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Never a dull moment in Kirwan House

'Would you pull over to the side, please,' said the customs officer.

I 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.

'Certainly,' I replied, obligingly.

Soon after the officer came over, asked for my passport and then questioned me as to what I planned to do in Ireland.

'I'm 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.'

He 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.

I 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.

Upon 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 up Parliament.

But 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 rainy one.

In 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 Susan.

'I met a couple of street traders in Waterford,' said Susan. 'They were a old guy and young guy.'

It 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 other.
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.

I 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 clothes on!

'Hi,' I said, and walked to my bed to make myself more decent, before the sight of my near-naked body exacerbated her hangover.

'What the hell am I doing here?' she blurted suddenly.

'I don't know, you tell me,' I replied.

'Oooh no! What have you guys done?'

Eoin had just woken up and was as surprised to see her there as I was.

'We didn't do nothing. You obviously came into the wrong room.'

'No 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.

Eoin and I both laughed.

Susan lifted her bed cover a little and dropped it in shock. 'I've only got my bra and knickers on!'

We laughed again.

'I don't find this funny at all!' said Susan. 'This is freaky!'

'You 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.'

'But there is a toilet in my room.'

'Well you obviously forgot that.'

'No, I don't sleepwalk. You guys carried me down here in the night!'

Of 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.

'It was nothing to do with us,' I replied. I'd only had three pints and distinctly remember going straight to bed.

'I don't have a key on me,' she continued.

The plot was certainly thickening.

'When I came up to bed the door was open' said Eoin.

Susan was up now and tightly wrapped in the bed's duvet. 'How will I get back in?'

'Knock on the door, there might still be someone in there,' I said.

So 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.

'I don't find it funny at all!' she snapped, and stomped off to the right room this time.

It was nice to see that Kirwan House is still as entertaining as ever.

Visit the Kirwan House website

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