See, the thing about Dublin, and this is all a personal perspective, is that it has a small “big city” vibe. Which makes sense because it’s the largest city in Ireland, but I don’t think I’ve ever been a big city guy. At the 2 hostels I stayed at in Dublin, the receptionists there were all int’l ppl doing this for a living/adventure type dealio. And it’s just not quite the same when you’re asking about things, as compared to when you’re being told information by a local.
Now, as I mentioned before, I hadn’t really done a lot of planning wrt this Ireland trip. I knew I wasn’t gonna stay the entire time in Dublin, because there’s so much more to Ireland than just once city. So I spent a good couple of hours hanging out in the hostel room on Saturday trying to plan the rest of my time here in Ireland. When I got in the common room, everyone was in their laptops/phones/headphones what have you, so I claimed a table on my own and had a bunch of maps and tour pamphlets and the like to show to anyone interested, hey, I’m open to exploring and stuff and figuring things out. No takers.
Any who. Hit the Sunday morning train out to Galway, on Ireland’s western coast. The train rolled in, I rolled out of the station, and was met w/ more cats and dogs. Pouring. Went to the Ireland tourism office, but they were closed on a Sunday. Things aren’t going my way.
So I figure, might as well head to the hostel and see if they can help me out. Turns out, the guy’s lived in Galway all his life, and has even done the local tours, enough to recommended company A, over B and C. I ask him about trekking out on my own, and he mentions the countryside is so big, it’s probably cheaper to do a tour than go w/ pub trans to see all there is to see. So I’m sold. And I realize now, he charged me the student price. Sweet. Cheery on top, my room’s ready to go, even though official check in is 2pm, and it was closer to about 10am. So I had the luxury of dropping off most of my luggage before getting on the tour bus. (Guy’s name is Mark, and he works at Galway City Hostel).
Also, this was probably one of the cleanest, nicest, bestest hostels I’ve stayed at. Pics maybe later? But 2 outlets for each bed and a locker too. Very clean restrooms and showers). Apple computers available for your usage (free of charge). Idk. I was pretty happy w/ this place. And the standard Ireland hostel free breakfast consisting of bread, cereal, and coffee/tea. No potato though. Hah.
Cliffs of Moher. Rained most of the time. What’re you gonna do. It’s Ireland. But our bus driver was an awfully cheery optimistic guy. Kept saying, keep smiling, and maybe the liquid sunshine will give way to the golden sunshine. Guy (whose name was Gary), had a lot of interesting tidbits about the trip, Galway, and the surrounding region in general. Learned about various stonewalls and the process of building ’em. Learned about thatch rooms and hey they’re disappearing from the countryside. Stopped at an awesome pub at a place called Doolin, and the pub was called O’Connors. It was raining at him the Cliffs, but still got awesome views. All for €20. And by booking the 2nd tour for the day after, that one was only €16.
At the Cliffs, rain abundantly everywhere, but that just means fewer ppl out and about! There’s supposedly a walking trail from Doolin that passes thru the Cliffs, so that’s cool. There was also muddy pools of slop, so the boots came in handy. High gust winds made it difficult to keep things down (I watched a guy lose a hat to the wind over the Cliffs). One mistake I made was finishing up early, walking to the buses, looking into one, and the bus driver staring back at me shaking his head. I had a mini panic moment, but I eventually found my awesome driver. €10 tip on a €20 trip. He was that good.
Came back, and unbelievably, this was the first hostel I’ve stayed at in Ireland that had a dinner gathering as well as a pub crawl. I met my roommate (Canadian) right before and then found out he’d be doing the dinner thing too. We ended up sitting next to a traveling class of college kids. From a small liberal arts college. In Iowa. Elective class. For photography of Ireland. Iphone shots accepted. Wtf. Lol. 8 college aged girls, me, and my older than I am roommate. Iowa’s kinda a strange place, by the words that I heard that night. Also got a free pint of Guinness for dinner, which helped me wash down a delicious salmon fillet.
While walking to start our lil Pub crawl (or just one bar visit), all the college kids bounced, and my slightly flamboyant (meaning more extroverted than I) roommate found 2 other folks from Canada. Not just that they were Canadian, but they were all pretty much from the same town. Ottawa. I learned that Parliament is there, btw. And learned they’re all bilingual. And then a Parisian girl stepped in. And there was a brief moment of full French conversation. *twiddles thumb* Fat lotta good my high school German and rudimentary Chinese did me there lol. But, yeah, French is a beautiful language. I don’t have the time to learn it, do I? And of course a group of older folks who happen to be from Minnesota (like, the Canadian part of America) chimed in here and there. So I was like, an honorary Canadian for the night (not really, but the other 3 were, so I had to fit in somehow lol).
Two demographic observations. Very few Asians. So I assume ppl don’t know I speak English. Then I speak/talk/question folks, and they chat a bit. Then stop. Rinse repeat. But are more likely to open up to other white ppl. *shrug* At least that’s what I’ve seen on 2 tours now. &. Lots of Germans. Canadians. East coast Americans. And handful of French. Haven’t met anyone from the West Coast yet. Although, it is a lot closer from those places to Ireland than it is for me, and I think it speaks volumes about how seeing the Cliffs was my first time seeing the Atlantic Coast.
Then today was that other tour: Connemara and the likes. There’s a national park, which I wish I could’ve explored. The listed stops here were much less impressive than on the Cliffs tour. Place called Kylemore abbey, which was tame and lame. Had a walled garden, but it’s not the main/titular attraction. Hiking trail, but no time to do it. Hiking up the side of the mountain, but requires a guided chauffeur. Lame. And then our bus driver only told jokes to pass the time rather than telling us much about the tour. (however, one quick joke recap. George Bush in Heaven. Tries to talk to Moses. No response from Moses, three separate time. St. Peter asks Moses why, and Moses replies “last time I talked to a bush, I was stuck in the desert for 40 years! *ba dum tish*) I don’t remember the bus driver’s name though. But. We did stop by and pick up 4 hostel folks (there was a hostel in the middle of nowhere. Hmm). And this one girl had like dreadlocks and bundled it up in a messy fashion. Like true traveler status. That was kinda awesome.
Train-ing back to Dublin. Means time to kill. And wifi. So. There’s this massive update.