I boarded the flight to Dublin to have three seats to myself. As the door was closing I added Pat to my life.
Pat is a farmer in central Ireland, on his way home from visiting the US, checking on family and business interests. I spent almost the entire flight talking with Pat, working our way through the usual topics, venturing into US politics, as well as the more esoteric aspects of things such as the intricacies of artificial inseminations of horses. Pat invited me to visit him if I’m ever cycling in central Ireland. I neglected to mention that once I rerouted myself from Switzerland to northern Germany to take up such an offer from a German couple I met camping in the Swiss Alps.
Given my problems with dairy, I’d requested a kosher meal. That’s typically even more effective than requesting dairy free. This was the first time 100% of what I was served had no dairy (not even the usual pat of butter). I did pass on the dessert, because it just looked too likely to include dairy.
Between the delightful conversation and a short flight, I only managed an hour of so of sleep on the flight. Upon landing I easily located and unpacked my bicycle, but it was still only 6:30 am. Following the example of a couple of backpackers, I tucked myself into a remote corner of baggage handling and (unsuccessfully) tried to get a little more sleep.
I left the airport to clear skies and a warm day. While I’m out of shape from not cycling for the past couple of months, that also means my energy reserves were good. I found a supermarket within 15 minutes of the airport, and 15 minute later I came to Swords Castle. I was there two years back when they had just opened to the public. They’re not done yet.
Normally my only goal on Day 1 is find a place to sleep. While initially buoyed by the day, my lack of sleep was wearing me down. I found a caravan (RV) park on the GPS. There was some possibility they wouldn’t permit tents, but my worries were for naught. I me my two neighbors, an Austrian woman cycling in Ireland for the past three weeks, and Ian, a parent whose 4-year-old has decided that camping is the best thing ever. I set up my tent and crashed for a few hours. Ian’s daughter was not quiet, but the rest helped.
One of my first challenges each trip is finding fuel for the stove. I asked the camp host if he knew of anywhere that might sell fuel. When I was disappointed the answer was “Dublin” he went back into a storage area and gave me a couple of canisters of partially used fuel!
I spend the rest of the day walking on the beach and finishing off the book I had bought to read on the plane (which I will abandon here so I don’t have to carry it).
The weather is both warm and cold. As long as I’m in the sun (or sleeping in the tent during the day), the day could even be considered hot. Sitting in the shade, it’s cold. Ian said the weather should continue as today for at least the next couple of days. He also recommended a campground that’s 90 km to the north by car with a nearby castle (that was already on my radar).