Ireland was a whirlwind. Everything happened so fast.
I woke up Monday morning to meet my tour guide, hop on a big green bus with 30ish others, and head out of the city. So much for seeing Dublin. I was stuck sharing a seat with a girl from Austria, and her two friends right behind us. All they did was speak to each other in German.
I was quite bummed for the first day because I was expecting to make friends, to have the week be this crazy adventure, and it didn't start off that way.
Luckily, when we reached Belfast, there were a handful of us that did not want to go to the Titanic experience. We were able to find a local pub and pop in for a drink before meeting up with our group again. In this group was four other girls who were traveling alone, and an older and friendly couple from Texas.
Everything turned from there. Thank goodness. I made friends.
In Belfast, we did the Black Taxi tour, led by men who were involved in the conflict between loyalists and republicans. They took us to some of the famous murals, as well as to the wall that still divides the city. It was very interesting. There is this underlying tension that just exists. People know it's there but people seem to favor the status quo in order to avoid more conflict and death.
That evening, my new friends and I went out to a bar called Filthy McNasty's. We just liked the name.
Day two, we headed from Belfast to Derry. In Derry, I finally found time to do some laundry, but it meant skipping the walking tour of the city. But I met up with everyone for dinner and hanging out at a pub.
More drinking, in case you hadn't guessed.
After Derry we came to Galway. Our guide was very excited for Galway. It's kind of a party town. We had a quick little walking tour (Galway loves John F. Kennedy, even though he wasn't actually from Galway), then ate some dinner. There was a pub crawl we could sign up for. I almost made a smart decision.
Then I didn't. I went. The girl who was leading the pub crawl was fun, but the pubs were just kind of "meh," and the drinks that were included with admission were potentially just shots of sugary fruity drinks without alcohol.
As I was falling asleep that night, I overheard two of my new friends talking about how annoying I was. Hurtful, yes. But ultimately I just decided that was fine. I was going to do my best to enjoy my trip. I didn't engage with them much after that, and they sort of kept to themselves. Fine by me.
Galway gave way to Killarney and the Whiskey Experience. Tasty, to say the least. I learned all about the process of making whiskey and the difference between things like single malt, single pot still, and single grain. Now I can be a pretentious Seattle whiskey drinker too.
We did actually have some free time in Killarney, so I ventured off for a haircut. Did you know that male barbers refuse to cut women's hair? Neither did I. I was shocked. Thankfully, there was a lady barber there who said she would do it for me. Literally, all I needed was clippers to the sides and back. Good grief.
Then we hit the Dingle peninsula, which was beautiful but we basically just drove around. We stayed at a hostel in a town with one street Called Anascaul, and the hostel had an attached bar.
That's when the Irish car bombs happened. I walked over intending to have a small bite to eat, maybe one beer, and then head back to the room for writing and sleeps.
Six car bombs, a Guinness and a glass of wine later, I found myself sucking horribly at pool and breaking the karaoke ice.
Then we woke up, kissed the Blarney Stone, and headed back to Dublin.
That's the week in a nutshell. There were many sights in between, but honestly I don't remember the order they happened in. Maybe when I am back in Seattle I will go through the highlights and share some pictures.
Spending the night in an airport is my nightmare.