Monday, August 22, 2011

In Dublin, by the skin of our teeth, to be sure!

We’ve spent the last 9 days on the Wirral and in North Wales (more to come about that later). We drove up from my parents place in Hampshire, last weekend, intending to spend time with my family then go straight to Holyhead and across to Dublin to start our tour of the Emerald Isle. Before we left my parents we booked the ferry crossing and our accommodation in Dublin, but not much else. We’d had a bit of a panic when we couldn’t find Mr Traveller’s passport,  but as him and I have dual nationality we decided he could travel on his UK passport and we’d find it when we got back to my parents in a month or so, and after I’d given him an earful about taking more care where to keep important documents and proclaiming that I’d be taking the role of chief passport holder in the future, we headed off.

We spent our week with my family then in the packing frenzy that accompanies each departure we make, and with 15 minutes to go before we left for Holyhead, I had a quick flick through the passports. It was one of those moments that you dread, those times you hear about but think will never happen to you, something that my parents will never experience because they do have a sensible place for everything, and could never live with being as disorganised as we are. As the realisation struck that I’d apparently lost the littlest hobo’s passport while I was trying to get her English passport a couple of weeks ago (which incidentally we’d decided to delay until after the Ireland trip in the end), and, even more ridiculously, while we’d been waving around 4 passports in the panic of the previous week, we had somehow overlooked the fact that the one we were missing was for the smallest member of our family who also holds no other photo ID.

In the minutes after we realised, we pulled everything out of the cases, asked my dad to ransack the room we’d been using and eventually drew to the conclusion that we’d better cancel our ferry and accommodation booking. We decided our Gaelic tour would be rerouted to a somewhat more northerly location (Scotland) and jumped online to get the phone numbers we needed to see if we could salvage any of our hard-earned mullah that we’d paid up front for our bookings. It was in the midst of this that Mr Traveller stumbled upon a little gem of a paragraph on the Irish Ferries website which stated that you don’t usually need a passport to travel to Ireland from the UK So we called them and they confirmed that we shouldn’t need a passport. Who’d have thought it? We didn’t need telling to take a risk twice - we jumped in the car and headed for Holyhead as fast as the law would allow us, breezed through security and made the ferry with minutes to spare.

It was plain sailing (excuse the pun) at both ends and before we knew it we were navigating the roads of Dublin in search of our beds for the next few nights. Our only other hiccup was when we found ourselves face to face with a toll booth and not a Euro to our names… could we pay by card? Uhm, possibly, give us a minute… We’ve got some English money if that helps at all… Ah, that’ll do you - off you go. Got to love the Irish!

And the moral of today’s story, boys and girls? Don’t describe yourself as disorganised in your first blog post, because it just might become even more true than you could previously have imagined!

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