Day 11 – Friday – Mayo to Dublin

Posted: 29/06/2012 in Holiday

We’d intended to be packed up and away by 10am, and I texted Mary to let her know. It soon became apparent that wasn’t going to happen! Another text. No problem for her; she lives nearby and could pop round anytime. Mark is a whizz at packing cars, so I left him to that while I cleaned. The hoover was next to useless but the sweeping brush worked fine on the laminate flooring. We hadn’t made that much of a mess! I bunged the towels in the washing machine, and left the bedding in the bath. Mary came round about 10:30 and we chatted for a while. She said to just leave the key on the table when we left. She turned up just as I was about to call her when we were ready to leave. She told us some stories about how people have treated the cottage – taking the coffee table down to the beach, for example! Those things had led to the owners compiling that list of rules! We confided that we’d had some difficulty dragging the sofa over the dunes but hoped we’d managed to get all the sand out of it. It was nearly noon when we finally drove away, so that fitted well with needing to go to the Tavern.

We decided to have lunch at the Tavern. My crispy chicken turned out to be deep-fried battered chicken. Not really what I had in mind, but it was still good. Mark had black pudding with goat’s cheese in toasted ciabatta. He enjoyed that! As we stopped to say goodbye, Mark noticed that the manager was eating the black pudding too, having been inspired by his choice. One of the barmen recommended The Chop House in Ballsbridge.

We’d planned to return to Dublin via Galway, but that would’ve meant retracing our steps, so we decided to go back the way we’d come.

The Fitzwilliam

The SatNav did her job of getting us to the Fitzwilliam car park without any difficulty. As we walked towards the lift, I was delighted to spot Victor coming out of one of the conference rooms; I’d assumed he’d left. We chatted for a few minutes. Check-in was efficient and we were handed the key to room 301. I was very glad to be back. When we got out of the lift, I was surprised to see that our room was to the right, when the garden-view rooms are to the left. A mix-up with the booking? I’d stayed at the Fitz several times, and was familiar with the different room types. Because of that, I’d been very clear about which room I wanted when I booked (by phone): a queen bed (not a zip-link) in an executive room overlooking the inner courtyard, and not on the smoking floor. I mentioned that I’d been offered upgrades in the past but had always turned them down. It was all confirmed in writing. Although rooms at the front are generally bigger and overlook Stephen’s Green, those overlooking the courtyard are better designed and quieter. They have a wall of wardrobes and cupboards that act as a divider between the bedroom and a small hallway. Suitcases, shoes and coats can be left in the hallway, leaving the bedroom uncluttered. Room 301 was of a similar design but it overlooked the Green. I know from past experience – and numerous reviews in TripAdvisor – that rooms at the front suffer from street noise, as there are several nightclubs and restaurants along that stretch of Stephen’s Green. Hmm, maybe it’ll be OK if we keep the window shut, we thought. It was not to be, but more about that later. First we needed to eat, but didn’t fancy eating out. Dunnes to the rescue once again: there’s a supermarket in George’s Street, less than 10 minutes away. Managed to fit pasta salad, sushi, Onken yoghurt with honey, and the essential beer and wine into my bag and some of those little vegetable bags, not wanting to pay for yet another plastic carrier (yes, we had some but they were in the car). Back to our room. Our eyes had been bigger than our stomachs, though, and some of the sushi ended up in the bin.

Not a good night’s sleep…

We got to bed about half-eleven. The room was stuffy, so we opened the window a little. The street noise and the booming sounds coming from the nightclub made it impossible to sleep. Mark went down to reception, taking the confirmation email with him, to enquire about a room change. We were offered a room on the fifth floor – the smoking floor! Strike one! Next came a room on the sixth floor. The lift doesn’t go this far, so we had to walk up a flight of stairs. The room was smaller than anything else I’d seen in this place; there was less cupboard space and the ceiling sloped. It felt crowded with furniture, and claustrophobic. To make matters worse, we noticed a ‘Happy 18th Birthday’ banner on the room next door, and there was an adjoining door! Bound to be noisy when the revellers returned. Strike 2! Bob (the concierge), who was helping us carry stuff from room to room, was keen to put things right, and went off to see what could be done next. He called shortly after to say there was a room on the second floor. Off we trotted. Perfect! Just what I’d asked for. But hang on…what’s that? A zip-link bed! Strike 3! I suggested they swap the beds, something they’d done in the past when they messed up a room booking. Bob was happy to arrange that if we didn’t mind staying up a little longer. What’s another half-hour when it’s already 1:30am! But then Gerry, the duty manager, got involved, telling us it wasn’t possible as there were no spare mattresses. We suggested they swap the bed in 301 (a perfectly acceptable queen) with the one on the second floor, as the rooms were the same size. But, no, it still wasn’t possible. He finally offered us 350 – a larger room with a queen bed and a balcony overlooking the courtyard. Ah, but there was a catch. That room had been promised to someone else, and we’d have to move the next morning. And what about the room we’d been promised? I said if we had to move again, we’d be moving hotels. We eventually got to sleep about 2:30am – exhausted and stressed.

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