Published: April 10th 2012March 26th 2012
Diddly dee, Andy and me, off to Ireland, plenty to see!
Andy and I had booked a 3 day southern explorer from Dublin during the winter travel show 6 months prior. With Andy due for holidays and my contract finishing, the timing was perfect. Off we went!
As usual we did not research the area, we simply arrived with a small overnight bag, both already exhausted from the night before, Andy had been preparing her liver and I the less exciting task of serving her the liquor. Hardly a fair trade.
The hostel was nothing exciting, plain and smelling of a men’s public urinal, pipes had burst in the main building and I gagged as I stored our bags in the lockers besides the bathrooms, I could almost taste the urine as the odour was so pungent.
Our check in was still 5 hours away seeing as we had caught a flight at stupid-o'clock, we happily left the reception and joined the free walking tour across Dublin. The tour was really informative, funny and a interesting and somewhat humiliating insight into Irelands history. Fuckup after fuckup. I was almost embarrassed to hear the Irish girl
retell these stories with such vigour. Constant tales of miscommunication, vigilante acts on wrong dates, accepting wine from enemies to only be poisoned (one person - twice!). Good intension acts damaged by stupidity and alcohol.
The weather was amazing, blue skies and warm soft winds, we hungrily devoured a Guinness stew which was amazing, thick chunks on meat in a rich gravy and creamy potatoes. The Irish may be rubbish at war, but they smashed the stews.
I was surprised at the beautiful streets Dublin offered, we wandered in and out and settled in the sun on the river drinking cider with many others. The peaceful and respectful sun bathing turned with the sun set as we purchased more 'street' drinks, supermarket dinner and afterwards headed for a bar.
We danced, laughed, party pashed, stumbled, our way through the night, eventually crammed in a kebab, shared strong and unsavoury words with the night watchman and fell crashed into our hostel beds reeking of garlic sauce and vodka.
We were locals.
Awake, feeling groggy and smelling rotten, we made the 9am departure for our 3 days trip, 'Top of the morning to you ladies! Can you
tell me how much your voucher was for?' - really?!?! This was not an opportunity to pass up, 'Ah.... 100%?' - Great, let’s go! It seems that communication and organisation had not really improved over the years, so we enjoyed the entire trip at a fraction of the cost.
Ahhh, but every action has a reaction and my comeuppance was only 20 minutes away, as I foolishly balanced my camera on the stone wall to capture the picturesque setting with both Andy and I, karma jokingly pushed my camera forward and it landed with a splash. Although I mentioned that the weather was warm, I mean 'Ireland warm'. The water was not warm. I pulled off my socks, shoes and jeans and waded into the icy thigh deep water to salvage the memory card. Lesson learned.
Out next stop was Galway, a gorgeous beach side town, full of students and tourist sitting on the shore enjoying a drink - which was the theme for the entire trip - we indulged in ice cream and spend hours chatting and feeding the friendly swans which swam back and forth.
Each day we would travel along the country roads, stopping
at different sites, famine walls, famine houses no bigger than a small bedroom, castles that apparently gave us back our virginity, ruins, cliffs, breathtaking views, I have never seen so much continuous beauty in one country. Ireland was simply stunning.
The cliff of Moher stole my breath and locked my eyes, reaching up to the sky and plummeting violently into the surf below, a sight I will never forget. Marvelling at one of mother nature’s finest piece of art I appreciated how powerful the earth is and took the time to reflect on all the earth offers and how much we take without thought. I felt small and humbled.
Andy and I had befriended 3 American students, who shared the same sense of humour and fun. We all got along famously and spent the next 3 days laughing and posing for numerous pictures.
Kissing the Blarney stone was a strange experience, I was apprehensive to put my lisp where millions of others had - cold sores anyone? - however I am not one to pass up a once in a life time must-do, leaving backwards over an opening that drops over 30 feet scared the crap out
of me, and the supposed 'helper' had to eventually force me down as I kept trying to sit up in fear I would fall through to my imminent death.
After the three days we returned to Dublin for our final night, we decided to head into town and treat ourselves to watch an Iris band playing traditional instruments and Irish dancing, this was easily the second highlight of the trip (the cliffs being the first). The musicians were interactive and were seated in a non formal fashion on mismatching couches facing the small audience. The performance was intimate and I felt each note in the ends of my toes to the tips of my fingers, Andy and I kept stealing glances at each other but were unable to share a single word, the performance was stunning and the two hours were over far too quickly for my liking. If you only have one day in Dublin, visit the brewery followed by the House Party in Temple Bar music and dancing, our final night was perfect.
To top off the night we celebrated with a few pints, I generously let Andy have the room keys so she could get
better acquainted with one of the American students and I was left to share a 18 bed dorm, which was not easy to find with directions such as 'somewhere on the water', however after 20 minutes and several wrong turns I had arrived. Walking back to my private room on the other side of the river the next morning I received knowing looks, smug smiles and arched eyebrows.... what in the world? Then it dawned on me, walking along the street in last night’s clothes... oh yes, It seemed I was completing the walk of shame, hardly fair when there was no action involved. Damn Andy, once again, she was getting the better deal.
Our final day. I realised when I arrived back to my room that I had left all my hand washed knickers at the last hostel on our tour, where quite possibly they are still hanging out to dry. Now, after a boozy night all I wanted was a hot shower and clean clothes, but no, I had a spit of cold water that was apparently a 'shower' and threw on last night’s jeans, without the underwear, Bloody uncomfortable. Andy laughing at my walking style did
nothing to help the situation.
After a quick stop at the department store, we spent the last few hours before our flight at the St James Gate Guinness factory. Guinness: mother’s milk: a meal in a glass.... I could go on. I love the black stuff and was skipping all the way to the gates of glory. Andy was less excited, however appreciated the amazing site, the store house has gone to incredible efforts to provide an interesting factory self tour for all the senses. Following a master pour class we settled into the sky bar and drank in the perfect view, and a well deserved pint. A tear of pride threatened to spill when Andy finished her first glass, though I'm not sure if she will ever order another seeing as it 'tasted like coffee', shame shame shame.
Our trip had ended. Diddly dee, potatoes.