I had an off-site for work on Thursday and Friday. Kind of like a group love-in, we all went away to spend some time bonding and getting some actual work done without the interruptions. They’re a great idea and for this one we were staying at a lovely place in County Wicklow called Brook Lodge nestled amongst the rolling green hills.
After our first day we found out that our sales people had hit a milestone, so it was certainly going to be a celebration. The champagne came out before dinner and continued on. Dinner itself was lovely – all organic produce and delicious.
After dinner Ciaran decided that we should go to a club. Trouble was that we were miles from nowhere – so off he went to organise something. A taxi was soon on it’s way and we headed off to the nearest "club", being a pub in the historic town of Arklow – 17 kilometres away from where we were staying. Jen wisely grabbed the taxi driver’s card so we would be able to call him when we wanted to go back.
Ignoring the stares of the locals we hit the dance floor. Brilliantly skilled DJ – every time we really got into it he managed to put on a floor-clearer, you have to try very hard to be that bad. But what the hell, we continued on and had a great time until they closed at 2:30.
So, out onto the street, time to flag down a cab. The locals largely disappeared until there was ourselves and another group left. Our cab driver wasn’t picking up at all, neither were any of the other taxi companies in the county. We even called the hotel, they were trying their own contacts for us.
While we were calling various people trying to get a cab a very expensive volve came screeching to a stop in front of us and the driver asked where we were going – absolutely no-where with someone who drives like that! He sped off, screeching the tyres and coming to a hard stop in front of the other group who also didn’t look too impressed, so off the guy screeched again. A few seconds later he was back and doing about 120 down the windy main street, swerving towards us so we all dove for cover in a shop doorway. The guy was clearly on something and clearly dangerous, so I got on the phone to the local Garda to report him. As I was on the phone, your man drove his car straight into a the corner of a shop, screeched into reverse and then smashed into the shop again, eventually turning the car with bits of it twisting off and speeding away.
Eventually the police turned up and went off to look for him, but we were still stranded without any taxis. The lads were getting restless and annoyed so we started to walk. After a while we came across the police again – we askedthem if they could help us, two of us were quite sober and if we could get back we could drive down and collect the others, but they told us they were going off to pick up a lunitic who had stolen a car and was burning it – their recommendation was to stay put.
But we couldn’t stay on the street. The 4am bells were ringing for mass and we had to start the next day’s work at 10! So, we started to head home. Jenny wearing heels and myself in a singlet top. 17 kilometers – I figured about 5 hours given that most of it would be poorly made roads and pitch black. The hotel hadn’t found us anyone, and the only people on staff there didn’t have cars so they couldn’t help us themselves.
At about 4:30 after walking for what seemed like hours (I know, only half of one but it seemed like hours) it was starting to rain. Tony and Ciaran had run off ahead and left the rest of the group following. We were starting to think about having to find shelter if the rain got any heavier – we were fast becoming one of those idiot groups that get caught out and die of exposure. Then, out of the blue the phone rings – the hotel has managed to wake someone up and he’s on his way to get us. he rain’s getting heavier so we stop and huddle under teh one umbrella waiting for our taxi-saviour. Finally he arrives, in a mini bus and with the two lads who’d run ahead. At 5 I stumbled into my room, grateful for the chance at a few hours of sleep.
Next morning Jen and I met for breakfast. The boys joined us at about 10 – clearly we would be running late! Ciaran was later, we had to wake him up. Turns out the boys had continued the party for some time. Despite that, the day’s activities went well – although we were all very happy to be heading back towards Dublin!
So, that was the Arklow adventure. Certainly not one I’d recommend!