Perfect Weekend Adventure to Doolin
Sep 18, 2009
|**Once again i apologize in advance for the poor writing in here. There is just so much i want to write down that i’m kind of going with a stream of consciousness and it’s not very eloquent... but i hope you enjoy anyway :) **
So i pretty much had the perfect weekend. But i’ll start with the week i guess lol.
This week was pretty uneventful. We got to go and try out all the classes we wanted to take and figure out our schedules and all that. I turned in my register today and am officially taking: Comparative European Politics, Irish Folklore, Irish Language (Gaelic), and Ireland 1750-1850. A lot of those classes are predominantly study abroad students as well, but they should be a good schedule :) Irish Lingo is really hard, but for a few of the classes we learn about the history of the language which is so interesting. Today (9/17) we started to learn about this book that they wrote as their country’s legend and history, they have some crazy legends and stories. That is the kind of thing that i absolutely love so i’m really enjoying that class. And right now in folklore we are learning about the Merry Wake, and those old Irish did some crazy ass things at funerals! So i think these classes are turning out well so far :)
For the most part on school nights we just go to our respective classes and are in and out of the house during the day. Some nights I cook dinner for who ever is around, some nights we go out (maybe 2-3 nights out of a week), but we do have a lot of nights in too. So I’m not going too crazy haha.
The past four days we’ve had incredible weather, it’s been sunny and beautiful every day... which never happens, so we’ve been trying to enjoy it as much as we can (especially because it looks like it’s never going to happen again, even the Irish are shocked by this sunniness)
I got a bike used bike for 70 euro and they will buy it back at the end of the semester for fifty precent or more which is awesome, especially because it’s a ten minute walk to campus from my house, but apparently there is also a really nice trail down by the Shannon too. We actually walk a ton here. We walk to and from campus and then to get anything its a 25-40 min walk to the stores (depending on which one you go to).
Okay, enough of the regular boring week stuff, let me start on my amazing perfect weekend. So early this week this girl Emily (who’s from U Pen with Nico and met Miranda before) came over and said she was thinking of going on a weekend trip and so we decided to make it happen. We booked a hostel looked up bus tickets, and planned to go to Doolin and stay Friday and Saturday nights and leave late Sunday.
So we were all ready to go Fri afternoon and were planing on catching the bus into the Limerick bus city. But apparently the Limerick buses are incredibly unreliable so we waited for ever and the city bus didn’t show so eventually we tried to take a cab, and he said we wouldn’t make it in time, so we didn’t want to pay cab fair to go all the way there for nothing. So eventually we ended up taking a bus into the bus station later (we knew it was too late to catch the bus) and asked about bus times for the next morning. We walked around town a little and headed back to the house in defeat for the night. But we got up early the next day and caught the bus to Doolin no problem and this is where the perfect weekend starts.
We got to the Rainbow Hostel (which is a really nice hostel, super clean and friendly) and put our stuff down and went to get some food. We walked around Doolin a bit and it is a cute little tourist town with pubs, B&Bs, and a couple shops and restaurants surrounded by beautiful Irish country side and farms. I had some traditional Irish stew for lunch (because i was feeling the whole Irish vibe haha). After lunch we went back to the hostel and they let us use bikes for the day to get to the Cliffs of Moher (pronounced moore). So we biked along the Irish countryside (which is exactly what you think of when you think of Ireland, rolling green fields, cows, farms, and the ocean.... except it was way sunnier than you would normally expect of Ireland lol), and although some of the driving was a bit scary (they’re on the other side of the car and the road and drive like crazy people) and the ride was mostly up hill, we had a great ride; it was beautiful and scenic the whole way. (My file size is too big to post the pictures on here but i have them all posted on facebook, you should really check them out)
We got to the cliffs and they are truly breath taking, honestly one of the most amazing places i have ever been. We walked along the paved tourist area and took all the pictures and all that (there is a tower on one end that they will charge you 2 euro to go up... don’t worry we didn’t waste our money lol but that area is full of people from all over the world). Then if you go to the left you can walk out past the developed area and keep walking along the cliffs (even though there is a sign that say don’t go beyond this point, everyone does). We kept walking along the cliffside and it kept getting more and more amazing. I couldn’t put my camera down. We were followed by swarms of gnats though. It was bizarre, they literally formed clouds around everyone’s head and you could just hit hand-fulls of them away. We soldier on, but kept stopping every few minutes to just sit down and take it all in (I brought my iPod and played my favorite epic Irish song the whole time which really added to the experience hehe). The further out we got the fewer people there were. It was actually kind of crazy to look back and see where we were sitting a couple minutes earlier and how incredibly close to the edge it was but you had no idea at the time. It’s hard to comprehend how high up you really are, the experience is almost surreal. The awesomeness (literally awe inspiring) of it is hard to truly take in.
