Irish Heatwave

Trip Start Feb 27, 2012
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Trip End May 19, 2012

Flag of Ireland  , Munster,
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ireland is currently gripped by a "heatwave" although temperatures are not much above 25degC. As far as I'm concerned the weather is absolutely perfect and I hope to make the most of it!

Got up early to drop Sarah off at Dublin Airport in the morning. Ireland's excellent motorways and 120khr speed limits mean that travelling around this small country is a cinch, so I managed to get back to Killkenny by lunch time. We spent much of the day around town, I was exhausted and fell asleep on the lawns outside the castle (which by the way are MASSIVE).

In the late afternoon we hit the road again for Killarney. None of us really knew what to expect but we have been told it is the best looking part of Ireland. When we arrived in the early afternoon I was not at all disappointed - this area is stunning. I hate to always draw comparisons to home but it really does remind me of New Zealand's South Island although unlike NZ it's not in the middle of nowhere - you could still fly to Paris from here in a couple of hours.

The next day we had a very decent sleep in and took the day very slow. The change of pace here is very refreshing, the people here even walk slower around town and this is certainly rubbing off on us. Once we finally got moving we visited Ross Castle and Muckross Abbey, both of which are basically in big parks that you can wonder around in.

In the evening we had quite a big night in town and few too many drinks. The next day was taken at a very slow pace as a result. We did manage to do the Gap of Dunloe which was a big effort. The gap runs through a big valley, the views are spectacular but at about the half way point Anna and I had enough of walking and went back to go grab the car and drive to the end (which your not supposed to do but oh well). The only thing that did spoil the experience was that the area has turned into a bit of a tourist trap - crass horse rides are everywhere and the resulting mess is totally gross.

We had a much more subdued second night but did make friends with a few other back-packers (most of which in Ireland seem to be from the States for some reason!).

Then in the morning we hauled arse back to Dublin to drop off the rental car. On the way we visited Blarney castle where you can pay insane amounts of money to kiss a stone for good luck (to kiss it you have to lean back over a sheer drop, which is pretty scary). The whole thing was a tourist mad house and completely overpriced but luckily, we didn't pay a Euro as we managed to sneak in for free after pretending to be part of a lame guided tour group.

We made a dumb move and booked flights to Spain leaving from Belfast (thinking that Northern Ireland must just be "up the road"). Wrong. 

Though we had booked a night at a backpackers in Dublin we didn't even end up sleeping there. Instead we went out for a few(ish) drinks with Tim and Travis (fellow Topdeckers) who just arrived in Ireland. Town was raging and people were completely losing their shit at Temple Bar. Including some loony who was threatening to jump off a building and had the fire service bring him down on a cherry bucket. That's the Irish for you I guess.

Once town starting closing for the night and we were thoroughly intoxicated we taxied straight to the airport to catch an overland bus - we missed it, and then had to wait at the station in the freezing cold until 4am (must have been like the 12th time that's happened to us on this trip).

Got a few winks of sleep on the way to Belfast then had to sadly say goodbye to Anna. She's been the perfect travel buddy, but sadly she's off to explore Eastern Europe.
 
So that was Ireland. 

Liz and I love this place. The people are friendly (although totally incomprehensible), the scenery is amazing and the culture is the envy of the world. Add Ireland to the "I could live here" list please!
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