Monday, April 12, 2010

A Weekend With the Irish

My new job has given me the opportunity to do a few things that I love: work from home, enjoy some flexibility, and do some more travel.  My travel is for work purposes, so I don't get to always choose where to go, but I occasionally get to go outside the country to visit with customers, potential customers, or other Subversion developers.  The only downside is that Heather doesn't often get to come with me.

This past weekend has found me at a hostel in Ireland for the latest Apache Retreat.  Essentially, the Apache Software Foundation rented a hostel in the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin for a few days, and a bunch of us developer types got together to give talks, hack code, and put faces with email addresses.  One of my personal goals is to help Subversion integrate with the ASF, since we're now an official top-level project.  The organizers arranged some abnormally fantastic weather for the weekend, and even though it was a busy few days, the event was great.

Among the ruins at Glendalough

I managed to feel surprisingly rested when landing in Dublin at 8:30am on Friday, and had several hours before it was time to get to the hostel.  I rented a car and picked of fellow Subversion developers, and spent the next few hours teaching myself to drive on the left side of the road.  (Even though I was driving a standard, and having to shift with my left hand, the hardest part ended up being knowing where the margins of the vehicle were.  Never mind driving: steering from the right-hand side of the car is a new experience.)

We visited Glendalough, and did a hike through the woods.  Even though Austin has had spring for a few weeks now, it's just now happening in Ireland: there was grass in the fields, but no leaves on trees, and the sheep had yet to be shorn.  Our hikes took us past some waterfalls and through the Irish countryside.  I managed not to get us killed while driving to the hostel for the event.

The Irish Countryside

Saturday morning dawned clear and cool, and I decided to avail myself of the chance for a short walk on the nearby Wicklow Way.  Using a flyer from the hostel, I hiked for roughly 3 miles to an overlook of Powerscourt Waterfall, the highest in Ireland.  Even though I hadn't brought my boots or other gear, the hike was enjoyable, and I returned to the hostel in time for the first of the sessions.  The rest of Saturday was spent coding and discussing, and I even gave an hour-long talk about Subversion to about 10 people.

Powerscourt Waterfall

I took the opportunity on Sunday to visit the Bray Branch for church services, and then perfect my left-hand-driving skills while trying to find the Dublin airport Hilton in a town with a severe case of address apathy.  After a brief detour through London to get home after my original flight was canceled, I made it back home, about 100 hours after I left.  In the end, it was a whirlwind trip, but Ireland is definitely somewhere on my places-to-return list, hopefully next time with Heather.


Bruce said...

Hey! Looks familiar:

I'm glad the weather worked out for you. It was miserable when I visited Dublin.

Petertammenson said...

Congrats on the new job!!!