Thursday, June 16–Drogheda, Ireland

Repacked car; getting Dad's cap repaired; Vodafone again; library; Visitors Centre; Dunnes Stores; Boots; St Laurence Gate; art gallery; Chinese food for dinner

Westcourt Hotel

Black VW Passat sedan



I fell asleep about 2 AM this morning, and seem to have slept well until I woke up for the first time around 4:30 AM, when it was already visibly starting to get light. (I'd left the blinds in the room open just enough for some ambient light so I could make it to the bathroom light switch without having to turn anything else on or run into any of the furniture). I was eventually able to go back to sleep for a couple of hours, though, and woke up about 8:30,

I still didn't feel well rested, and decided to just stick to the local area, and go to a couple of the many churches and historical landmarks in the vicinity. When I'd gone over to dinner at Bru last night, I'd walked past what looked like a very nice church with a sign that announced a statue of Mary at Lourdes and another sign that said something like "Save our Dominican something or other" and hadn't been able to find any information online about it last night, even though the rest of the local region's local sights are well represented.

Drogheda is also close–even closer than Dublin is–to the neolithic sites of Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth all of which can only be visited through the Bru na Boinne/Boyne Valley Heritage Centre, but I decided to leave that for Saturday, my last day in Drogheda before moving on to my next hotel in Trim, where I'll be for a couple of nights.

This morning I was pretty sure I'd need to take a nap sometime today, and might not feel like walking for 45 minutes along the river for my daily exercise but might just settle for total time walked while wandering around the area as I'd occasionally done in Paris and London, which is what I decided to do today.

I'd figured out most of how to use my new Irish Vodafone last night, and even downloaded the manual, but there were a couple of questions I still wanted to ask back at the store and I really wanted to find somewhere I could buy a couple of USB flash drives so I can back up my personal files on my laptop in case anything happens while I'm traveling. I have a couple at home I'd bought for the trip, which I seem to have left behind along with the separate charger for the battery my camera takes and a third battery (I brought two batteries and the battery will charge when the camera is plugged into a USB port so I'll still always have two charged batteries if I'm careful and each seems to last at least a couple of days).

There's a small tailoring/clothing repair place right next to the hotel. A couple of years after Dad died Mom gave me one of his caps, which I've worn at least once a week since then, and almost always on a Monday which was the day of the week when he died. (Mom also gave me a couple other of Dad's caps but they don't fit as well, so I keep them hanging up. After Mom died, Michael found another of Dad's caps, a red one this time, which he also gave to me. I left that one behind this time.) After all these years the cap's still in great shape but the inner lining was torn.

I had thought about having it repaired at home but it was rather like having my favorite chair reupholstered–where and when could I get it done with the minimum of disruption? I finally had the chair done while I was in Victoria and then Seattle around Memorial Day, so I stopped in the clothing repair place early this morning, and they'll reline the cap for me for 20 Euros and have it done for me before I leave Saturday morning, if not tomorrow afternoon. I think it's quite appropriate that one of Dad's caps, which I've had almost since his death, is being repaired for me in the first city I'm staying in Ireland this trip.

Because I had reorganized all my clothes and repacked last night, this morning I made two trips downstairs to the parking lot and put two of my suitcases in the trunk–it's a lot easier for me to take them down than it is to bring them up.

I then set off to explore the town. Even before I'd gone into the hotel yesterday, when I was down in the parking lot, I'd noticed that there's a small library right next to the hotel so that's one of the places I visited.

I also wanted to go to the local Visitors Centre and see if by any chance there are any tours leaving for the Bru na Boinne Visitors Centre from right here in town, since Drogheda's even closer to them than London is. The staff at the Centre here said that although Drogheda is closer, and there are plenty of tours to B n B leaving from Dublin, there are none from here. That's OK since any of the three routes from here to there take less than 20 minutes, so that's where I'm heading earlyish tomorrow morning.

I also wanted to find some SlimFasts or other breakfast replacement drinks in case I wake up feeling low blood sugar and need something quickly. Those turned out to be surprisingly hard to find; I went to a couple of different drug stores, and even though someone at the nearest branch of a Dunnes Stores had said their other store a ten minute walk away sold them when I got there late this afternoon after a bit of a rest they didn't; someone there, however, told me she buys them at the Boots which was a bit up the hill from there. I managed to get to the Boots, which I'd actually seen without going into when I'd been in that particular shopping centre while wandering around earlier.

I walked over to the St Laurence Gate, one of the remnants of the old medieval walls of Drogheda, and stopped in at the local art gallery in a 19th Century former Franciscan church. I didn't like the art on display there as much as I did the building itself. I wandered around the local area some more, looking for somewhere to have lunch and dinner the next two nights, and had a very nice light Italian lunch and gelato at a small, chic café down the street from the hotel.

I hung out in my room reading for a bit until housekeeping wanted to clean my room, so I went and read in the small waiting area on the landing by the stairs. When they were done, I went back to my room and stretched out for a while and might actually have slept a bit. I went out for dinner around 7:30 and eventually settled on a Chinese place up the street the woman at the hotel's check in desk had recommended yesterday. This turned out to be another excellent recommendation. The restaurant has two menus, one of which has an all you can eat option for a reasonable set price especially since they cook what you order from the buffet menu when you order it. The restaurant was lovely and very nice and all the food was delicious.

Since I got back to my hotel room, I've been alternating typing up my notes going back to my trip for Nick's college graduation up to right now with reading a bit. It's now about 12:30 AM. I think I'll have a pastry I picked up at one of the nice local bakeries and watch some video on my computer before trying to get some sleep.

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