I hate Monday.
But I love the weekend. 😉
It doesn’t matter what happens, Monday’s are always terrible. You feel sleepy, hung over from a fun weekend, and getting back into the grind of every-day life is just such a downer. I understand–I’m totally there. My Monday had its ups and downs… little ups, one huge down. I’m ready for Tuesday! But first I thought I’d write a late Monday update of the weekend–which was exponentially better than this Monday has been!
Ireland had an unexpected (at least by me) warm day on Saturday, which was excellent all-around. That was another day that I wasn’t sure how it would turn out–luckily, however, it surprised me by becoming awesome from a shitty start, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. Everyone woke up late on Saturday, resulting in a missed taxi cab and worries about missing our tour bus–yikes! Plus we had plans to spend the night in Galway, so everyone was trying to get dressed, pack, and get down to the gate–it was insanely hectic, but somehow we made it. Big sigh of relief there!
And then, as if to congratulate our success, the day become absolutely beautiful. It was warm and sunny and just a little breezy–the perfect kind of day for driving through the Irish countryside, getting a lot of looks at those stone walls and farm animals and the different colored grass. (Who knew there were so many shades of green?) It was my first time going to the West of Ireland, and I was quite stoked, let me tell you! Dublin is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but when you think Ireland, you tend to think rolling hills and sheep–and I got to see a lot of that along the way.
Yeah, it looks a lot like that. 🙂
Anyway! Our first stop was the Cliffs of Moher. (The Cliffs of Insanity! Yeah, I love that movie.) I was excited for this, mixed with a healthy dose of realistic fear–people have a tendency to fall off, and once I was there, I could understand how! There’s a very old rock wall along a lot of the cliffs to keep people in, but there comes a point where you go forth at your own peril, nothing between you and a very steep drop. And people go out there! Loads of people! I probably would have if it had been only me, but with so many people inching so close to the edge, I just couldn’t do it–the thought of watching someone fall was almost as horrific for me as the thought of falling myself, so I stayed to the walled-in areas and considered my time well spent.
Really though, all danger aside, the cliffs were breathtaking. I imagine they must look formidable even in regular Irish weather, but in the sun they just couldn’t be beat–tiny white seagulls against the stark drop of the cliffs, the changing colors of the water below from blues to greens, the cave that looks like something out of The Goonies… Oh yes, that was a good time. 🙂 My friends seemed most taken with a random dog that was running around, but I think they enjoyed it as well. I was particularly fond of the fact that the shops and stores were built into a nearby hill like Hobbit Holes, but maybe that was just me. (I bought some of that Dark Guinness Chocolate while there which was, in my opinion, the best way to have a Guinness!)
On the way from the Cliffs to Galway we also passed through an area known as The Burren, which was quite fascinating really. For anyone who doesn’t know, it looks like it would be a very craggy lifeless place–a bunch of broken-up rocks, and as an area that’s name in Gaelic meant ‘Barren’, what else would you expect? But apparently that’s not the case at all! The Burren is layers and layers of pure limestone, which is quite susceptible to water, which produces all the crags and crevices. These cracks in the Irish weather are the perfect places for all variety of plants to grow–they said it is the only place on Earth (I think?) where you can find plants native to all corners of the globe growing in one spot!
There’s your little botany lesson for the day. 😀
Galway seemed like such a lively city–It’s a shame I was there for such a short time! Two of my traveling mates and I actually split from the coach in Galway as we intended to visit the Aran Islands the next day. We booked a hostel, which despite the movie and creepy images some people might have, was really quite nice. 🙂 Even the sleeping in the same room with strangers part! (Galway is a pretty big party city, so I was asleep before the other four people in our room even got back!) We ate, wandered, watched some street shows (of which there are many) and poked our heads into shops, but by the time the evening rolled around we were all unanimously too tired to party. (Am I getting old or what?)
The next morning we left for the Aran islands. It takes quite a long time to get there, for anyone who ever plans to go–about an hour from Galway to the ferry station, and then another 45 minutes from the station to the island. The weather that day was less hospitable, and it rained off and on, but the wind was the worst of it–it blew constantly, and within an hour my hair was a tangled, knotted, unsightly mess the likes of which even my hairbrush couldn’t deal with. Still, it wasn’t downright miserable, and I managed to have a good time despite it.
While my friends decided to bike around the island, I’ll admit I’m not much of a bike person–even in the best of weather, which it wasn’t–so I opted to take a bus tour instead. It isn’t that large of an island really, even the largest one, with a population of about 800 and only TWO police! (Or Garda if you’re local.) Everyone knows everyone else, and they all speak Gaelic as their first language–it was a real treat to get to listen to it being spoken fluently, as most Irish don’t really know Gaelic, or they’ve book-learned it, which is different than growing up with it. My tour guide was a lovely man who had grown up on the island, but had a Swedish accent–I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me!
Again I felt like I threw myself into the pits of danger. On the Aran islands you can walk up to a fort. The view is incredible–you can see practically the whole island–but it is very high, another very steep drop, and getting anywhere close is like entering a wind tunnel. You can’t even look over the edge–you have to get down on your belly and crawl to look over that way. I thought my camera would blow away! I courted so much danger this weekend. 😉
After eating at a local pub guarded by a very cranky rooster and browsing through more hand-made sweaters than Carter had little liver pills, the three of us were all more than ready to start our reverse trip back to Dublin. For a while we thought we would end up stranded in Galway–we were due to miss our CityLink to Dublin by about 15 minutes. Instead we made it just in the nick of time, and got to enjoy a nice two-and-a-half hours of shut-eye before dealing with Dublin transit again.
I find it rather insane that Ireland is so small. You can travel pretty much anywhere in four or five hours, whereas back home it takes me twelve hours just to drive from my home to my school–just one state away! Although it makes it much more likely that you’ll see a lot of the country before you leave.
To wrap things up, I managed to get my hands on a package of Twinings random-assorted herbal and fruit teas, and I was so ridiculously excited! Of course I bought them, and took them with me to work–I even mixed them up in the box so that I would be pulling out random flavors. ❤ So far I think my favorite is either the Blackberry or the Blackcurrant one, but there are still two I haven’t tried, so we’ll see.
All that aside, tomorrow is laundry day, and then I’m hoping to go see the new Batman movie, with maybe some Indian food beforehand–my adventures never end. 😉
Céad míle fáilte!