Beannachd leat, Dublin!

On Tuesday morning the sun returned and it even seemed to be warmer then the days before. While I ate the last few bits of my ham and eggs some rather sweaty people in sports gear appeared in the breakfast room which I managed to identify as John McDonald, Dave Allen and Justin Pipe. Justin Pipe had picked up the others around 8 o'clock to go jogging.

My sporting activities of the day were restrained to another walk through the town. This time I choose the region north of the Liffey were most shops and the O'Connell Street - the boulevard of Dublin can be found. There the buses leave for the airport as well and after I had a short view at the docks and the custom house - as Dublin in a harbour town - I went to O'Connell Street to find out where my bus would leave the next morning. It had been very dark when Bernd and I had arrived there and now in broad daylight looked totally different.

In the middle of O'Connell Street one can find some monuments of Irish rebels who fought for Ireland's liberty against the British and who were executed for this by the British. The a little bit offside from the O'Connell street to be found "Garden of Remembrance" reminds as well the freedom fighters especially those of the Easter revolt in 1916 which till today is very vivid for the Irish.

I haven't formed an ultimate opinion about the town after those two days, they were much too short. Dublin is not really a beautiful town; much looks slightly neglected, in some parts even dirty. But it certainly is a town with an air, it's very much alive and the people were all very friendly and ready to help and seemed to have much more time then in other cities. There was a big contrast between the town and the City West Hotel -like to poles apart.

Slightly bewildered I returned for some kind of evening meal to the hotel before I again went to the pressroom. The venue had been only half filled on Monday and was even emptier on Tuesday and there were not many disguised people around though the atmosphere was great on both days. The atmosphere in the press room was much less tense and we all laughed quite a lot that evening. Justin Pipe and Mervyn Kind had joined us to watch the matches.
In the players lounge people were rather animated. There stood a billiard table and a few children, some players' guests and some player's played most with more power than expertise. Not all in the press room were the whole time occupied with the darts, but whatever they did - it seemed to be very gripping as John McDonald almost was too late for one of the matches. Players and Officials already were ready and waiting when he finally appeared. He even had to enter the stage from the "wrong" site to manage it in time.

In the first three matches Steve Beaton, Andy Hamilton and Michael van Gerwen played some impressive darts, Wes Newton convincing against Ronnie Baxter. Then the strange match between James Wade and Colin Osborne was played. It was already clear when James came on stage something was amiss. Usually he greets all the officials very friendly but this time.It seemed he had a problem to stay in control. First he managed to keep his composure and even threw some decent darts. But then he failed and seemed almost to break to pieces. I couldn't find out what the problem really was no one in the press room talked about the match. Nobody seemed to be surprised either, but it might be that just was reticence.
The following match between Adrian Lewis and Richie Burnett then more added to the amusement. Both reacted very relaxed to their problems with the starting doubles and the crowd gladly responded - the mood reached a peak.

Raymond van Barneveld and his Barney Army - which can of course be found in Ireland as well - had not much to celebrate on the evening. The Dutch player was eliminated first round by Ian White. In the last match of the evening one almost felt bad for Michael Mansell, he had no chance at all against Paul Nicholson.
After this really interesting and entertaining evening I still had to do a much less entertaining job - to pack my suitcase as I wanted to leave in time in the morning.

I really enjoyed my time in Dublin. The hotel was great and the short ways between my room and the venues were convenient. The atmosphere of the tournament was something special. The first round matches had been thrilling and varied. I liked the combination of a Players Championship weekend with a Major tournament. To be really able to decide a "verdict" about the town it would be necessary to have some more time for it. But never during all my darting travels so far had I really the feeling to return to my every day life from such a totally different world.

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