Two days after arriving back in London from Spring Break, the exact same gang was back on a flight headed to Ireland to celebrate a long St Patrick’s Day weekend. We landed in Shannon without a hitch and picked up our rental car to head to Limerick. It was so strange driving on the opposite side of the road, but Garrett did really well as our solo driver for the weekend. We arrived at our Airbnb in Limerick and met Tom, the sweetest guy with the thickest Irish accent. He made sure that we had settled in and we got some sleep.
The next morning after breakfast, we headed into Limerick to scout out a place for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The parade was probably the most boring that I’ve ever seen… It was mostly Search and Rescue teams, and groups of children that I would assume are the Irish equivalent of Boy/Girl Scouts. The saving grace was this dog in the beginning that was trotting along the parade route like we had all gathered for him. And there were also these crazily dressed guys on unicycles that were just bopping along making fun of cops and generally having a good time. Eventually we ditched the parade and headed to a pub for a pint–I had my first pint of Guinness.
Afterwards we spent some time at King John’s Castle which was cool, because they taught you all about the history in a museum, and then let you out into the castle to wander. After that we walked around the People’s Park for awhile, and then just drove around Limerick. It was so nice having a car because we could just drive around and pick random things in the city to see. We determined that Mike is no longer allowed to pick where we go, because he picked King’s Island–which sounds nice, right? Wrong. It was by far the sketchiest part of town. But we did get to pet a dog.. So I guess it wasn’t so terrible.
That night we had dinner at a place called The Locke, where I had a beer in the coolest pint glass I’ve seen yet. We shared Bailey’s cheesecake for dessert, which was phenomenal, and laughed at how many people were already drunk at 8pm on a Thursday (people had to go to work on Friday…). The Irish do indeed go hard on St. Patrick’s Day. Then we headed back to the house to get some sleep before setting out early the next morning.
Tom stopped by in the morning to make sure we were doing okay (sweetest guy ever). Then we set off to the Blarney Castle. After exploring the castle we all kissed the Blarney Stone (it’s not gross if you don’t think about 500 years worth of lips before your own…). After wandering around the grounds for a bit we had lunch and set off to Cobh to see the coast. We walked around Cobh and saw yet another Gothic style cathedral. As many as I’ve seen on this trip, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of them because they are just astounding. I don’t understand how something that beautiful was built so long ago. We split a pizza to hold us over until we stopped at Dino’s (a popular Irish fast food chain) for dinner.
We then drove to our Airbnb near the Cliffs of Moher. Or at least we tried to. We got ridiculously lost in the Irish countryside following the cryptic instructions that the owner gave us. So we eventually had to call the owner at 1 in the morning to get us there. Once we finally got to the house, we couldn’t figure out how to get the heat working, or the wifi, so we spent the night trying not to freeze to death.
The next day (still with no heat) we made breakfast and found a shop down the road to call the Airbnb owner and beg him to do something about the heat. He apologized profusely, and immediately dropped what he was doing to come fix the heating (we’ve really lucked out with Airbnb owners). While he was doing that, we headed to the Cliffs of Moher to walk around and marvel at their beauty (also to possibly peer over the edge, which was the most terrifying moment of my life).
We then drove to Doolin and parked along the road and wandered down to the ocean, making friends with cows along the way. We sat and watched the sun set for awhile before going to a pub for coffee and Bailey’s (why has this not been in my life until now…?). We drove back to the Airbnb to hang out and make dinner. We found that Richard (the Airbnb owner) had left us a bottle of wine in apology, and that the heat was fixed, so we sat by the fire drinking wine and hanging out. After dinner we decided to stay in, so we sat by the fire and hung out. The house was so cozy and relaxing–it was absolutely great.
The next day we packed up our stuff and left to take a ferry to Inis Oirr, one of the Aran Islands. We just barely made the ferry after buying a ticket, and we were on our way. Immediately after getting off the boat we saw a dolphin, which was pretty cool. We then ate at one of the only two places on the island that was open, and then hiked around the island and saw a cool graveyard, a beach, lots of cows and stone fences, and a shipwreck. After walking around for a few hours we stopped and got coffee and Bailey’s cheesecake at a cafe on the island (the other place open..). After devouring the best cheesecake I think I’ve ever had, we walked back to the ferry and caught it back. We then made the drive back to Shannon to return the rental car and catch our flight. We made it back to campus, pretty much without a hitch.
Home sweet home, ❤