Second only to my love of the Irish landscape is my total obsession with the discount store, Penney's. Otherwise known as Primark in various countries, this store is filled to the brim with clothes, accessories and bizarro knick-knacks at profoundly cheap prices. I specifically love the location in Limerick because it is not as severely crowded as in the big cities and buying products with the euro is definitely better than the British pound. For all of these oh so charming (and yes, very brainwashed consumer) reasons, Dancer Friend and I spent the early part of our day delighting in a good ole Irish breakfast followed by an afternoon of shopping.
By the time we made it back to her wonderfully and centrally located abode, it was time for some rest and some showers before engaging in a bit of late afternoon pints. We walked by the river to a fun establishment boasting an outdoor seating area along the water. Sadly, it was winter and cold and the pouring rain was not offering any respite so we tucked ourselves into a warm interior corner and hunkered down with some beer and bar snacks. When it was finally time to head off for our evening plans, we thought we had evaded the deluge for long enough to make it back into the city center, but that wily Mother Nature had other plans. After about 5 minutes of walking down the street, the clouds literally vomited water onto our delicate facades, using wind as a projectile. Our umbrellas were immediately turned futile and twisted into props of impending self-destruction, threatening to slice our limbs off at any moment. As we traversed the bridge in the attempt to get back into town, I sincerely believed we might be catapulted from the land of Zeus right over into Poseidon's realm. At long last, we found a brief sanctuary under a store awning and were able to collect our thoughts. But before we found our destination, I insisted that we pop into a local pub for a minute of warmth and a shot of Jameson. The silver lining was that the pub we chose had live traditional Irish music so we were quickly made happy once again.
Eventually, finally, and with a sense of grand relief, we made it to our evening terminus... BINGO. There is an entire function hall devoted to the age old game right in the heart of Limerick called Stella Bingo. Believe it or not, this place was hopping on a Sunday night, filled to the brim with those rabble rousing senior citizens we all know and love. From what I gathered, this place is no joke and you play by the rules or you get out. Needless to say, we were absolutely the youngest attendees and I immediately felt the intimidation of a room full of hardcore gamesters. We got our bingo sheets, our special bingo pens, and I slowly learned the rules while simultaneously slowly warming up. We won absolutely nothing, but the pure ambiance was definitely worth the effort. I made Dancer Friend grab one more drink with me at another bar after though so that I could shake the disappointment of our losses and relish in the brilliant absurdity of the day.
The following morning allowed time for a homemade breakfast, care of my amazing hostess, and a leisurely couple of hours to pack my things. Dancer Friend had to go off to work and I slowly made my way on the bus back to Dublin, the plane back to Beauvais Airport, and the shuttle back to Paris. When I was finally back in my tiny little home, I made myself nestled all snug in my bed, with visions of leprechauns dancing in my head.