A week went by. I had started going to shcool and I got used to living in Galway. So I began thinking of visiting somewhere. I wanted to save Aran Islands and The Cliffs of Moher for a weekend and I searched for a place where I could visit on a weekday. And so I looked for a good plave in my guidebook. So I found a pub in my book, which is in Athlone and is identified by Guinness as the oldest pub in Ireland. I guessed there was no choice!! But it takes 1 hour to get to Athlone by train. I didn't know whether it was good idea to visit Athlone just to go to the pub. But I found the ruin called Clonmacnoise, which is the ruin of an eary Christian monastery from the 6 century, around the town. Visiting the oldest pub and the ruin of an eary Christian monastery. "It sounds good." According to my guidebook, there was no tour in this season and taking a taxi from Athlone was the only way to get there. It was much expensive than a tour, but there was no choice.
One day in Novemver, after I finished school, I bought some sandwichs for lunch and boarded the train leaving for Dublin at 13:05 with a round-trip ticket. Of course, I asked a station staff if the train would be stopping at Athlone! After 1 hour, I arrived at Athlone station. The station was smallish. But there was a pretty big waiting room for coach next to the station and around the station seemed to be busy with people. I started off by looking for a taxi company which I had looked up on my guidebook in advance. But I couldn't find it. It made me feel rushed because I didn't have any time to waste. I had to catch the train leaving Athlone at 18:30!
When walking around to look for it, I happened to find a building which looked like citizen's advice bureau. I decided to ask someone there because I felt that it was more reliable than asking strangers on the street. The staff was an old woman, and she was sitting behind a counter. I told her that I was looking for a taxi company to hire a taxi. To my surprise, she looked up the number of the taxi company and called them for me. And she asked them to pick me up here. She was very helpful! Thanks a lot!!
It cost 40 euros return to stay there for 1 hour, which was 5000 Japanese yen. The taxi driver rushed to Clonmacnoise and we finally arrived there after 40 minutes. The visitors center was bigger than I had imagined. There were 4 people, including me because it was a weekday evening, especially in winter. The visitors center had a display space and there were ruins of a monastery and a round tower outside. I enjoyed scenery and took some pictures. It was a beautiful day and I could see far over the Irish landscape. Gently sloping hills continued into the distance and it looked like a picture postcard. It was unfamiliar landscap for people who came from Japan, a mountainous island country.
I got in the taxi which was waiting for me at a car park and came back to Athlone. And soon. I walked around downtown to look for my goal, the oldest pub. The pub was at the back of Athlone Castle. The pub interior design was woodtone and there was a retro mood. It was 5 p.m., but local people were drinking a lot. There were a few women who looked like they were on their way home from work. I drank Guinness and killed time before my train departure time. "It tastes good!!"
When I went to the station, everything was closed. The station looked like a ghost station. I got on the train without checking my ticket and got off without checking my ticket. It seemed strange.... My staying at Athlone was only 5 hours, but it was fully satisfying.