Galway and back to Dublin

Trip Start May 30, 2008
Trip End Nov 02, 2008

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Flag of Ireland  , Western Ireland,
Monday, June 30, 2008

Picked up a hire car today and drove across a whole country in 3 hours! Can't believe that is possible to do...we worked out we'd have made it to about Newcastle or maybe a bit further if we did the same trip in Oz. Got to Galway and the sun was shining. We were pretty knackered, so ate a big pub lunch (Irish stew for me!) and explored the lanes. They were pretty cool, a bit like Brighton but less hippy. We stumbled onto a little afro-carribean music festival and got into the spirit of things.
And I got to see a 'knacker'. I don't know whether this word is derogatory or not. It's to describe gypsy type people - not travellers, just random strange people in Ireland who tend to be dirty and steal things. Anyway, you can see the pictures - they were getting smashed on the ground and eating Pringles off the ground. Nuff said.
We also saw a little rally for equal rights for same sex couples, which was very cute. They had about ten people and used the same chant ("what do we want? Equal rights for same sex couples" - not the catchiest) over and over.
After a shocking night in the hostel (loud music, guy coming in and waking us up at 2am) we headed off to the Aran islands off the west coast of Ireland. We made a few detours to see the beautiful dry stone walls and the Atlantic along the way, but made it in time for the 12pm ferry.
Little did we know how insane that ferry ride would be. It was an hour of being absolutely soaked as that tiny boat rocked sharply from side to side. Luckily neither of us was sea sick, but it was an experience, let me tell you.
We got to inis mor, the largest of the three Aran islands and jumped onto a tour mini bus with Peter, an Inis Morian for his whole life. They speak Irish as their first language and we tried to learn some, but its extremely difficult. Not phonetic at all. Walked up to a 4000 year old fort, Dun Aonghosa, and looked over the huge, amazing and non-fenced cliffs. It was breathtaking. I can't really describe the feeling of lying down, with my face peering over the cliff face into raging waters. Beautiful and terrifying at the same time. We headed back and drove around the 14km island, looking at ancient churches, thatched cottages and more dry stone walls (I couldn't believe there are 7000 miles of them on the island!). Drove back through more spectacular scenery, stopping off at an ancient Abbey on the way.
Back in Dublin, the next day was a beautiful sunny morning (i.e. 1 hour of sunshine, then back to clouds and rain) so I had a hoop in the park. Then off to the Guinness brewery (I checked my hoop into the cloakroom, much to the amusement of the guy on duty). The brewery is intense - like a cross between a museum, shopping centre and a commercial. It's 7 levels of sensory experience - you can touch and smell the barley grain, hear the giant waterfall that cascades through, taste the roasted barley, taste test the Guinness, watch videos, read quotes, hear commentary. It's exhausting. Luckily you get a free pint of Guinness to relax with at the end in the 'altitude bar' - which has a 360 degree view of the city. Was a beautiful day, so I got a really great view as I sipped my stout.
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lind on

aran jumper
I don't suppose you bought your ma an nice aran jumper per chance? It all sounds great x

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