The plane I wish I had missed

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November 23rd 2010
Published: November 23rd 2010
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I start writing this blog at the gate of my connection taking me from NYC to Montreal. Two weeks later, I am still looking for my words. We are now in Canada for the next three months, before leaving again in February for another eight months. Going back home after half a year of visiting some of the best sights in the world, walking great trails, admiring some of the better view the world has to offer and meeting amazing people with very different background every day is really hard. Every day, I dream I have missed that flight and that in not too long, I will simple more Guinness. Apparently, all good things comes to an end.

We spend the last month of what I now refer to as the part 1 of our trip, in Ireland. The one that knows me well-enough understand why I picked this country. I am a very urban guy and Ireland is everything, but urban. However, I feel extremely good anywhere in that country. I enjoy the crazy night out in Galway, the great walk surrounded by sheep's in Leenane. The very traditional Doolin, the great tourist vibe of Dublin, the chaos and mad-history of Belfast, the breathtaking walks in Killarney and the great beer of Kilkenny. Ireland has this special thing, this je ne sais quoi that no-other place I have visited has. I could live for a while in the middle of nowhere without missing the city buzz I am normally addicted to.

Well, where to start. Even now I can decide what to talk about and what to keep for me. I guess I should start by the beginning. Well, we land in Dublin from what Ryanair calls Munich-west, so from nowhere city, late in the afternoon. Our train pass expired the next morning, so, we made it as far from Dublin as we could and head directly to my favorite town in the world, Galway. Galway is what Ireland really his. A mix of modernity, tradition, pub scene, music, tourist and beautiful scenery, all this in a very laid-back atmosphere. We slept two nights in town, planning the next month up, having some beers and walking around the causeway.

We then head north to a small town name Leenane in the Connemara. The only problem was that this very beautiful region of Ireland like a lot of the west coast has no public transport service. We finally find a way to and back using a tour bus company that drooped us up in town and pick us up three days later. Something I should precise before keeping on, Leenane consists of five houses, including two of them is also use has the post office. Another thing, the hostel was six kilometers out the town. The hostel was amazing. We had the entire building for ourselves. The only other guess was a great dude name Jonas. We spend most of our time with him hiking the surrounding mountains, walking down the bay and play pool in the common room. There was also two French working at the hostel part-time. When they were not working, they were our private guide. I love that place. Chloe and I spend an afternoon hunting some wild sheep's. She was a bit crazy and asked me for a least 100 sheep's pictures.

After our lovely stay in Leenane, we had to choice from the very limited choice offered to us. We didn't want to go back to Galway for another night, but most of the destination we planned on going next were out of reach that day. Our bus was coming in Galway late. Our other problem was that there was almost no beds available in Galway. we finally made our way to a small town name Ennis with not much expectation. We were really surprised by how nice the town was and how great all the pubs were. The hostel was one of the best I have ever been in. We had free Internet, breakfast, great staff; the night clerk even gave us a lift after his 12 hours shift to the very last town before the cliffs of Moher. We were not planning on going back there, but couldn't resist seeing them on a clear day. We sat on the beach of the town the guy left us and watched the crazy surfers swim for an hour. After a small hitchhike ride to the cliffs, we walked them for three hours. The weather was amazing. We could see all the way to the Aran Islands.

Doolin was our next home, well, for three nights. Doolin is 10 minutes of car away from the cliffs and is probably the traditional music Irish capital. It is also a great starting point to explore the Burrens by bike. We certainly did our share of bike, most of the time as close to the ocean as possible and drank most of our life out each night in my favorite pub by far. A special thanks to Mathis of the Rainbow hostel for all the help, the free bike rental, the great slide show and the amazing discussion we share over some beers.

We then bus our way to Dingle. A very boring, very, but very boring ride. We stayed three days in this, I think a bit overrated town. We walk around the region and take some time off to breathe in some fresh air. I also try to go play golf. Aldo the flags were up and the field was in very good condition, there was no one to rent clubs from. We then visited the amazing town of Killarney. The national park is amazing. We rent a bike and enjoy our smooth pace through the hills and valley of the region and enjoy a picnic watching the small boats come and go on the amazing lake. We also enjoy some nightlife. I got destroyed three times playing pool with a local and learn some Irish dancing move with old dudes. Good time for sure.

The best part was certainly rushing our way back to Dublin to meet up with my pal Seb. It was great to see a friend from home after a long time. We certainly had our share of beer and night excursion in temple bar. The first night at the Porterhouse is a night I will remember for a long time. The showman was incredible. I will also remember those nights spend on the computer listening to the habs in Polish. I am really looking forward to seeing you in February. Hope you enjoy your time as much as I did. We visit for the third time the Guinness storehouse (again for free). We certainly enjoy our Halloween night. I think I still feel the cold through my legs. I was one heck of a freak, dress like Ceasar/half naked at minus 1. I still didn't find any picture of me online...thanks lord!

Our last excursion out of the capital was Kilkenny and Wicklow town. Kilkenny was charming. We love our visit of the Smithwick's brewery and we certainly enjoy the three free pints we down listening to the greatest beer master of the world. I recommend the visit to anyone in Ireland. The tour guide knew more about beer that the French know about their language. We finish our stay in Ireland in a small cottage away from anything in Wicklow town, watching the Irish sea and dreaming about a new life. Not sure about Chloé, but I was for sure.

I love this country and it is a heartbreak to leave it each time. I still ear the sounds of the wave each time I close my eyes.

Write to you all in Februry.

Cheers, Nick

The hostels:

Dublin: The Isaacs: Love this hostel. I think everyone can find a spot in to suit his preferences. My second apartment. Free huge lockers, ping pong table, beer garden, BBQ nights, great staff, wi-fi!

Dublin: Jacobs Inn: Own by the Isaacs, the relocated me there...not a fan at all. Our upgraded room was nice, but this hostel is full of kids, not laid-back at all. Only good thing, the staff!

Wiklow Town: Captain Halpin's Bunkhouse: Nicely owned by a lovely couple. Amazing common room. Good people! The room could be better tho.

Kilkenny: Macgabhainns Backpackers Hostel: Average hostel in a good location. Free Internet, pet lover will like this place. I found it ok.

Killarney: Killarney Railway Hostel: Great location and staff. Cheap too. Good common room. The room are alright.

Dingle: The Rainbow Hostel: Services from and to town everyday. Nice hostel, but full of familly. The staff is not present at all. Free Internet. Cheap.

Doolin: The Rainbow Hostel: Great hostel in a good location. free bike to rent, good people, nice staff, free slide show with someone that knows everything of Ireland. Love it.

Ennis: The Rowlan Tree: Great hostel. Great staff!!!! great kitcheen and child out spot. Free Internet. Decent price. Very modern.

Leenaun: Sleepzone: Great staff, free food, very quiet place. If you like outdoor sport you will love it, if not do not go there.

Galway: Sleepzone: Great location. Free Internet. Good room and great cooking facilities.

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