A Wee Bit of Ireland (Part I)
Okay, mo chuisle*°, here’s a wee bit o’ Ireland!
*mo chuisle = a phrase I learned from a Mr. OOOOOO’Sullivan**
**emphasis added on “O” so as not to be confused with Sullivan, who would be British and not Irish (!)
° I don’t actually know what it means, but I imagine it’s something similar to “my darling”
So, I mentioned that the trip began a day late. This pushed back our idealized schedule by a day, but thankfully we visited during the summer solstice, meaning there was daylight from 4:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. This gave us a lot of opportunity to cram as much as humanly (and perhaps even superhumanly) possible into our days. In fact, by the morning of our second day in Ireland, we had already lost track of how long we’d been there. (“Wait, when did we do that?” Yesterday. “But…when did we fly in?” Yesterday. *faints*)
I’m going to begin by saying you can find all of the Ireland pictures here. I will only upload a few favorites onto my blog, so feel free to peruse the Shutterfly bunch.
Now, Taryn and I share these things in common:
1. We are people of goals.
2. We can’t make decisions.
3. We have an inordinate fondness for self-inflicted torture (in the form of 6:30 a.m. jogs).
4. We can’t say no to a good Toblerone cake…or fudge…or merengue…
5. We enjoy nature, whiskey, and Irish accents.
Some of our goals for the trip included:
- See Northern Ireland.
a. Find an Irish pub
- See Galway.
b. Find an Irish pub.
- See Ring of Kerry.
c. Find an Irish pub
- Get to Dublin by Friday to rendezvous with friends.
d. Find an Irish pub
Clearly, we had priorities. But the idea of being around Irish locals with authentic music and dancing was so enticing that anytime someone mentioned live music, our ears perked up and we gave each other the “let’s go, despite only getting four hours of sleep for the last four days” crazy eyes.
[I will devote another blog to Irish pubs and to the worst/best day in Ireland, but first I’d like to include some scenic pictures as an ode to my aunt who has been patiently waiting to see them.]
I mentioned that Taryn and I enjoy the outdoors and self-inflicted torture, so it only makes sense that our first day in Ireland, after driving 265 kilometers (three hours) from Dublin to the northern coast of Northern Ireland (‘ello govnah! Glad ee kept me quid!), we hiked Giant’s Causeway and the Cerrick-a-Rede bridge for at least four hours.***
***it must be noted that I believe Taryn is blessed with the Luck of the Irish. The weather would be overcast and raining, but as soon as we stepped foot outside, the precipitation halted. I’m convinced that it was her family line that enabled us have great weather whenever we were on an outdoor trek, which led to an overall successful and super-awesome adventure, because she comes from a long line of Irish folk. In fact, we learned in Dublin that her surname comes from an Irish line whose motto is “Que serah serah,” meaning “what will be will be.”
As a comparison, the Currier name comes from northern England—the Yorkshire area—and our motto is “Merite,” which translates to “merit” but sounds more like the Latin root of a curse word that more accurately describes the Luck of the Curriers.
Travel tip from Day 1: Always take the high road.
I mean this both figuratively and literally.
At Giant’s Causeway, there are three walking trails labeled by color: the red, the blue, and the yellow. The blue is the low trail and meanders along the seaside; the red and yellow are the high road. The high road is less traveled (Frost must have taken it); it extends for miles, and it provides absolutely stunning views. Every third word out of Taryn’s or my mouth was “wow!” That could also be because we were partially blinded by chlorophyll-produced coloration—“green,” I believe they call it—that we were not used to seeing coming from the desert.
Here are a few shots from the high road of the Causeway:
[There maaaay have been an incident where someone, not pointing fingers (Taryn), was convinced that we were looking out over a lake and not an ocean. It wasn’t until later that night when we referred to a map, much like the one above, that we saw how far we’d driven and realized it was, indeed, the ocean.]
We returned via the low road, and while I got a couple good shots…
…most of the views were less “wow”-inducing and filled with strange people.
And let’s not talk about the two girls who sat on the rock that was shaped like a boot (the “Giant’s boot,” if we’re being technical), who took pictures and then just continued to sit there and check their phones.
I’m sorry, am I disturbing your Facebook-status-updating time? Do you think that maybe we could we ALL get a chance to take a photo without you obstructing the boot so that it otherwise just looks like a big, black rock? No? Gr8, k thx.
From there we headed back east (we did sort of an east-west/east-west pattern, excluding the four u-turns we made in an effort to find a non-existent gas station) to Carrick-a-Rede bridge, which looks like this from a distance:
The entrance to this landmark also cost money, and after Taryn and I bought our tickets, I pointed out how easy it would have been to sneak in through a back gate (clearly I am the guiding moral compass of the two of us). However, I was not trying to be dishonest; I was just trying to point out the need for a better security system…to protect honest people like us from looking like a sorry sack of losers while the clever people get through for free.
Turns out that there was a person checking for tickets at the bridge itself, so the dishonest people would be uncovered, embarrassed, and banned from crossing the bridge! Justice prevails! Thus, for the second time in one afternoon, we were glad we took the “high” road.