Wednesday, July 26, 2006

All Lost in Stab City

We all got together today after I woke up late and designed and coded some data loading stuff. All went reasonably well. We decided to meet up afterwards at 'Luigi Malone's' in Limerick. The Dutch dude who is also in town had borrowed a company car, and has been driving. I wasn't about to try driving on the left side of the road with roundabouts and what not in a strange town. I don't even like driving. Anyhow.

Our Irish host led the way from the Hotel. We turned off at a different turn on one of the roundabouts than he did. We drove around aimlessly and eventually realized not knowing where or host was, and in fact neither of us remembering what the name of the restaurant was even, our best bet was to go back to the hotel and see if he was there. I remembered I had the mobile phone number for the manager of all IT in Europe, so we called him and asked did he have our host's phone number. He did not, but knew the name of the restaurant. So we went in to the hotel and came out armed with a map marked with pen squiggles.

We found the place easily then, but couldn't find parking. We were afraid of leaving the company car someplace where it would be towed. Eventually we parked a couple blocks away near a train station. Walking to the restaurant, we saw some ne'er do wells on church steps. They were burning papers(?) I didn't make eye contact. Later we encountered our host. He was in his car. This was about 45 minutes after the reservation. He explained we could have parked pretty much anywhere, it being after 5:30. At any rate, he had a good sense of humor about the whole thing. We drank beer and ate Bantry Bay mussels and other delicious treats.

Under the influence of beer, I asked our host what was the deal with 'Stab City'. The wikipedia article on Limerick mentions this nickname. He said things were rough back in the 70s, but the people in Limerick have kind of pulled together and things are much better now, they have a lot of pride in their town. And of course, the city has nothing to do with Limericks. I also asked about the city being an independent government for one week in April of 1919. He said he didn't know about that, but it was the time of the civil war. After that we had more beer at a pub Frank McCourt mentioned in Angela's Ashes. Our host explained Frank McCourt was a bit of a drama queen exaggerating how bad Limerick was. He didn't say 'drama queen'. That's my interpretation.

The people of Limerick love Munster Rugby, winners of the 2006 Heineken Cup.

Following that we got a bit of a tour of the city, up and down the river Shannon (longest river in the British Isles). I really am enjoying my time in Limerick, and never once have feared being stabbed.


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