I’m Alan. Welcome to my Blog. I’m 25, a writer, comedian, journalist and I have a passion for discovering all things new in life. This summer, over 6 weeks I travelled by bus from the very top to the very bottom and to all sides and middles of this lovely green patch of land.
With the help of my followers, I discovered great places, met interesting people, attended some great events, gigs and festivals. This blog is a record of this amazing experience, I hope it gives you inspiration.
Bussing it to Waterford
Whats the best way to get to Waterford? By water? By Ford (car)? No! By Bus Eireann!
It takes a measly three hours and lands you right into the city centre in the beautiful quay side bus station. The bus was full and this was the first sign of what it was going to be like in Waterford.
The city was mobbed. The population had probably doubled for the weekend (don't quote me on that). Everyone wanted to see the Tall Ships. First I went out to my B&B, the beautiful Suncrest in Silverview, to drop off my bags and get my bearings.
I didn't stay there long, I had to get into town for the opening ceremony. As soon you got close enough you were stalled by the ships. You had no choice but to stop and peer up at the dizzying network or ropes and pulleys. The ships are very beautiful and so interesting. I couldn't follow one rope from end to end, I can't imagine having to know what each of them did and when to use them. On choppy sea water. In strong wind. There were sailors on the ships and some on top of the masts tying up sails or doing whatever it is they do up there.
The ships were lined up all along the quays in all they're glory. Each one trying to out do the next for attention from the crowd. Each one with it's own little bit of history and it's own claim to fame, this one the biggest, this one the oldest, the one the first, this one the last.
But there is more to this event than the ships, of course the ships are the main attraction, and the actual reason for the event, but it's a whole festival. There are food stalls aplenty, craft stalls, games, music, whatever, just everything.
I'm a veteran festival goer at this stage and I noticed a lot of the same stalls and same staff that were at things like Sea Sessions, Slane and Body & Soul. The ships are lined up on both sides of the river and they are open to visitors during the day. I got on one of them and I instantly felt like a pirate, not a credible sea captain. Curious isn't it? But the ship was lovely, I'd really like to be on one out at sea. With a life jacket and spare speed boat at ready of course.
I was sauntering around enjoying the sights and the occasion when suddenly our enemies were conducting an incoming attack. I was just about to duck and cover like my teachers told me when I remembered that my teachers never told me to duck and cover and we don't have any enemies. I realised it must be fireworks. And it was, but fireworks are terrifying during the day. It's too bright to see them, and I think they get louder every year, the whole sky was shaking. I don't think the sky is supposed to shake. It sounded like canons firing, I was just waiting for iron balls to drop out of the sky. After the racket stopped, all the ships honked their horns or blew their trumpets or did whatever it is they do. It was loud too but a lot closer to music and so I felt safer. When this stopped a fighter jet swung down very low to drop bombs, the ships horns were the signal for the attack. But the plane which was small but not a jet and probably not great in a fight was just showing off. It was very low though and kind of exciting.
As I walked further down the quayside another man was just dismounting from his own tour of a ship, that man was none other than the Taoiseach himself Enda Kenny. There was great fuss about him and loads of people trying to see what was going on. Not Obama style fuss now, but good enough for Enda. I managed to get a few photos and I even met him. He shook my hand, looked me in the eye and said "Alan, I love the blog, would ya come to Castlebar at all?" and I said, "look Inda, I went to WestFest and I wasn't too impressed," and he said, "feck it, I knew that would come back to haunt us. Alright, well keep up the good work!". And that was it, he moved down the line kissing babies and hitting baseballs out of the park.
My highly important political debating left me with quite a hunger so I decided to slip out of the now massive crowd and make my way up a side street. I must have gotten very lucky because up that street was a little French restaurant called 'L'Atmosphere' and what a treat. Here's my advice, forget about the feckin boats and get yourself to Waterford to try out this eatery (I used the word eatery there). For twenty euro you get a three course meal with a glass of wine. Thats a good price to begin with, but when you realise that the food is top quality and the proportions are generous, then you know how good a deal it really it is. You should go there.
After fullness occurred I went back to the quayside and found a place to sit and groan. There was one of a few stages set up there. It was lovely and a good few bands were playing throughout the day, none of which stood out to me, but it was nice that they were there, it was a family occasion.
The day continued in this fashion some people disappeared (they probably didn't disappear, maybe they just left) families turned into groups of teenagers. The bands kept playing. The sky got darker or less bright, whichever. And the night was topped off (for me anyway) by another fireworks display that was less fearful because I could see the pretty colours but still very loud and sky shaky, not my favourite things in the world.
Tomorrow I'm goin' ta break me some world records, aye matey!