Eventually we made it all the way to the end of cliffs (well actually once we got there we realized that we just got the farthest point that we could see the whole time, when we were actually there we saw that it just kept going, but we were satisfied by making it to the farthest visible point) and there was an ancient castle tower thing there. We found out later that it comes from Napoleonic times when the English were in control of Ireland and afraid of an attack from Napoleon so they built these towers as signal towers. By the time we got to the end we were the only people left there, it’s a pretty far walk and not many people make it all the way to the end. It was actually pretty rewarding to look back and see how far we had just come. It took us around an hour and a half to walk all the way out because we kept stopping to take pictures and take it all in. Since we didn’t stop as much on the way back we made it in about 45 mins. Then it was back to the bikes to ride back to Doolin.
It was mostly down hill on the way home so we took a less popular road that was the “scenic route” (I put quotes around that because everything in that area is scenic you don’t need a special route for it haha). We passed a bunch of ruins and such that must have been hundreds, if not thousands, of years old, and were just sitting in the middle of farms and homes and that kind of thing. Stuff like that would be protected and made into an attraction in the US but is just chilling in the country side in Ireland.
We got back, changed, and headed to the closest (and guide book recommended hah) pub for dinner. It is the kind of pub that all American Irish Pubs try to be, and it was ligit. We had to wait a while for food, but it was really good. They play live traditional Irish music every night at 9:30 so we had to move from our table when we were done so the band could go there. Nico and Emily didn’t want to sit around and wait (because there was no where else to sit) so they headed back to the hostel and said they’d come back around ten (they never actually did but whatever) but Miranda and I bellied up to the bar and ordered two pints of Guiness. :) Eventually the pub filled up and it was just us, old guys, cougars, and the band. We were totally chatting it up with some old Irish guys which was pretty hilarious. With the traditional Irish music in the background, sitting in a pub with Guiness in hand, Miranda and I decided that it was about as Irish of an experience as we would get in our whole time in Ireland. It was so much fun :D
The next day we were lucky enough to run into the hostel owner, Mattie, who offered to drive us where we wanted to go (first we went and shopped around in the little town, and then we went back and met Mattie actually... just to be accurate haha sorry i’m dithering). He took us out to an old cemetery that we wanted to check out and gave us some amazing insight. His own grandmother was actually buried there. Then we went out to the Burren and he told us all about the local history and ecology of the area which was fascinating. He knew so much and told us so many cool things that we would have never know if we just went exploring on our own. He even knew about the ancient shifting of the contents and that kind of thing so he told us about the reasons why there are some arctic plants growing right next to Mediterranean ones. Also, we found out that mounds of earth that we would have thought nothing of were actually stone age forts and houses, he even showed us an underground storage area. Apparently he take people from the hostel on walks there every night. Such a cool guy.
Then he left us off to hike along the coast line and pick us up a little further along at the ferry station. So we hiked along and climbed all over all sorts of different walks and even had an encounter with some cattle hehe. (once again check out the pictures on facebook, there is really no use in me describing them, the pictures say it all :P) But pretty much it was an amazing walk and we covered so many different and extraordinary thing and rocks and sights that i never expected to see.
Once he picked us up he dropped us off a little bit in front of the cliffs and we hiked along the side of the cliffs that you can’t get to from the tourist area, the right side. Once again looking back at pictures it is kind of scary how close we were to the edge at times, but we made it and got a different and unique view of the cliffs (that involved some serious vertical hiking, but was totally worth it). Both days were beautiful and sunny (and i looked like a total tool the second day in my shorts and red converse sneakers, but whatever, i was comfortable hehe) (Also, sorry i’m getting a little less descriptive, i realize that it is taking me way to long to write all of this and i’m about to have another weekend excursion so i want to get all this down before i go).
We took a bus home after hanging out at the cliffs some more and went home. So it was defiantly one of the more incredible weekends of my life. I absolutely love Nico, Emily, and Miranda. We all got along really well and traveled well together. I am making some great friendships and having some unbelievable experiences. I never really thought i would be out going on my own adventures like this, but i am loving the independance and unique experiences that i get to have.... Pretty much i love it here haha.
I’ll try to write more often so i don’t end up rushing the end like this. Sorry and thank you to everyone who is actually taking the time to read this, i know the structure and actual writing is painful to read and i have a tendency to ramble unneccesarily (like now lol)... but hopefully it’s worth while.
Love you all!
P.s. If you want a more well written account of what has been happening (minus my dithering input and disjointed thought process) my housemate Nico has a blog you can check out too. It’s really well written and he does a great job :)
p.s.s. Would you leave a message or something if you're reading this so i know if it's worthy my while to keep writing it? Thank!!!