you pull over to the side, please,' said the customs
was about to board a boat to Ireland in a van that was
loaded up with slabs of books. These were piled in two
neat rows in the back with a large blanket covering them
all, so it was a question I had been expecting.
I replied, obligingly.
after the officer came over, asked for my passport and
then questioned me as to what I planned to do in Ireland.
a travel writer,' I replied, 'and have just published
a book on Ireland. I plan to travel round for the summer
to promote and sell it.'
smiled a smile that seemed to say, 'Well, I've never heard
that one before,' and handed me a card to fill out, before
wandering off to check my passport.
filled out this little green card that, upon further inspection,
proved to be an anti-terrorist card. So now I would be
cleansed of all possible thought of terrorist activity.
return he took my card, handed back my passport and waved
me on. I had been all ready to open the back of the van
and show him what was underneath that blanket. After all,
it could have been a large supply of semtex. For all he
knew, I could have been a Middle-Eastern terrorist - cleverly
disguised as a blond-haired, pale-skinned Englishman with
a Hampshire accent - who was planning to hijack the boat
and re-direct it up the Thames river in order to blow
that was not to be, so I drove on to the ferry and proceeded
to sleep for the entire three and a half hour journey.
Kirwan House in Wexford was my first desination. Wexford
has been my home on and off for the last three years,
so I was looking forward to returning. At seven-thirty
in the morning I figured there would be no one awake at
reception, so I drove to Rosslare Beach and slept for
another hour or so. Upon finally arriving I was warmly
greeted by Davina, one of the owners, who was very pleased
to see her name in my new book. We sat and chatted over
breakfast, while the nice sunny morning turned into a
all my years of staying at Kirwan House, I have come to
expect there to always be some bizarre event to welcome
me. I was not disappointed. Within a couple of days I
had re-established contact with Eoin, a friend from my
stay in Kirwan House the year before. Eoin was now living
in Waterford, but had come to Wexford to work on Friday
and Saturday. He stayed over in the hostel Friday night.
Sitting in the television room we both got talking to
Susan, a New Zealander who had just arrived that evening.
Eoin was still street trading for Eddie, who I had introduced
him to the year before, and we were discussing this with
met a couple of street traders in Waterford,' said Susan.
'They were a old guy and young guy.'
soon turned out that not only was this older guy Eddie,
but that she had also worked for Eddie's friend Steve,
who we both knew, in his shop. She had met Eoin before,
only Eoin had been to the barber since and had all his
curly hair sheered off. Susan had her long hair pulled
up on top of her head, so they hadn't recognised each
Susan came out for a drink with us to the Sky and the
Ground. We didn't go out until late, so only had three
pints. Upon return Susan said goodnight and went to bed
in room four, the girls dorm. I went to bed shortly after
in room two, the boys dorm, and Eoin more than likely
followed shortly after that.
awoke in the morning and groggily made my way to the shower
in our dorm. After showering and drying I emerged from
the bathroom in just my underpants, and suddenly found
myself looking at the face of Susan just waking up in
the corner bed, which was actually Marty's bed (Marty
is one of the staff). My first thought was, Marty you
sneaky dog! My second thought was, shit I've got no
I said, and walked to my bed to make myself more decent,
before the sight of my near-naked body exacerbated her
the hell am I doing here?' she blurted suddenly.
don't know, you tell me,' I replied.
no! What have you guys done?'
had just woken up and was as surprised to see her there
as I was.
didn't do nothing. You obviously came into the wrong room.'
I didn't,' she half shouted. 'I went to bed in my room.
I remember talking to a girl there. This is a boys dorm.'
She was getting worried now.
and I both laughed.
lifted her bed cover a little and dropped it in shock.
'I've only got my bra and knickers on!'
don't find this funny at all!' said Susan. 'This is freaky!'
must have got up in the night to go to the toilet and
came back into the wrong room,' I said. 'Our two rooms
are the same, so you obviously just went to what you thought
was your bed.'
there is a toilet in my room.'
you obviously forgot that.'
I don't sleepwalk. You guys carried me down here in the
course, that was it. Both Eoin and I had sneaked into
her dorm while she was asleep, carried her down to our
dorm and had our wicked way with her. Then, being perfect
gentlemen, we had put her bra and knickers back on.
was nothing to do with us,' I replied. I'd only had three
pints and distinctly remember going straight to bed.
don't have a key on me,' she continued.
plot was certainly thickening.
I came up to bed the door was open' said Eoin.
was up now and tightly wrapped in the bed's duvet. 'How
will I get back in?'
on the door, there might still be someone in there,' I
she stomped off upstairs and returned shortly after saying
there was no one there. I went downstairs, found Marty
and got a key for her, after explaining how she had come
to be locked out and had slept in his bed. Then I went
back upstairs and gave Susan the key, laughing once again
after having told the story to Marty.
don't find it funny at all!' she snapped, and stomped
off to the right room this time.
was nice to see that Kirwan House is still as entertaining
the Kirwan House website