Not sure I even really want to post about our trip – It was pretty much out on Facebook as Ireland had great wi-fi – The photos are all online and have mostly been shared – I have been in a bit of a writing rut lately wanting shorter more twitter style posts – But here goes anyway
Since I have known about Ireland I have always wanted to go there. When I was finally old enough to make the trip happen the cost was always way to much for me. Airfare ran so high to get to Europe that I just could not justify it. A few months ago while surfing the web I came across some affordable flights going in to Shannon Airport. We booked, made plans, then traveled.
We had 3 goals in Ireland
- Visit friends
- . Run in 2 mountain races
- Drink beer in local pubs with live music
#3 Was easily accomplished. Why not the other 2?
Our car broke down. Not even 5 minutes from the airport.
This is how our adventure in Ireland took shape. We had no options at this point as the car rental tried to make me sign an agreement that I would pay for the “damages”. I refused, and thus a hold was put on our card and no more rentals would be happening. (I did challenge the charge and Capitol One was amazing about it)
Pretty pissed, and unsure of what to do next, we got our bags out of the car and walked back to the airport lobby – Grabbed a beer at the bar and figure out what to do next.
We decided we would pretty much wing it from there on out. It was stressful but we ended up hopping on a bus outside of the airport to a little hotel in Shannon – Drank more beer and then decided what to do the next day.
This is how are trip went. Look at a bus schedule. Get to a new town/city. Go to the tourist center for a map and some questions. Book a place to stay online. Drop bags (if we could) and the explore the city on foot.
We covered well over 100 miles of walking. It was probably the best way to see a new place. Driving would have been insane, and bus tours are nothing but $$$ So we walked.
Here is what we learned.
- Everyone says “that’s the way to travel” When they heard our story. It’s really not though. Sometimes we stayed in stupid places (Waterford was our least favorite) and sometimes we ended up in amazing places (Letterfrack was like this). Not having the time or the means to do real research was limiting and we would sometimes think “damnit we should have done THAT.” Traveling by bus would be AMAZING if you had it planned out a bit more (and packed for that concept)
- We still think we saw so much more than any tour bus could show you.
- Irish roads are silly – The car breakdown was probably a blessing. There are no street signs so maps are really pointless. I mean this. There are like almost zero street signs. Most of the signs were for things/places. Not streets.
- Directions were given the same way. Go up to the cathedral, make a right, look for the pub make a left…. People, this is Ireland – Pubs and Cathedrals everywhere…. get some damn street signs.
- Cities in Ireland are the same as cities in the states. Just older. Honestly in the cities nothing was different. Of all of the cities Cork was my favorite (but we were just passing through) – Waterford the least.
- Pack less than you think you need. For me the only thing I would cut back on would be electronics. I didn’t pack much to begin with. I would not have brought the tablet or my nice camera. I didn’t have a lot of space in my one pack, and I constantly worried about these items in bad weather – Thank God we didn’t have a suitcase to lug around all these towns after the car breakdown. Not having a lot of stuff allowed us to be mobile, avoid checked luggage, and really focus on whats important during our travel days.
- Speaking of stuff…..traveling like this shows just how little you REALLY need to get by with. Time to purge.
- Walking 100+ miles and gaining weight – – the food and the beer was so good.
- Meeting new people is super fun, but you can only tell your own story so many times before your like “buffalo – new york, bus pass, backpack, beer please.. and you?”
- My travel partner is the best – Seriously. Shme is a major planner, and while I was content with “let’s go to this city” Shme made sure we picked the best cities for us… except Waterford. Go away Waterford. She was glued to her map and phone each night looking for the next town and the best bus to take there.
- The English were lame – For sure. They probably like Waterford.
- My family has a castle – My only regret is not taking it back. http://www.redwoodcastleireland.com/
Photo links below. We have not really gone through these yet – There are a lot of waste and junk photos for sure.
Arrival, Shannon, Limerick – https://goo.gl/photos/3DuhDhqbVrESubQX7
Killarney – https://goo.gl/photos/aBA3b3ofXXx1gSRz5
Cork Waterford – https://goo.gl/photos/WUBpcFyMNqgrxTNJ9
Kilkenny – https://goo.gl/photos/LJkXnyDMrQcaUsHr7
Cliffs and Ennis – https://goo.gl/photos/dEsyTtURKkLyBxwY7