For those of you who have never visited Ireland my recent visit to a Irish hotel sums up the country perfectly. Ireland is perfectly pleasant country. Rolling green hills, quaint pubs, friendly people yet despite all this you come away with the niggly feeling that everything is just a little bit broken. Not massively broken, it’s like drinking perfectly nice pint of beer from a glass with a chip rather than drinking a pint of rat poison. The sort of broken that makes you chuckle rather than rant.
Things got off to a great start as soon as we got to the room and I put the card in the little slot that turns the lights on.
What this photo doesn’t show is what happens if you just put the card in and push it down. What happens is the card shoots into the holder and you spend the next half hour with the needle from the sewing kit trying to get the card back out again. At this point I was still blissfully unaware of the problems lurking within the light switch but more on that later.
A visit to the bathroom brought a nicely tiled area and problem number two.
What the photo doesn’t show is that the fly is dead and slightly squashed. It’s not unusual to find a squashed fly however this was February and the fly must have been squashed sometime in the autumn of the previous year. Cleaners hadn’t noticed or bothered removing this ex-fly. The dead fly has probably been at the hotel longer than some of the staff.
After a couple of cheeky drinks at the bar there was time for a shower and a bit of telly. Take a look at this shower handle, can you guess what function it performs?
If you guessed that pulling it would turn the water on and turning it would change the temperature then I’m afraid you are wrong. If you guessed it was a flimsy bit of plastic that is loosely clamped around the temperature dial and that pulling it would result in it coming off in your hands then well done you. It must be designed for people who find the concept of turning a dial too much.
Apart from that the shower was delightful and as I dried off I settled down to watch a bit of telly. You may think you know how televisions work but not this one, this one had a magical Irish box attached to make sure it was a little broken.
What this box does is hijack the useful functions of the remote control. Want to change channels by pressing the numbers? Sorry they don’t work. How about channel up and down? That works but not how you’d expect. Pressing channel up changes up by one channel. If you then pressed channel down it would change back to the previous channel. However the telly would then become locked to those two channels. To change up or down from these channels required not touching the remote again for five minutes. You could then change up or down by one more channel. It would then be locked to that channel and the last one of the previous channels for another five minutes. On top of that the channels were in a random order so you couldn’t even guess what direction to head in to find the channel you wanted.
After heading out for a delicious meal that passed without incident it was time for bed.
It was now time for the tap to play tricks. It had happily done it’s job perfectly during the day dispensing both hot and cold water. At night it decided the only water it would give out was scaldingly hot water. I don’t know if you’ve even brushed your teeth with roasting hot water but I don’t recommend it.
Remember that light switch from earlier? It was now time for it to shine, almost literally. The rightmost switch controlled a useless light in the open wardrobe. The light not only lit up the wardrobe but also shined straight into the eye of somebody trying to sleep.
The switch to control that light wasn’t really a switch but more of a spring. Turning the light off just resulted in it springing straight back onto the on position. Getting it to stay off became a sleep-deprived game of buckaroo. The room cleaner kindly turned it back on each morning so I could play the game every night.
It won’t surprise you to discover that one of the bedside lights didn’t work.
The bed was very comfortable and there was no noise despite it being a Saturday night. The next day was spent enjoying touring around the countryside in bright sunshine. I was parched when we arrived back in the evening.
Yes, the bar was closed at 7pm on a Sunday night. It never opened all night. Yes, there is a bar in Ireland that is too quiet to open on a Sunday night. Fortunately the restaurant had a small bar attached that did serve drink but it scared the hell out of me.
Now I know it sounds like the place was a disaster but I’ve only mentioned the bad things. Most things were lovely, the stay just had a large number of slightly daft faults and that is pretty much Ireland all over. You’ll find lots of quaint shops that sell things you’ll never really want assuming the shop bothered to open in the first place.
I’ll leave you with one final example I noticed as we were was about to check out.
In case it’s not clear the card says “SMILE, YOUR IN THE CARLTON”