Posted in Life Abroad, Tips and Tricks, Travel

Let the Good Times Roll

In the wake of finding my new adventure slash team slash life, I had another exciting event coming up to look forward to. IRELAND. Ireland with Casey aka my best red headed friend was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more.

Beer, Irish music, and pork ensued and I could not have been happier. Casey as I’ve mentioned is one of my most hilarious friends, so the weekend guaranteed tons of laughs. She caught me up on her life, I caught her up on mine, all during the process of making new memories.

Dublin wasn’t quite what we expected. Like most other popular European destinations it has become overrun with tour vans, backpackers, and overpriced restaurants. Nonetheless if you search hard enough you’ll find old Irish pubs, friendly locals, and beautiful sights.

The highlight of our stay in Dublin would have to be our visit to The Cobblestone Pub. Although our time there was short (closed an hour after we got there, apparently Casey and I have gotten accustomed to 4am last calls and Irishmen aren’t down for that) it was extremely entertaining watching Casey gawk over a fellow redhead. Okay, okay, before all the Dubliners kill me this wasn’t actually the best part about Dublin just most entertaining. The cobblestone is a tiny pub away from bustling downtown Dublin, a somewhat hidden gem that plays live Irish music “till late” every night. Casey had taken a fancy to one of the bartenders and I had never witnessed her get this shy literally EVER (our close friends and family can vouch for this, her signature dance move is shimmeying through horrified strangers legs). Needless to say I was fully entertained, I also wondered how many times she had paralyzed guys like this one had paralyzed her.

After a few days in Dublin with Darby aka Casey’s little sister aka my little sister, featuring visits to Dublin Castle, Jameson Distillery, Dubh lin Castle Garden and a funny highlight of our sweet little sister ordering shots of bailey’s at a bar (comical), Casey and I ventured off the beaten road (literally). We decided to rent a car and drive cross country to Doolin, Ireland. We would visit the Cliffs of Moher, soak in the charm of western Ireland countryside, take a short stop in Galway and head back to Dublin for our last night in Ireland.

Our adventure started when we tried to find the car rental place. It was literally so far from the airport and hidden, like they don’t want our business hidden. A man smoking outside had to point us in the right direction and had done the same for the couple ahead of us. Upon arrival I told them they need to start paying that man, which they made no reply to. Once we got settled into our little Ford Focus we were off for adventure.

Being the smart Texan women we are we got a GPS aka Helen in our car and set off to Doolin. The only problem was that Helen wanted us to take a route we didn’t want to take. After thinking I outsmarted her we made it through the yelling about wrong turns and began to follow her instructions once again. Little did we know she was just guiding us through a U-turn back to the highway we didn’t want to take. But being the two strong willed Texan women we are we u-turned again only to be stopped in bumper to bumper traffic for about an hour. Casey aka Helen’s new best friend mentioned that maybe the traffic is why Helen aka the GPS from hell, was telling us to go the other way, I chose to believe that both Helen and Casey were delusional.

3 u-turns, 5 roundabouts, and 2 ice cream bars later we were on our way. 3 hours of smooth sailing and good music ensued. Such good music and smooth sailing that we missed the one turn we were supposed to make. Luckily, we had Helen to reroute us and give us a new road to venture down is what I wish I could have said. Helen made us turn on a road that was more like a West Texas backcountry road, I’m talking Potosi tiny West Texas town this is actually someone’s backyard I’m driving through kinda road. The terror that occurred for the next hour is something I don’t wish upon anyone. Have I mentioned that we were driving on the other side of the road on the other side of the car and that my driver aka Casey aka Tahoe Casey aka HORRIFYING DRIVER was behind the wheel?

After driving down this tiny dirt road for about 1 hour I realize that the window to check in to the hotel was rapidly closing. Our hostel had a reception closing time of 830, having left Dublin around 330 for the trip we thought we would make it in plenty of time but after the uturns and the roundabouts and the ice creams time was not on our side. Casey, as terrifying as it may be, put the pedal to the metal and we made it to the hostel with 2 minutes to spare.

After checking in we made a quick turnaround and headed straight for the Cliffs of Moher to catch the sunset. After hours is the time to go, no packs of crowds, no long lines for pictures, so much peace and quiet (aside from two annoying girls from Texas…) and so much space. Beautiful. The Cliffs have officially made it on my “top 5 God’s most beautiful creations that I have ever seen” list. Getting to be on the top of that cliff, with one of my oldest and dearest best friends is a memory I will cherish and hold forever.

The journey back was a lot less nerve wrecking as our stop in Galway was absolutely charming plus we made no wrong turns giving us plenty of time to spare before returning the car. If there was a place to visit in Ireland for an expected “authentic” experience it would definitely be the western coast. In Galway we walked along the pedestrian street filled with street performers and old pubs, stopped for a drink and lunch, and popped in and out of the souvenir shops and clothing stores, it was exactly what we wanted.

Upon arriving back in Dublin the adventure didn’t stop. We had run fresh out of euro and couldn’t pay the bus fair which meant renting a taxi and having him stop at an ATM on the way. Good news is he was Nigerian (shoutout),super friendly, and extremely nice. Even better news the new hostel we booked for our last night was the bomb. If you ever find yourself making a trip to Dublin stay at the Generator Hostel, for real.

In IJ & Casey style we made a grand entrance into the hostel. All the rooms we booked we decided to do mixed dorms to save the most amount of money but with bathrooms in the room, we aren’t complete barbarians. In the previous dorms we had always been abruptly woken up at odd hours by new roommates and snuck around precariously to avoid disturbing others.

This time was different. We came into the room and the lights were off, someone was napping. We were, first off, talking as we walked in, then upon realizing someone was sleeping we apologized to others in their group, then the door slammed behind me, we apologized more. We were both horrified, half laughing half feeling bad, Casey then goes to the bathroom and accidentally switches on the dorm light rather than the bathroom light. Icing on the cake. We were officially the worst roommates ever. Thankfully the guys didn’t think so and we ended up meeting them for drinks later and entirely too many rounds of the “what are the odds” game.

All in all Ireland was delightful. I’m extremely happy to cross another destination off of my ever growing list of places to see in this big beautiful world. Getting to take these trips with lifelong friends just makes them that much sweeter.

Up next is my trip to Asia coming up in 1 week?!?! I know, shocking, time flies when I suck at writing once a week. I also have the most exciting news in the whole entire world…momma I’m coming home. Originally I was planning on making it home for Christmas this year but when that wasn’t a possibility with my new teams schedule I was staring at spending possibly a year and a half without stepping on Texas soil. I’m sad to be sacrificing time with my new Danish peeps but am so happy to be able to go home and eat tacos. Jk see family and friends and play in spike fest (huge outdoor grass tournament) and eat tacos.

Until næste uge (next week), ever Wanderlusting,

IJ

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