Good craic*

17 Dec


There is lots of craic to be had in Ireland. Especially when you add 11 friends, three hire cars, several pints of Guinness, shamrocks, leprechauns, and two Irish guys with a drawl so thick you really do have to concentrate to take in what they are actually saying. Matt, Jo, Geri, Kristy, Amy, Troy, Suzie, Andrew and I (the Aussie contingent of our weekend in Ireland), plus Trent (our New Zealand rep) flew to the Emerald Isle to celebrate Geri’s birthday. We were later joined by Ben (an English chap) in the early hours of Friday morning. The plan was to arrive in Dublin after our flight on Friday night and then drive down to Cork in the south of Ireland the next day and spend the rest of our weekend exploring whatever we came across.

We picked up our hire cars from Dublin airport – Matt being deeply saddened having been assigned a Ford for the weekend, but he quickly perked up when we came to our car to find a sun roof as a special little feature on our little car. We arrived at our hostel and as a group, decided to head out to see a little more of Dublin in the dark. We ended up at the Temple Bar in a more touristy area of Dublin for a pint or two. Along the way, we came across signs leading to the Leprechaun Museum (something definitely to keep in mind for future trips to Dublin)… our excitement grew immediately! There was a great atmosphere at the Temple Bar and we could have easily spent more time here, but being 3am, we needed to head back to our hostel for some sleep so our drivers could stay awake for the trip to Cork.

We left Dublin at around 9:30am the next day. We headed out of the city and into the country-side, heading south to Cork. Snow covered the ground and became thicker as we headed out of the city. We drove through Killkenny and past road signs leading to Tipperary (it’s a long way to Tipperary, it’s a long way to go!)… ahem… sorry… music distracts me. We saw a lot of the country-side from inside the car, but unfortunately we didn’t get much time to get out and explore. It was nearing dark when we reached the outskirts of Cork and decided to hire the cars for the next day as well so we could use our cars to explore more.

We headed to our hostel for the night and spent some time gathering ourselves before heading downstairs to the hostel bar. Greater atmosphere and more pints of Guinness (when in Ireland) welcomed us. Geri’s Irish friends would be arriving soon from their home town on the south-western side of Ireland, so we filled the time by having a few drinks and playing ‘fuzzy duck’ and ‘viking’ (drinking games) and just general chit-chat about everything in between. Eugene and Damien arrived and so there were 13 of us and we all eventually headed out to dinner (which took us incredibly long to find a restaurant/pub that was cheap enough and empty enough to cater for us!). We sat down after a half hour wait at a bar to an incredible meal and another Guinness, but sleep overcame some of us and Matt and I (plus a couple of others) headed back to rest our weary heads.

After a slight sleep in, we again got ready for another day on the road. First stop was Blarney Castle, famous for the Blarney Stone or Stone of Eloquence. The stone is located on the very top of the dilapidated castle and if you kiss it, you are granted the gift of eloquence. One by one, we sat down with our backs to the stone and, with the help of the kind man whose job it is to assist people do this, took hold of the railings and bent over backwards, face and lips reaching down towards the gaping hole and with seeing nothing but space three stories over the ground, being lowered further down by the man, until, your lips reach the stone and you give it a big smacking kiss. Don’t worry, there are railings to catch you if you slip. This is quite the Irish experience.

Trying not to think about the cooties we may have caught from kissing the stone, we jumped back in our cars and our local Irish tourist guides lead the way to one of the most amazing places on Earth. We drove through little Irish towns until we reached a little town near Ballingeary, surrounded by mountains with a frozen lake at the foot, a little church in the background and nothing but the 13 of us to break the silence. The view was stunning – something I cannot describe in words – you’ll just have to look at the photo on Facebook, and even then, the photo doesn’t compare to being there in person to witness how beautiful this scene was, or more so, is.

We spent time throwing rocks onto the ice, which made an amazing echo with the sound bouncing off the surrounding mountains. We took lots of photos and just stood taking it all in. Our Irish guys then took us down the road to another town where had an incredible pub meal – stuffed roast turkey with all the trimmings – divine! Afterwards, bellies full, we continued on our way until we reached a coastal inlet. From here we got a little off-road – we drove inland again up a massive hill with amazing views. It was like we were driving through paddocks with sheep and fences either side of us. We eventually reached the top and were nearly blown away (literally!) by the wind that met us as we opened the car doors. It was freezing as well, but we endured it for as long as we could to take in the amazing views before jumping back in the cars.

We were losing light, so we had to continue along our way, down the hill, stopping twice more for photos. It was here I was given a pick-me-up in the form of Baileys, courtesy of Amy and Kristy, to get me through the drive home (thanks girls!). We headed towards Killarney, and then along the highway back to Cork. We finished up with a pizza dinner and bed… sweet, sweet bed.

We had limited sleep over the whole weekend, but again, the travellers lifestyle calls for it. Sleep is something you can do without, and with more nights out planned, work Christmas parties and our usual socialising, the festive season is in full swing for us in London! We’re truly looking forward to a sleep in over our short Christmas break in Lille… which will hopefully be a white Christmas for us.

Christmas is only a week away, but we’ll be in touch before that!



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today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

I am the world's oyster

Photography, Aviation, Nature, Culture, Nikon, Canon, Qantas, Airlines, Emirates, Airports, A380, 747


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