I had high expectations of Ireland. Its reputation of beautiful green rolling hills that looked like a patchwork quilt and friendly outgoing people that talked really fast and danced like leprechauns had me excited. That, and the fact that I would be going to a land that I had a history with, somewhere where I came from, of course it was going to be grand! Perhaps it was these expectations, because it took less than 48 hours for me to wish I had never come.
I had four hours to get from Heathrow to Stansted airport in London, surely more than enough time to catch my flight to Dublin! What I hadn’t accounted for when I booked my flights was my stupid visa. A visa that, as Mark pointed out, has given me nothing but grief since the moment I applied. Needless to say, some over enthused airport official held me up while he checked out the legitimacy of my visa and so I missed my flight.
What was a cheap flight to Ireland now cost me three times my initial flight cost. I was stewing all the way to Dublin. Upon arrival, I
went in and picked up my rental car that I had paid in full when I booked in Australia. Or so I thought, they slapped me with a HUGE non refundable insurance fee and so by I had spent my weeks budget before I even left the airport. And then, to top it all off they made me stand outside the airport terminal for about half an hour why some lazy car hire dude made his way round to pick me up and take me to my car. I was cranky to say the very least. I turned on my GPS and punched in the details of the hostel I was staying at, and made my way into Dublin.
I had been driving around in circles for about an hour before I decided to stop and ask someone for directions, my now stupid GPS had been telling me to go down one way streets and kept looping me through the winded city roads. The first guy I asked, arsehole. The second, arsehole. The third, arsehole. One person I asked even just stuck their hand up and kept walking. Arsehole. I would just like to point out that by this
stage I had been in transit for around 30 hours and was getting pretty tired and those of you who know me, know I would not have been a very happy camper.
I think now is an appropriate time to point out that on top of all this crap, I had no phone, as somewhere from Narobi to Dublin I lost all my chargers as well as my numerous travel adaptors and my phone was flat. Bloody brilliant.
It was after about the 5th rejection I decided I was going to piss off out of Dublin cause it was just full of arseholes! I drove to a service station to try and find a payphone to cancel my room and have to give credit to the three male attendants that had the pleasure of dealing with me, they handled a blubbering Aussie chick pretty well. As soon as I spoke, I just lost it. I was crying so hard that I couldn’t speak and was doing those involuntary gasps for air that you just cant stop! Poor guy used his personal phone and even had to dial the number for me cause I just couldn’t do it! I
This is colour
This is a colour photo people. COLOUR! Now you understand why I thought this place was miserable
got directions and about half an hour later I found my bed.
Ireland is cold. So perhaps it is my fault for not researching the climate appropriately, but I just didn’t realise that it was going to be this cold, in spring, all the fucking time. It was drizzly when I arrived and has been pretty consistent the whole time I have been here. Why didn’t I go to Italy?
I drove to Galway, which from what I have heard is a pretty happening place and clearly I am down with the lingo so I thought I would check it out! I think I would have liked Galway, if I could have actually explored it. It had cool little pubs and shops and cobbled streets but it rained the whole time and the streets are so narrow you just cant find any parking. I admired the streets from the car and from the inside of a café where I had gone to hide from the miserable weather. I tried to book a ticket to the theatre but, just my luck, it was all sold out. It was at this point where I was hit on by a dirty
Mum - this is where your rock is.
old man who wouldn’t take a hint and I decided that the cities were not the place for me. I desperately wanted to like this place and the people but it just wasn’t happening. I pulled out my lonely planet and decided the following day, to head north to the Aran Islands.
Excuse me? But where am I?
I arrived with about half an hour before the ferry left, so I jumped in line, paid for my ticket and preceded to the dock. I jumped on the ferry made my way to the island. I was excited for the first time in a couple of days because the island I was heading to had a one of the most beautiful beaches on the western seaboard and had a castle!! Well that is what the brochure said, I wouldn’t know cause I never made it to that particular island. What I didn’t realise was the ferry that I was on stopped off at two islands, the first of which is where I jumped off.
A haven of tranquility and solitude, Inis Meain it can be said, is the least commercialized of the three islands and a great place for a spiritual or quiet break
Right, no castle, no beach. But tranquility, and solitude!!! Just wonderful!
It was too late by the time I
realised my mistake, the ferry had sailed. It didn’t take me too long to realise there was nothing here but rows and rows of stone fences. There wasn’t even any people. After about 45 mins of aimlessly wandering the cobbled roads I found a café. Hallelujah!!! When I asked the lady what it was that I was suppose to be doing here for the next five hours she simply said. “There is no entertainment, just walks and nature”. Umm excuse me? No entertainment!! I didn’t want tranquility or fucking spiritual enlightenment, I wanted to actually do something. Just walks and nature. I could have had walks and nature on the mainland, but no, I came here to the least commercialised island in the history of the world, where there are no castles, no beaches, no entertainment, no people and nothing to do but walk, and I paid for the privilege to do so! To say I was unhappy is a massive understatement. I was ready to wait at the dock and when I got back, jump straight in the car, drive to Dublin and fly straight back to England. It was safe to say, I hated Ireland.
Found a cow
Great, I wasn't the only thing on this island!!
on that island was something I didn’t expect. I decided to go for a bit of a wander, cause as I mentioned, there is nothing else to do. I was grudgingly walking through the empty paddocks when I turned a little corner. It was then I saw the most beautiful sight I had seen so far in my travels. The coast of the island was amazing. The sky had cleared up a lot although it was still cold and the water was crashing against the rocky shoreline. In the distance there was three windmills, keeping time, spinning and spinning and spinning. And the most wonderful thing about it, there was no one else around, I had the place all to myself. I immediately felt calm and for the first time since I landed in Ireland, I was glad that I had come. I spent the afternoon here, sitting, exploring and even found myself dancing over the rocks.
Leaving the island, I have to say, although I wasn’t in love with the place, I was definitely willing to give it another chance.
And rightfully so, the last couple of days have been wonderful. Ireland is spectacularly beautiful. Not just
Are they weeds?
They were pretty though, and they came in a pink variety!
the countryside which is so green, but the cities with their colourful shop fronts and pubs on every corner. Perhaps because my attitude has changed people have been much more receptive too. I have been to see some live Irish music in a traditional Irish pub and met some truly lovely people. I am yet to see a leprechaun though, but I guess I still have a couple of days….
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