A week later, I am back in Dublin, just in time to watch the final of the Big Brother UK house eviction.
It’s the first time I’ve been able to spend much time out of the house, and I am determined to enjoy it all the more.
As it happens, I have a good friend who has taken me out for a stroll around the city, so I can’t really complain about that.
But this weekend, as I’m going through my bags at the airport, I’m suddenly reminded of something that has happened to me on a few occasions recently.
On my way to my hotel, I spot a large sign in the window announcing a boat tour of the south coast of Ireland, and it’s about to begin.
“Go to The Belly, the first pub in Dublin,” it tells me.
“It’s a good place to drink.”
The pub’s proprietor, a man named Michael, tells me it’s been open for 20 years and it has been “a favourite spot for Dubliners”.
“It just happens to be the last pub in the city,” he says, referring to the old Dublin Hotel.
He also says that the pub’s owner has always been an avid gardener.
And then he says something that makes me realise that Michael is talking about the Belly.
It’s the last one in Dublin.
“No, no,” I say, thinking of the people that have died here and the people I know who have lost loved ones.
I don’t even want to think about what he’s said to me.
I start the tour.
It starts with me walking through the Ballybofey and heading down the road to the Bogan Street Belly Pub.
At this point, I know I’m on to something.
There is a large, open space in the centre of the Boseman Road, and when you look around, it seems to be a kind of graveyard for all those that have passed.
The space is covered with a dark red, black and white banner with the words, “Bogan Street”. It reads: “We will see you tomorrow.”
The sign says, “Welcome home.”
When I look up, I see a young man standing on the balcony overlooking the area, wearing an orange T-shirt.
I turn and walk up to him and tell him hello.
“Welcome back, sir,” he responds.
“Nice to see you again, mate,” I reply.
I ask him where he is from.
He replies that he’s from the US.
“No, I don, you’ve been away,” I tell him.
“I’ve been out on the boat,” he replies.
“We haven’t been there since yesterday,” I point out.
“Yeah, well, we are,” he agrees.
“Yes,” I respond.
We talk for a few minutes and then we head into the Brazen Square area.
“Look, the sun’s coming up,” Michael tells me, pointing towards a big orange sign that says, “Welcome home”.
“It’s very hot here,” I remark.
The sign then says, “If you want to go out on a boat, there’s a place to stay nearby.”
“Yes, that’s right,” Michael replies.
He tells me to get in the boat and to sit in the seat in front of the window.
After a while, I realise that it is not a very good idea to sit on the seat.
It is very hot and I have not eaten in about 15 minutes.
I tell Michael that I will have to return later to the hotel, but I am worried that the heat will make me sick.
When Michael tells the tour guide that we need to go to the Hotel Bogan, I get the idea that he may have meant the Bogans.
That is when I realise the danger of my lack of knowledge.
Before I go, I ask the tour operator to look at my map and to ask my friend if I need to be checked in.
Michael tells me that I’m not required to do anything on the tour and that I can leave anytime I like.
Then, just before we leave, I notice that Michael has taken a seat next to the tour group.
My eyes are drawn to the large, orange sign on the Bosphorus, which says, “Welcome Home”.
I feel very uncomfortable at this moment.
So I ask Michael to look behind him.
But he doesn’t notice me.
Suddenly, he appears and says, to my surprise, that I am not required by law to be on the ship.
This is a really big deal.
I am now a criminal.
If I were to be found guilty, I could be sentenced to three years in prison.