From December 26th-January 11th, I was traveling all over Ireland. And it was fun as hell.
I went with a Global Awareness trip that was studying Irish Literature and Film. It was a sort of last minute decision, spots opening up and the price becoming cheaper, and I was petrified. This was to be the first trip I’ve made outside of the country since I was 5 and the second plane ride I can ever remember. We all met at the gate and sat around to read our journals the class professors had prepared for us(there were about 20 of us going) and I wanted to cry. Because it was then that I realized: I hate flying.
Of course I hate flying. Of course it had to be on a trip where about a full day was dedicated to flying to the country and subsequently flying back from said country. I got barely any sleep, and that was due to this fear that I would get water retention in my feet (BECAUSE THAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME ONE TIME), and! AND! Airport-freakin-security decided to personally confuse, scare, or diminutize my belongings and body. I hate flying
But, past all of that, we had an amazing tour guide. His name is Dave, and he runs Dave Yeates tours(go look him up I highly recommend it, I’m gonna book him for when I go back) and He easily made this trip. We stayed for 16 nights and travelled all around the coast starting in Dublin, meandering up to Londonderry/Derry (via Silgo) and flew back out from Dublin. The reason for the two names(Derry/Londonderry) is because the Protestants and Catholics have not had the best relationship in Ireland. And thats putting it lightly. This was the town where Bloody Sunday happened, and you the effect of it is so strong you would’ve thought it happened yesterday. In the grand scheme of things, it pretty much did. Its not hard to find someone who’s brother/cousin/friend was killed, if not injured, or even there themselves that day. The conflict is so relevant, that even on official government buildings, some say ‘Derry’ some say ‘Londonderry’. The sign stating ‘This is Free Derry’ looks like it was painted last week. It was an incredibly real experience being in that town and hearing that history and seeing still so alive.
On a brighter note, we had NewYears in Galway and THAT is a whole other story. Just know that the drinking age in Ireland is 18. So.
Ok, look, to stop my rambling and get to the point,I’ll spare you the uninteresting details and give you the highlights of the trip:
Favorite Day: Derry/Londonderry.(See above)
Belfast. We ended up having a story for the ages. Our last night in Dublin.(See below)
Favorite Pub: The Grand in Galway. This was NewYears eve.
Favorite Shop: The Connemara Marble shop. all the jewelry there was mined about 40 miles away and made in the back. I bought a pair of earrings there and promptly lost one 3 weeks later.
Favorite Restaurant: Probably the cafe at the Hill of Tara. Great food.
Takeaway from the trip:
-no bar/pub/laundromat ever has a website with hours on google maps
-make sure you get to the pub before 9
– The sweater shop is worth it
– Budget budget budget
– Take Me Out is the best worst show ever
– You can only find headphones at gas stations
– One can never have enough green, y’know?
Our last night out, we all ate a local pub/restaurant/dining hall/magical land and was given a performance by the talented people at The Merry Ploughboy Pub. Great food and great people made the night. We all pile onto the bus, headed home, But oh no. Dave has other ideas. He pulls out a disco ball. Thats right friends, Dave the tour guide became Dave the Disco Man, here for all of your disco needs. Including, but not limited to: Spice Girls, Beyonce, Britney Spears, and! The Chicken Dance. The last one includes the backdrop of the streets of Dublin and strangers passing by.
Point is, I hate flying, but I loved Ireland. And everyone should go.
Happy Traveling! And go see Dave!