his time taking us on an extended tour of all the remote satellite parking lots at Logan International, and I think we stopped at a few closed parking lots as well. We got to the gate about 4 minutes before the flight was scheduled, and were able to secure three seats in the back of the Dash 8. Fortunately that plane was a few minutes late, and we caught it. A cramped, bumpy ride home, but got us there before our scheduled flight was due to leave Boston.

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