For the 5 people (I’ve got some more followers since last time) who noticed that I didn’t post last week, it’s because Amy and I were in the Emerald Isle. Normally, this would be the time to write a typical travelogue lining out the same touristy pictures everyone takes, but I’m not doing that. No, I have some complaints, and I’m using this space to take it up with The Management.

Complaint #1: The Weather. Or the Internet. Take your choice.

Before we left, I kept loading up weather reports in Ireland like a trained rat checking again and again to see if I’d be rewarded with a hint of delicious golden goodness. The Internet assured me it would be all sunshine and joy–Ireland would even be experiencing a mini heat wave. Only an idiot would pack rain gear, each website whispered in soothing tones, and I am no idiot (unless you ask my son, but that’s a different matter). So Amy and I each packed a light sweatshirt, just in case. Most likely it would just take up some of our painfully limited space in our carry on luggage.

Turns out the real weather report could have been pulled straight from one of the openers to Moone Boy: “Chance of rain, weirdly low. Apart from drizzle and slanty rain.”

Every day we woke up to either rain, clouds promising rain later that day, or sunshine that would quickly be replaced by rain. Well, except for the last day. That day was so nice, it almost felt like a mini heat wave.

The rain turned the Wicklow Mountains National Park into a scene from a fairy tale. So lame. Who would be into that kind of magical scenery?

The rain turned the Wicklow Mountains National Park into a scene from a fairy tale. So lame. Who would be into that kind of magical scenery?

Complaint #2: The Car

At the car rental counter, we discovered that The Internet had, again, lied to me. I’d purchased the full, no deductible insurance. The guy on the counter laughed at my assertion. “No, you have to pay another 100 Euro for that.” I sucked it up and handed him my credit card, sadly watching my digital money wash down the European drain.

Within 20 minutes, I was glad I ponied up.

We jumped in our VW Something (official name, I swear), a diesel that we were assured hadn’t been involved in the infamous emissions scandal, and set on our way, only screaming a little bit at driving on the left side of the road. Then the car stopped. Right in the middle of the road. Smoke billowed from the hood bonnet of the car. The screaming increased.

See, when we first slid past car doors that we couldn’t open more than a quarter of the way since the cars were packed tightly together, I let out a small curse. The clutch, to my annoyance, had Reverse right next to first gear. “How the feck (already picking up the local slang) am I to avoid accidentally hitting Reverse?” I growled. I felt out the gears, finding Reverse all the way on the left while the car was still off, then moved the stick one over to get to First.

If anyone out there is familiar with the VW gearbox, you’ve probably picked up my mistake. I’d jumped it into Third, not First. Turns out Reverse can only be reached by pushing in the stick, something I discovered at 2G speeds on my phone while sitting on the side of the road waiting for our VW and its burned out clutch to be towed away. Turns our cars, like relationships, don’t work well when you dive straight into Third.

As Amy assured me, and I later came to agree, I could not have been the first person to have problems with the clutch on that car. It should take a lot more than a couple jumps into third to burn it out. We had a lot of time to talk about it while waiting only about a ten minute drive outside of the rental place for our tow truck. We probably could have walked back while the car waited to be towed had it not been for the constant drizzle.

On the plus side, we got to experience some real Ireland. Tourists rarely get to see the behind the scenes world of tow trucks. Our driver, by the way, only knew Colorado from the Theater Shooting. Great job, Colorado.

And there goes our ride

And there goes our ride

I then got to watch another nearly 200 Euro get flushed into an automatic gearbox when we “upgraded” to a boat of a car. But that’s another story and shall be told another time.

Complaint #3: The Food

After a painfully long day of travel, we finally crashed in our first B&B around 5 pm. I know, total mistake to conquer jet lag. I’d set an alarm for an hour. We didn’t wake up until nearly 11 pm.

Want to know what’s food places are open in most of Ireland after 8 pm? McDonald’s. That’s it. Our little mix up happened twice, and one time we were really trying to get food before all the bars’ kitchens closed down.

So yes, we managed to eat more McDonald’s in Ireland than we’ve eaten in the US in the past year. Though, oddly, it actually tasted better there than here. Though that might have been the jet lag midnight feeding talking.

On the plus side, I did see a stray dog digging through the garbage in the McDonald’s parking lot. So there’s that.

Complaint #4: Rusty Radiators

In Killarney, Amy discovered the underside of a rusty radiator by slipping on the bathroom floor and slicing open her foot.

Rust, or blood? It's impossible to tell.

Rust, or blood? It’s impossible to tell.

By this point I was hesitant to believe anything The Internet told me, but it did claim that there’s no cure for tetanus if you don’t get a shot, and that 10% of cases lead to death. It also recommended getting a shot if you hadn’t had one in the last 5 years. Amy’s last shot? 6 years ago.

Our entire morning was spent at the Medical Center. Tons of fun (that is the only instance of sarcasm in this whole post. I promise).

On the plus side, we did see some evidence about how medical centers should be run. On their website, it clearly listed out the prices sans insurance. Right on that link you can see that an emergency consultation is 50 Euro, and a Tetanus shot is another 25. Our total actual cost at the register? 75 Euro. No insurance.

It was like a revelation. Good luck getting that kind of clarity here.

At the doctors! Yay!

At the doctors! Yay!

Speaking of which, I wonder if our insurance will reimburse us for any of that.

Complaint #5: Zootropolis?


I’m sure there’s a very rational reason why Zootopia is called Zootropolis over there. It’s just not nearly as good a name. Zootopia reflects the perfection that naive Judy thinks she’ll find when she goes to the city. But, like all utopias, they can’t possibly exist.

Zootropolis just implies a big city. Lame.


So, The Management, I could go on and on. I mean, we didn’t get to see the Cliff of Moher except in the waning glow of a glorious sunset. We never got to hold that lamb we helped save. We didn’t get to walk the same steps as Luke Skywalker on the Skellig Islands. Clearly, it was all a disaster. I insist you give us our money back. Or, better yet, just pay for us to take another trip to Ireland, all expenses paid.

It’s really the only way to make this right.

(Below is the evidence of two of those three assertions)


Also, our pictures weren’t all amazing. How lame is that? And totally not my fault, I’m the best photographer in the world.