Saturday, 4 January 2014

The trip to Tramore and the old witch of Kilkenny

First of all, Happy New Year Everybody! May this year be better than the last and bring you everything you want ( for me it's a new car, I hope). 

One of the things I told myself when I came here was that I wouldn't leave Ireland  before visiting every corner of the country. That's probably one of the reasons I'm still here because in the last few years (especially since I had the kids...) we haven't travelled that much within Ireland. 
The first few years, Fabrice and I used to go on week-ends away to discover the beauty of the island. Actually, the first trip we took together was rather interesting, to say the least...

Around New year 2003, Fabrice and I decided to go away for a couple of days. I was off but he had to work on the 1st of January so we decided to leave on the evening that day. I asked some colleagues where we should go because I didn’t really know the country and one friend suggested we go to Tramore. He said it was a great place so I trusted him. Of course, I’m sure Tramore is a great spot, but in July, not on the 1st of January. 
We arrived there around 10:00pm and looked for a place to stay but the only hotel was fully booked. Of course, it was New year’s day. What did we expect? Anyway we made our way around town -that was done in 5 minutes- and we went looking for a B&B. By that time it was around 11:00 and it seemed that everybody was asleep, not a light in any of the houses, sometimes not even a car in the driveway. I suppose it was because Tramore is NOT a winter destination... 
We finally found a B&B but It looked like there was nobody there. We knocked at the door. No answer. Knocked again. Still nothing. We were about to leave when we heard somebody stumbling on the stairs and opened the door. It was a half-naked man, his hair in shambles and a torch lamp in his hand. He probably thought he was getting robbed. After explaining that we were not burglars , he let us in and gave us a room.

The day after, we made our way to Kilkenny and the first thing we did that time, was finding a B&B for the night. We wanted to be so quick that we got in the first one we saw. An old lady opened the door. She looked like a witch with her white hair, or what was left of it as she was nearly bald. She was bent like a right angle and she was freaking me out. 
 She nearly pushed us inside:
“Come on in, come on in, I have plenty of rooms” 

No, really? I’m sure when people see you they just run off...

Anyway, she brought us upstairs and showed us a room that was full of dust. There was a double bed and a single bed but I would have never dared sleeping in them. There was also an old TV sitting on a chair. It was probably broken. I was trying to find an excuse to get away, but couldn’t find any. Then I told her that we needed an en-suite room but she kept saying there were 4 bathrooms in the house.
The thing is, she already had her book in the hand, ready to write our name down, and for some reason, we really felt trapped in there. She ended up showing us the last room. There was a huge canopy bed, probably the largest bed I had ever seen. We ended up staying there. Did we have a choice really ?

We asked her for a key because we were going out that night, but she kept on telling us she would be awake when we’d get back. At 2 in the morning? That comforted me in the idea that she was strange, never asleep, waiting all night for her guests to come back. What was going to happen?
We went out and came back around 2am. She was there, waiting for us. Thank god nothing happened, she didn’t try to curse us or attack us and we went to bed. 

The morning after, when I saw the state of the kitchen table with the “breakfast”, my hunger suddenly disappeared. The butter looked rancid, the jam looked a bit mouldy and I didn’t want to touch the bread either. She was like:
“Ah go on, eat something, you have long journey ahead of you”
“No thanks, we’re in a hurry, we’ll only have coffee”

We paid our bill and left as fast as we could. 
I am laughing now when I think about it, but that day I was really freaking out. Probably for no reason, but still...
You can meet all sorts of people when you travel and stay in B&Bs around the country, and I'm sure I'm not the only one with funny/freaky stories to tell...