Sendero Group Travel Blog

Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.

Sunday, September 19, 2004


Way Fun, Dublin, Saturday

By Saturday, our Way Fun group of 20 was fairly rested and ready to storm Dublin with canes and dog. Our colleague, Richard Bartholomew from Scotland being the only one among us who brought his dog guide. The laws for bringing dogs to the UK and Ireland were recently relaxed but not quite in time for the American dog users to organize bringing their dogs.

We split up into 4 groups and went off in search of trouble, Geo Cache locations and the more common sites of Dublin. Users of the BrailleNote GPS ranged from intermediate to advanced. Each group had at least one two-way radio with a range of a mile or so. I would check in with the groups on the radio or via mobile phone. The weather started out sunny for the second day in a row and spirits were definitely bright.

I went in search of Pete’s Electronic store to find some power adapters, plus I enjoyed the challenge of operating completely on my own. I asked lots of questions from passers by because I learned the vicinity of the store and a street name but not an address. One benefit of the GPS is that you can find out sooner when people give you a bum steer.

When one is in another English speaking country, many expressions are interesting. Richard B. told us for example that the older folks in Scotland use the expression “going to check messages” when we would say going to the grocery store. I wonder if a “bum steer” was originated by merchant farmers. It certainly applies to at least half of the directions one gets on the street. Maybe I don’t understand the language but it sure seems that people are even less specific here than back in the states. Any way, thank goodness for some technology.

I eventually found the store in a rather circuitous manner. The walk back to the hotel took a third the time and half the distance. I didn’t need to ask any questions since the Lynam Hotel was already in my database.

I then connected with the Kansas City group via the radio. They told me what point of interest they were near and I set that on my GPS and created a route to them. We had lunch in Temple Bar, replete with a panini and a pint.

I had to do double time from the restaurant to the Royal Dublin Hotel where we met up with a group of 25 to 30 Dublin locals organized by the National Council of the Blind of Ireland. I gave a presentation and then the locals paired up with GPS guides from our group and we walked the streetsnear the hotel. Other than one Trekker user, none had had experience with GPS. We did some interviews and all met back for conversation and libation. It was a wonderful interchange of culture and technology information.

We got lucky and secured a Saturday night reservation for 20 at Eliza Blue on the River Liffey, on the edge of the lively Temple Bar section of Dublin.

Sixteen of the group walked from there to the Pedestrian Gate of Dublin Castle where we met up for the 9 PM Zozimus walking tour of Dublin by night. This was a very funny and educational meandering around this historic part of Dublin. We heard about the notable prisoners in the castle and about the author of Dracula, who is from Dublin. The two actors were superb entertainers, the leader using a cane and wearing a blindfold. The Zozimus tour ended in a graveyard close to 11 PM. Some of the group headed back and some of us carried on.

We proceeded from there to O’Shea’s pub for what we thought would be Guinness and traditional Irish music. Instead, it was country music. After draining our pints there, we walked across the street to supposedly the oldest pub in Ireland, the Brazenhead where there was more country music. We headed back to the hotel keeping our ears open for Irish music along the way. We concluded Saturday, actually on Sunday, around 1 AM when Dublin was just getting going.

Richard Bartholamew demoing GPS in Dublin
Count Dracula trying to suck Sheila's blood
the group in front of the Guinness Factory
One on Zozimus' tour
the group in front of Zozimus' tour with Major Sirr
Mark Pighin caning backwards
Mike and Stuart giving a Presentation
the group on a Tour bus
Val demoing

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