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I may have left the best for last....

UNITED KINGDOM | Wednesday, 25 March 2015 | Views [417]

The lovely spot where Laura did a lot of her PhD studies.

The lovely spot where Laura did a lot of her PhD studies.

Let me tell you about the luck of the Irish. They are incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful country. They are lucky that they are all incredibly friendly people. They are lucky their famously cold weather played nice for the entire time or I could have been writing this in less than glowing terms from a hospital hypothermia ward. (Apparently it gets cold enough to require whole wards to treat hypothermia; citation needed) They are lucky I am to starting to run low enough on funds to think about bumping off a rich relative for some inheritance, or otherwise I would definitely extend my stay a lot longer. And they are lucky that guinness is the national drink because I do need to bump off a rich relative after my copious consumption of the black gold almost kickstarted their economy again.

I've insulted a few places with the brevity of my visits, foolishly believing the scant days I spent in incredible cities was enough to get even a vague idea what it was like. 6 days in Ireland being summarised in two journals is almost the biggest insult of all, especially as I spent most of that on a awesome road trip rather than just hanging out in the capital city. That I was driving around (Not me driving obviously as licences are for people that are good at planning) somewhat explains why I wasn't writing as I went along. And the booze. And the leprechauns. The latter appearing after lots of the the former.

After missing Laura in Paris and Barcelona due to the terrible misfortune of her father passing away, there was no way she could avoid me in her home city of Dublin. And after having so many of my plans to see friends fall through, it was a special treat to have my American friend Shane start his UK stay in Dublin at the same time of my arrival. We had worked together in Bowen and Orbost and had chosen to move to Broome together because working in cornfields will compel you to make random, life changing decisions. Laura had also convinced her boyfreind Colin to be our chauffeur, a strange but likeable fellow who often used goat noises to convey numerous ideas and emotions.
Road tripping and back seat kissing!
Day one started like all road trips should, ie. with most of us still drunk from the night before. We hadn't gotten carried away, but seeing dear friends for the first time in 6 years was more than enough reason for a celebratory ale or three, seven, maybe eleven, who knows? Laura stalling the car at the lights and using the pedals like she was kicking a football made me somewhat thankful that once we had picked up Colin, he was more than happy to be the designated driver for the entire trip.

First port of call was a service station for fuel and a business idea that could revolutionise road trip pit stops in any country if some entrepeneur was willing to impliment it. I've already spoken about the wonderful simplicity of a chip butty, a roll stuffed with hot chips. Same principle, but a bain marie full of standard cooked breakfast foods, stuffed into a roll! Somehow stuff a guinness in there and it's the perfect food. Given that Ireland has Guinnessed the shit out of everything, I was just as surprised they hadn't guinnessed a brekkie roll as I was that brekkie roll places are quite common throughout the whole country.

We were heading west and Laura warned that is tantamount to heading through Hell's front gate as far as adverse weather went. Even though it was overcast and cold, it wasn't raining, and was nowhere near as cold as I feared. It was to stay that way for most of the duration too, the last day being one of the sunniest and best days I've had in Europe.

Our first 'tourist attraction' was an castle haunted by an entity known as 'It'. I was somewhat dubious that anything could live up to the name of the freaky clown in Stephen King's book of the same name and the only thing freaky in that castle was the guy who lived there. Seeming somwewhat entrepreneural himself, he let us wander his home and then he regaled us with stories of the hauntings he had no way of proving. Except for the even more crazy lady visiting at the same time who was convinced that the motes of dust floating in the slanting window light was actually an apparition more real than her gullibility.

We headed on to a B & B in Galway run by a nervy and socially awkward lady called Anne who had me temporarily convinced that the Irish might be lovely and all, but they are all batshit crazy. She was nervously strangling a sheet of paper in her hand and had managed to back herself out of our room before even finishing with her introductory speech. Shane's bed making with army trained precision the next morning probably lead Anne to conclude we were pretty weird too with only one single and one double needed to sleep 3 guys and a girl.

The next morning we wandered around the quaint pedestrians alleyways of Galway, where a market furnished my stomach with a savoury crepe whose oily deliciousness negated the need to eat again for the rest of the day, possibly the trip. I acquired some souvenirs and selfies somewhat fearful the coming nights festivities may remove most of my memory of the day.

And the uninspiring Alliwee Caves may have meant that wasn't a bad thing seeing as it was just a long cramped tunnel within some limestone hills that may have looked more impressive if the hillsides colour wasn't identical to the grey skies above. Fortunately crazy Mick was working nearby, being so passionate about his woodcarving and survival skills that by his own confession, he “never clocks out” from his job. His fire starting trick took 6 more attempts than he claimed it would, but lacking the tools or the need to learn such a trick, his showmanship was always going to be more entertaining than educational.
The only impressive thing about the caves
That night we shared a four bed dorm in a hostel in the gorgeous little town of Doolin. That it only had one pub gives you an indication of how small it was. We had dinner there even though the menu made no mention of vegetarian food. Our waiter went to the kitchen to see what could be done for the carnivourously challenged and I was polite enough to accept the offer of a thai curry, lest it end up garnished by the chef's pubic hair. It turned out to be divine, and the couple of pints of stout I had beforehand helped me overlook the possible presence of the chefs signature DNA.

A musical trio entertained the almost packed pub with guitar, accordian and an Irish version of the bagpipes that is played under the arm like someone squeezing fake farts from under their armpit. A young girl of 6 or so danced a jig like she was squashing cockroaches, her arms pinned to her sides as the crowd clapped her on and I felt I was part of real Irish life. The guinness glass getting rapidly lighter beside made me feel like this was quintessential Ireland, and I was thankful for the total immersion in the life and ways of the Irish. It was a great feeling and a night I'll never forget.

I've already forgotten the rest of the night though, as we went back to the hostel and continued to drink in our room while playing uno. Some lady banged on our door to complain about the noise so we considered the tactless way she approached the situation and decided to quieten down and go to bed......three hours later.
The quaint little town of Doolin.

to be continued.....

Tags: doolin, friends, ireland, pubs galway, road trip

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