Who is Toby Shore?

“You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I’m an easy target. Yeah, you’re right. I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you, but I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings. Well, you think what you want about me. I’m not changing. I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. ‘Cause I’m the real article. What you see is what you get”

4 Days…………..6 modes of transport………………..countless “planning” Guinness’s and we are finally back from Ireland!

We often tell you about events that are coming up or that have happened, but rarely do we ever get the chance to spin you a yarn and really focus on some of the people who have helped us out, whether that be brewery related, or in this case just making our trip a lot more palatable.

Let me start by introducing myself. My name’s Iain, I work here at Wild Weather doing sales / marketing / recipe ideas / events and……well………the list goes on. So when Mike (Grand leader and high captain) said he’d booked some meetings in Ireland and wanted to bring me along for moral support and ideas, well………I was elated.

Wednesday morning arrives, and through blurry eyes I grab my bag, stuff the last few bits into the top and head to the car. It’s a brisk morning no doubt, but nothing worse than we are used to in ol’ Blighty.

With the gentle musings of BBC Berkshire in the background we sail up the motorway and in no time at all Heathrow pops into our sleep deprived eyes. Once in, one plan! Breakfast! Café found, muffin consumed, and onto the plane! So far everything is going swimmingly, but as anyone who has ever travelled knows…………This can’t last.

So for those of you that don’t know (and those of you that do, I mean you’re hardly going to ignore this sentence are you? You never know what I might put here! There might be a critical plot change and you’d miss it!) Dublin is around an hour’s flight on a good day from Heathrow.

8 Hours later we got off at Shannon. Now we were expecting snow (I had my thermals and Mike had the gloves and hats) but we certainly were not prepared for what was happening as we got off the plane! Ushered quickly from the plane to the bus and then onto a train platform in gale force winds and snow like a talcum powder fight in the changing rooms. On the train and we meet the first in a line of amazing people.

Now we like beer and I like to talk, so talking and having a beer on this (so far hellish) journey go hand in hand. Sat on a table next to a couple of very professional looking lads we get to chatting. Of course the subject of beer comes up (this might have been something to do with the cans we thrust into their hands) and it turns out they run Irelands premier craft beer online marketing agency (Craft Digital). A few snaps later and some expertly done tweets and all of a sudden the Irish beer industry know we are in town!

Through the snow we fight our way to a hotel, burst in, suitcases all of a flurry, fight our way to the desk and……………..you guessed it…………..full!

However, due to the excellent staff at Travel Lodge (Rathmines) rooms were found, deep breaths taken, socks changed and back out into the cold like true hunter gatherers! It wasn’t long before we stumbled across a truly fantastic little Italian restaurant by the name of “Manifesto”. Scallops, Squid and 2 of the finest pizzas we have ever had, and out into the cold we venture once more for a late night pint of the black stuff. We achieved that with style, perfectly paired with gentle acoustic guitar in the background of a great pub.

I’ll spare you the details of the following days, suffice to say that although we didn’t make it to any of our meetings – not one! I think we both fell a little bit in love with both Ireland and indeed the Irish! For every problem that arose, there was always someone more helpful then the last to solve it or make the situation a little better.

Given that we were only supposed to be staying a single night, you might imagine that by day 2pm looking at the airport boards (only to see the word cancelled so many times it became a blur) we had started to panic! Well……………a few planning Guinness’s later and we had hatched the idea of catching the ferry home (albeit this was still not running for another 2 days).

Any port in a storm they say, and this was certainly true. Trudging through the crisp white snow at 4am hoping to be in time for the 8am ferry (brewers not athletes) we arrived into what may have been the coldest waiting room I have ever experienced. That said the 11 hours in there rolled round before we knew it (*insert sarcastic voice and rolling eyes) and we were soon on a warm boat. Now at this point we have to give the biggest shout out ever to Hayley from “Hertz Cars”. Her little shop at the port (and our only life line home) was supposed to shut at 2 on the Saturday afternoon and not re open until Monday, our ferry was supposed to get in 12 so even with a delay we were still well in time……………We got in at 8pm!

Hayley stayed behind to make sure we had a car to get ourselves home to friends and families and for this we can’t thank her enough. Car on the road and snow tackled, the hour of 3am heard my keys rattle in the door, once again with blurry eyes I found my way up the wooden hill to Slumberland.

So what have we learnt from this? What gems can we take away? First and foremost is that even in this scary age where we all only communicate via a screen the kindness of strangers can still be counted upon to make your day just that little more bearable. Secondly is that no! Guinness doesn’t taste any different while you’re over there, & thirdly…………….Ireland……..We’re coming back to get ya!!!!