Dublin to Giles Quay

In true Kiwi style, we flew into Dublin and picked up a small two-seater camper van to begin our 10 day road trip around Ireland. Wicked Campers, an Aussie institution now operating in Dublin, was located in the dodgiest part of town. We were very soon about to meet Flipper.

We caught the public bus with the compulsory harmlessly sketchy characters muttering to themselves and throwing beer cans from the back seat. We arrived at the depot and picked up our van nicknamed “Flipper”. On one side of the van was a large spray-painted picture of a bunny sticking a pencil in its eye. On the other side was a cartoon man holding a knife dripping with blood and on the back was an offensive slogan. We were definitely going to offend some people.

The Van Named Flipper

Both luckily and unluckily, 30 minutes out of the city our offensive van begun to screech. A high-pitch, fingernail-on-a-blackboard racket poured at us from all directions. Despite sitting only a few inches apart, Ben and I couldn’t yell over the racket of the tortured rear differential. Miming to exit the motorway, we veered into a lay-by and promptly called the roadside assistance number.

Our relaxing camper van holiday was evaporating before the bleeding eyes of a bunny. However, in a twist of fate (or perhaps just good customer service) we were told to return to the depot to pick up a replacement van, despite it being after hours. It cost us only a brief period of time, and I was thankful to say goodbye to the suicidal bunny and his murderous friend. Flipper and I just never really clicked.

Our replacement van was much more politically correct. His name was “Monsters” and he had a “go crazy” slogan on one side and a creepy witch figure on the other. On the back Monsters proclaimed, “you and I go together like drunk and disorderly”. It was romantic in a way. At least from a kiwi binge-drinking-culture perspective it was. I was relieved to drive away in Monsters, as the likelihood of being attacked by an angry Irish mob dwindled with every kilometer. With the long summer days in Ireland, we were cruising north (again) and on our way to the Gyles Quay campground.

Gyles Quay Campground

The campground was nestled at the top of a small hill, with an outlook over the sea. All eyes watched us as our visually loud van crawled through the grounds. Mothers called their children over and frowned at us as they covered their kid’s eyes. I could only imagine what they would have done if they had seen Flipper. The breakdown was a blessing in disguise.

Once settled in our little corner of the campground, sitting around in shorts and T shirt, we sipped on a gin & tonic and reflected on the peace of living in a camper. In 2005 we lived in a camper about the same size for three months as we drove around New Zealand. There’s nothing quite like the freedom of having all of your worldly possessions in your bed with wheels. I’m not a gypsy, but I can see the appeal. Later that evening we fried sausages on the gas cooker and sipped on a few more gin & tonics, trying not to be drunk and disorderly, as the sun set over the sea. Life was good.

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