Ireland - Donegal Town - Hitchin' a Ride
Jul 10, 2004
|Okay, I'll admit it, I did something in Ireland that I've never done before ... I hitchhiked. Oh oh, I think I just heard a collective gasp of horror from my sisters in Calgary and saw a stern wrinkling of their brows! Don't worry girls, Ireland is probably the only place in the world where you can still safely hitchhike and is in fact a common means of transportation for both locals and tourists. And I only did it once, honest, and it's because I missed my bus yet again and was desperate to get out of "feckin' Glencolmkille"!
It was still lightly raining when I left Dooey Hostel and Mad Mary behind so I had to tread carefully down the hill into the village in an effort not to fall on my feckin' arse (oh oh, it appears that Mad Mary may have been a bad influence!). As a result, I was around 50 paces away from the bus stop when I saw the bus leave town without me. All my waving, hollering and cursing didn't make the driver look in my direction.
So there I was, in Glen village proper, at 10:00AM. The shop wasn't open, the pub wasn't open, and they don't even have a cafe ... in other words, there was no interesting way for me to amuse myself for 5 hours when the next bus was due into town.
I was standing on the side of the road by the bus stop, considering my very limited options, when a local fella walked up and suggested I hitch a ride, assuring me that it's perfectly safe and very common out here in Glen. Since I was otherwise out of options, I reluctantly decided to give it a try.
Hitchhiking goes against everything I've ever been taught. Sane people just don't hitchhike. It's not safe. Especially for a woman travelling alone. But this was Ireland. It was starting to rain harder and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere, so I forced my thumb to boldly rise.
Sure enough, the first car to drive past that wasn't crammed with people skidded to a halt beside me. Man, that was easy! Even still, I felt a bit like a prostitute, leaning in through the passenger window, chatting with the driver, and then getting in the car ... but I was now out of the rain and leaving Glen behind.
Actually, the driver turned out to be a nice respectable fella, now a teacher in Dublin but originally from Glen and back home visiting family for the summer. He was going as far as Killybegs (don't you just love these town names!), around 50 miles from Glen. That was 50 miles in the right direction for me.
By the time we arrived in Killybegs it was raining heavily again, definitely not hitchhiking weather, but this time I at least had a few options for killing time until the next bus arrived, still another 4 hours away.
I didn't really have a final destination in mind that day, having intended to stay in Glen for 2 nights. As it was now getting late in the day, I decided to stay the night in Donegal Town, a bigger centre and bit of a hub for bus connections.
I met a nice couple from Winnipeg, Canada, at the hostel. As a matter of fact, I've met more Canadians and Americans while in Ireland than Irish people. It was a Saturday night, and they dragged me along with them to a local pub for a few pints and to listen to some music. My first taste of traditional Irish music, which was lots of jigs and reels and we had lots of fun.
Thankfully, the disastrous start to my day had an enjoyable ending. They say that bad things happen in 3's right, so this should be the end of my string of missed buses and bad luck ... at least I feckin' hope so!