This past July I took my Chinese girlfriend, who had never having visited Europe before, to the best it could offer- Ireland. It did not disappoint. The scenery, the incredibly friendly people who would simply come up to us on the street and talk for ten minutes before wishing us the best on our travels, the craic and the culture still have us glowing. However, I must point out one thing that I wish the appropriate authorities would consider:
We brought our bicycles with which to truly take in all the island could offer, from the Shankill to the Dingle, from Inchicore to Inishmor at a truly Irish pace. Having cycled throughout the 32 counties, I couldn't wait to have her experience the sensations that would reward her. In Northern Ireland it was a joy- absolutely beautiful weather greeted us as we cycled along the Antrim coast and down into Belfast, strangers offering us hospitality and stout.
In the Republic however it was a different matter. Imagine after having cycled 43 miles (she had never cycled so much in her life) and taken the 3 hour bus into Dublin to be told no bikes were allowed on trains. I could understand the DART prohibiting them during rush hour, but surely a southbound train to Waterford? After all, I took my bike down to Rosslare for the ferry to France this way and I could not imagine getting there anyway else. No. Whereas in Northern Ireland bikes are allowed on trains for FREE, here with all the money the country is awash with, they aren't even allowed onto the platform.
To the bus station we went to be told there were no buses to Bray where we were putting up my parents on their arrival the next day. But how on...