I have been in Ireland (both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) for nearly two weeks flitting across borders golfing all over the place.
I arrived from Spain and had a wonderful flight meeting Mike and chatting to him about golf and food and business for the whole trip. After landing I then had issues with someone at customs who didn’t like that I had come from Spain where I was doing volunteer work. He held me up for about forty minutes and put a stamp in my passport telling me I do not have permission to be in the country and I am to present at the police station when I arrive at my destination across the border in Enniskillen.
Then I had numerous issues with the car hire place and I do not think I will use Thrifty again.
Four hours after landing I finally arrived to Enniskillen (a two hour drive from the airport) and followed the directions I had googled and taken photos of. Turns out Google was wrong and sent me off on to the other side of Enniskillen but I stopped and asked for directions looking at a lady’s phone to work out where I was. Another 10 minutes and I got to the street but couldn’t find 28 so did a loop and counted houses then just pulled up down a side street figuring I would just door knock and ask where they lived.
I looked up into the window of the house I was parked in front of and there was Finneboy (my nephew) giving me a smile and a wave. More luck than management but I was finally here. I hugged everyone then said I have to go to the police station and filled them in with my issues at the airport.
I had arranged to stay with my Irish family, Pauline and Martin, who are my sister’s in-laws. Everyone assured me the police would wait for half an hour and to eat dinner first.
So I did exactly that then headed off to the police station- surrounded by very high chain link fences it is quite different to stations in Australia and Canada so I buzzed at the gate told them what happened at the airport and the policeman told me to come back sometime tomorrow.
I was lucky to have a visit with Verity, Andrew and Finneboy who were in Ireland for a wedding and I hadn’t booked any golf for Monday as I wanted to have lots of cuddles with Finneboy before they headed back to London later that day.
Pauline and Martin drove me to Castle Hume Golf Course to see if I could get my 3w repaired instead I bought a second hand 5w Callaway Big Bertha Hawk Eye, which is now known as The Hawk and is my favourite club in my bag.
We then went to the police station and they couldn’t really understand what happened at the airport but duly stamped my passport and then we talked golf and the lady there asked me for a business card so she could follow my adventures.
A visit to the Killyhevlin with Pauline, Martin, Verity, Andy, Finneboy, James (Andy’s brother) and his girlfriend Jenny where we all enjoyed a spot of afternoon tea.
The next four days I had golf planned and Tuesday it was Seapoint Golf Links Wednesday was terrible weather and golf was cancelled so I got to edit all the videos I shot at Seapoint the previous day.
I have driven a lot of kilometres and have played a lot of golf and have done a lot of work writing, videoing and editing and was planning to edit more videos now but instead I am writing again.
Saturday was a lovely sunny day and I headed on another two hour drive north to Portstewart. Spring lambs dancing beside their mothers in green fields made me smile. I spent the drive delighting in the views, from the yellow gorse in bloom against the fifty shades of green, to the stone fences and gorgeous homes.
I love the tiny villages that you could blink and miss and the bigger towns full of rural Irish life, everyone bustling about their business.
Pauline and Martin were at Portstewart when I arrived and we went for a walk along the promenade, them telling me stories from when they grew up in this town. I popped into Morellis where I was going to on Tuesday to interview Damian Morell and talk food, golf and of course ice cream.
Sunday and I was off for another round of golf at Castlerock Golf Club and I then got back to watch The Masters. When I couldn’t watch live I was watching via twitter (I love technology) and ended up watching the amazing finish and not getting much sleep. I crawled out of bed early on a cold and windy day to head to Ballyliffin Golf Club for two rounds of golf.
I am meeting some amazing people and making new golf friends at every course I play and cannot believe that I have now played seventy one courses in eight countries in not quite two years.
I had Tuesday off golf (playing anyway) as I headed to Royal Portrush Golf Club where Darren Clarke was starting the European Trophy Tour of the Ryder Cup. I had been tweeted that this was happening so I turned up, introduced myself and filmed Darren’s interview talking about his Ryder Cup team and of course golf at The Masters. While there I posed for a photo with the Ryder Cup (I figured this is probably an opportunity that doesn’t come around often).
Then I headed off to Morellis to interview Damien.
Wednesday was another day of golf at Ballycastle Golf Club and a drive along the Coast Road. What a magnificent drive! The views are stunning and I had to stop and photograph and film, and just look and breath and take it all in.
Dunluce Castle sits on the side of a cliff with parts having already crumbled into the sea and standing there in the late afternoon sun with the wind on my face and no one around had me imagining the history of the place. The people and their lives and what it would be like living hundreds of years ago. I could see myself there (except for the golf gear I was dressed in).
I got up early the next day to go to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Again dressed in golf gear as I was off to play at Malone Golf Club. I walked across with my hands in my pockets bouncing the whole way. I had to wait for a group of eight who were being a little foolish (well one man in particular) before I could cross back . As I got a lady to take a photo of me this man was still on the other end of the bridge and started bouncing it so I bounced it right back much to his surprise.
I jumped in the car and shot down to golf at Malone before heading further south, back to Enniskillen. I am working on my own timetable with writing about the courses I play every night and I stay up late writing, editing, posting. After having an epiphany at Ballyliffin (yes Tiffany had an epiphany at Ballyliffin – bit of a tongue twister) I have just given myself lots more to do but as it is still golf related, is it really work?
Tomorrow I am going on a tour to the Marble Arch Caves and will film a bit more that is not golf related.
Monday I have my final round of golf in Northern Ireland at Castle Hume Golf Club, then a remedial massage before I fly to Scotland on Tuesday for another twelve rounds of golf in thirteen days.
So far I have driven more than 2,000kms and played one hundred and fifty four holes of golf in thirteen days.
Completely, utterly addicted.