Ireland day 0368. Saturday 01 October 2022- Chríochnaigh
When you hear the words “well that didn’t go exactly to plan” they usually foretell a gloomy account of some plan or activity that has gone spectacularly wrong. But when I look back on our first year in Ireland and think “well that didn’t go exactly to plan” I don’t think it in a negative way at all. At least part of the reason being that I am not sure if we really had a plan anyway when we came to Ireland. But to the extent that we did have one, things haven’t really gone as I thought they would – albeit almost always in a better way than I had imagined they would.
I suppose the one thing that hasn’t worked out as well as I had hoped has been the paperwork and bureaucracy. I had expected that we would have it all sorted out by the end of last October, and certainly couldn’t envisage it taking any longer than the end of the year. But in actual fact, to get PPS numbers, sort out PSC cards, exchange driving licences, find somewhere to live, arrange utilities, get a credit card and a million and one other things I had never dreamt of took us until early summer this year. And tax. Oh my how irritating that is. We are over a year into our stay, and Irish Revenue have declared us to be tax resident here in Ireland, but HMRC are still refusing to acknowledge that we have moved. Eventually it will get sorted out I suppose, but it’s an unbelievably slow and frustrating process.
But on the plus side, almost everything else has been better than I expected. Number one on my list has been friendliness. Ads a Briton in Ireland I was a bit anxious about how we might be received – but we have had nothing but a warm welcome everywhere we have been (and Val’s family links to Kilkenny have made people even more receptive to us).
Probably the best bit has been joining the Dublin Walking Club. We go out with them most weekends and they are a really nice bunch of people and have certainly made us feel very welcome on this side of the sea. And I’ve already led three walks for the Club, and have got two and possibly even three lined up to lead in October too. I used to lead for a walking club in the UK so I am not entirely surprised to be doing it here – but I never expected to be doing so many, so soon.
I also bever expected that Val would get a job here. Yet within less than two months of arriving in these foreign lands, she had secured her first job, and is now well into her second. I am so proud of her achievement – it’s simply incredible. And on a lesser note, I never expected to find myself, as I did last Thursday, in a business venue giving a lecture on carbon abatement technologies. Now that was a real surprise.
The island of Ireland itself has turned out to be even more lovely than I had remembered from my previous visits (the first of which was a cycling holiday over to the west coast in 1978). OK, access into the countryside is a bit disappointing – and I do miss the UK’s well established network of rights of way – but through the auspices of the walking club we have been able to build up a good network of routes which have opened up a decent amount of the countryside. And there’s still so much we need to see – especially in the north and the west. And getting around is much easier than I had expected, too – the network of motorways has improved immensely even in the eleven years since we were most recently here for a family camping holiday in Killarney.
And finally the weather. I had come fully expecting it to be cool and wet but really it’s not been like that at all – there have been lots of dry sunny days and really nothing like as much rain as I was anticipating. It was never very cold in the winter, nor too hot in the summer – in fact all in all it’s been really pleasant. A complete surprise.
Anyway – now that we’ve been here in Ireland for a year, and I’ve written about as much as I think I can about our experiences here, I have decided to stop writing this blog, so this one will be the last.
To be perfectly honest, I’m slightly running out of energy to write it and am rather depleting my stock of things to say. So it feels like the right moment to draw a line under the last year and to look forward to the next and the ones that come after it. It takes me a couple of hours every night to write the blog and there are lots of things I’d like to get on with in the evenings now. Ulysses, for one. And for another, Val has been extremely tolerant of me being antisocial and ducking off to write down my thoughts every night. I’m extremely grateful for her forbearance but I think she would probably appreciate actually having a present husband in the evenings to talk to.
So that’s just about it. I will probably upload a few photos and some notes to this blog in the future, just to remind me when I look back in my dotage, what we were doing way back in the 2020s. We will still be here in Ireland for a number of years to come, so you are welcome to drop in and take a look every now and then. I’ll also post updates on Strava, Instagram and Facebook whenever there is anything of particular note, so if you are a social media user, we won’t lose touch.
But for now, that’s it. Chríochnaigh, in fact, in Irish. I’ve enjoyed writing about our adventures here in Ireland and I hope you have enjoyed reading about them too. But for now, it’s over and out. So long, and all the best!
1 October 2022
Our year in Ireland – month by month (click to enlarge)
From today’s circular walk with the club, from Bray taking in Bray Head, the Belmont Estate and the Little Sugarloaf
(Elevations corrected at GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )
Max elevation: 327 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 931 m
Total descent: -929 m
Total time: 07:37:09