Yeah, I know, I keep talking about the UK and Ireland lately. Maybe it’s just the nostalgic time of year or something. But I promise this shit’s funny, so keep reading.
Take, for example, when I learned that bathrooms in Ireland are NEVER what they seem to be.
My B&B in Cork was lovely. It was run by a quiet, kind-to-the-bones lady called Mary* and I had a clean, spacious room with a big bed. The only catch? The bathroom was literally in a closet. And it was tucked in the corner of the room. And when I went in there to use it, I discovered that the light was burnt out.
Now, typically this wouldn’t be a problem; I’d just leave the door open. But because of the positioning of the bathroom, the open door did nothing for me, especially in the evening. So I unpacked my things, peed in the dark, and then on my way out to explore the city, I found Mary and told her about the light situation.
“Oh, goodness me,” Mary clasped her hands together politely, “I’ll have to get the handyman to have a look at it. And it’s Saturday tomorrow. I hope he’s able to come.”
At this point, I thought to myself:
(A) It’s 2006. The handyman doesn’t work on Saturdays?
(B) Give me a damn light bulb and I’ll figure it out!
But I said nothing, because I was 19 and shy.
That’s a lie. I said, “Okay!” and nodded enthusiastically because I’m a push over.
I didn’t shower for three days because the handyman “wasn’t available” (see: “was working on Irish time”) and apparently no one has candles anymore. I suppose I could have attempted to shower in pitch black, but it seemed scary and dangerous.
SIDENOTE: Looking back, it doesn’t really seem that scary or dangerous. I don’t know what my problem was, but it was obviously a serious one, because me not showering for three days is like some sort of warning sign of the apocalypse. I like showering. Daily. Sometimes more.
On the plus side, when I did finally shower, it was glorious.
Everything about Dublin felt like home from the second I arrived. Except for my guesthouse. When I booked the room, I booked a single room with an en-suite bathroom. (Yeah, I’m a bit of a princess, but I totally don’t care. I don’t do hostels. Especially not alone.) When I checked in, the lady at the front desk told me I had a single room with an en-suite bathroom. But when I got to the room, my en-suite bathroom was missing something crucial.
Yeah, so my room was fairly spacious and had a nice bed and a TV, and in the corner, there was a shower and a sink…and that was it.
So I went back down to the front desk and asked the lady where my toilet was. She very casually replied that my floor didn’t have a toilet, so I could either use the one that was one floor up from my room, or the one that was one floor down from my room. I asked her if this arrangement was considered “en-suite,” and she very promptly said “Yes.”
All right, I thought, that’s weird, but it could be worse, so I’m not going to throw a fit. I decided to check out the bathroom upstairs.
It was essentially a utility closet with a toilet in one corner and a giant water heater (or something?) so close to the toilet that your knees were crunched into your body every time you sat down. Next to the toilet was a vanity with a sink, but no soap. The toilet paper roll wasn’t on the wall. It was tossed into the sink. So it was wet.
So THAT was interesting.
Also I am pretty sure there was a dead mouse right next to the water heater thing.
Limerick totally fooled me.
The website for The Railway Hotel makes it look pretty cute and almost swanky. The truth is that it’s charming in a this-building-is-falling-apart-and-that-gives-it-character sort of way. And also that if the first place you land is The Railway Hotel, you think that Limerick is a total ghetto. Then you get into city centre and realize that’s just the sketch-o-matic part of town.**
But back to the bathroom.
In Limerick, I thought that all of my previous bathroom experiences were going to be redeemed. Not only was my bathroom totally spacious, but it had EVERYTHING in it AND it had an extra sink just outside the bathroom, too! Guys, it was like too much bathroom! I went into an I-can-pee-and-wash-my-hands-in-the-same-room happy place!
Then I used the bathroom and everything changed.
Well, first I went out to explore the city, check out its amazing castle, etc., etc., so by the time I got back to the hotel, it was night time. I went to the bathroom, did my thing, and as I was washing my hands, I noticed something strange. It was like the bathroom was foggy….
Now, what I haven’t mentioned is that The Railway Hotel has a pub on its ground floor (OBVS.), and that my room was on the second floor. So not only was my room INSANELY LOUD, but the entire hotel had a smoky smell.
But why was my bathroom foggy? And why was it smelling especially smoky?
Wait a second, I thought to myself, is this smoke?
Yes. My bathroom was filling with cigarette smoke. But how? I scanned the room: there was a bathroom fan, but there didn’t seem to be any logical reason it could be coming from there. I continued to scan: nothing. Okay, follow the noise…follow the noise…
I got a little closer to the ground and things seemed louder. I moved aside the bathroom mat.
There was a hole in my bathroom floor that led down to the bar.
WAIT. Settle down. It didn’t go all the way through. Like, I wasn’t waving at some random Irishman upon making this discovery.*** All I could see was a pipe, a lot of electrical wiring, and what must have been the inside of a false ceiling.
I never moved that bathroom mat again.
Surely this is enough proof that bathrooms in Ireland are a special breed. (Though I have some pretty special stories about Portuguese bathrooms, too. SHUDDER.)
P.S. I LOVE IRELAND.
*I suspect 92.3% of women in Ireland are called Mary.
**I know I’m making it sound DREADFUL. I’d actually stay there again. It wasn’t that bad.