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Diary of a travel writer: Back to basics with canvas roof and crescent moon

Thursday

By the time I get through immigration at Dublin airport, I am already missing the sound of the ocean on my Ruby Princess cruise. But it is nice to be home. To the cool. Even for sunworshippers, an Irish

22 degrees can give a Turkish 39 a run for its money. And with everyone in southern Europe getting baked, those of us at home are probably enjoying it more.

I miss men dressed as Roman centurions. I miss the clamour of the crowds over old stones. I miss Americans asking puerile questions (“Who brought those cats here?” in the theatre at Ephesus). But the summer is in retreat and I have more camping to do.

Friday

Revolution in the southeast, and it is called the M9. I stop by for the new Smithwicks Brewery tour. This is unlike any brewery tour I have seen because of the secret jewel — a medieval abbey in the heart of the brewery.

Former brewer Ronan Morrissey conducts a merry party with enthusiasm, teaching us to sip and roll the red malty liquid in our mouths. A pint will never taste the same.

They are blowing again at Waterford Glass. The factory is closed but an impressive 60,000 tourists have come to see the process. The site is better than the old one, and brings you up close with the craftsmen.

Then, a real treat; the Waterford Treasures Museum, where they are launching their plans for the Tall Ships Race next July 3-5. Nobody does tall ships like Waterford.

Saturday

Back under the cover of my tent, amid the realisation that the lost youth I am trying to recapture is long passed. The night is dry and not as silent as it might be. You hear different things under canvas and the crescent moon. We don’t have the shrieking crickets, night birds and mosquitoes but there are dogs barking and a car whose exhaust pipe has no chance of passing the NCT. We have a noisy island.

Sunday

For the third week in a row in Croke Park we have mastery against momentum. This time momentum won. A little bit of me wanted to see history, someone winning five in a row. We saw something special instead, a great performance from Tipp, vindication for Eoin Kelly of his long years enriching our culture.

Monday

Under canvas, your dreams are different. The early mornings make camping worthwhile, awake and unzipping a tent long before the bricks-and-mortar brigade have awoken.

Tuesday

Flight EY42 to Abu Dhabi in the comfort of Etihad’s business class. They have been a civilising influence on Irish aviation at a time of stress.

Wednesday

My suite in the Sukhothai hotel is as big as Croke Park. The Tipp and the Kilkenny teams would fit in the bath. Savvy Traveller by Eoghan Corry, How

the Travel Industry Works and How to

Make it Work for You, ¤15


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