OFF TO THE LAND OF GUINNESS

So after our adventures in Rome ended and we said our goodbyes, me and Sarah (one of my roommates and best friends in Italy) took off for the land of Guinness and fish and chips-- Ireland. First stop: Dublin. We landed at the Dublin airport super late at night after an interesting ride with an upset customer on Aer Lingus. Y'all, this woman literally complained the entire time and she was sitting right next to me. She was threatening the flight attendants that she would go leave bad reviews for the airline, but once they buttered her up with a few mini bottles of red wine, she was knocked out. And I was happy. Anyways, we landed in Dublin. It was honestly a shock going from the heat of Rome to the perfect weather in Ireland that was actually a little chilly. I instantly regretted sending almost all of my jeans and jackets back home with sendmybag. But the chill was refreshing, and so were the people that (after a month of Italian only) I could actually understand when they spoke to me. Everyone was already so friendly and happy and Sarah and I were happy to be welcomed into this beautiful country. We grabbed out bags and headed to figure out how we would get to our hostel. We ended up waiting on the bus because it was super cheap, found Kinlay hostel, and went to explore the town of Dublin, Ireland. Naturally, we got pizza to eat because it was 2 AM and nothing else was open. But I guess we just couldn't let go of Italian food as well. People were coming off of the town at the pizza place and were having a lot of fun dancing around to (of course) American music. After some greasy, Americanized, but delicious pizza, we decided we would go grab drinks. That night was the night I fell in love with baby Guinness shots. They basically look like a mini Guinness, but they're definitely not full of beer. A baby Guinness is a shot made of Irish liqueur and Bailey's Irish Cream. So, so good. That night was also the night that we realized Guinness tastes 10 million times better in the country it actually comes from. That may have been psychological, but I know that I tried Guinness in America when I got back and it was not up to par. We met some interesting characters that night and got a little taste of Irish nightlife. We knew we picked Ireland for a reason and couldn't wait to explore more the next day. 

The next morning we woke up and found the cutest coffee shop right around the corner and went to explore further. I can't remember the name of the coffee shop because there's so many cafes in Dublin, but it was really close to our hostel, Kinlay, and in the Temple Bar area. We walked around and enjoyed the beautiful city full of eager tourists. We eventually got lunch at a delicious sandwich place called The Woollen Mills where I got the most delicious Irish cider, and then made it over to the Dublin castle as well. We hung out in front of the castle for awhile with an array of different people and then met up with friends from home that happened to be in Dublin at the same time. We all went to visit and experience the Guinness factory where Guinness was originally made. It was really cool to see all of the history behind what seems like such a simple concept (beer). We even got to learn how to properly pour a beer and of course I was pretty terrible at it. We all went to a really cool restaurant called The Old Storehouse Inn for dinner and enjoyed live music and the loud Irish men. It was definitely an experience and my tummy was satisfied with my delicious fish and chips. After filling myself to the brim, literally, Sarah and I went back to the hostel to freshen up and made plans to meet back up with our friends to go roam the town that night. So later on, we went out and enjoyed more baby Guinness, Jameson and Irish people. I almost fought a dude that night because he was screaming about how Americans are stupid, but honestly whats new when visiting a foreign country? That night we met the guy that was staying in our hostel, but honestly I can't remember his name. He was young like us, from Australia, and was on a year-long trip around the world. He had already been to 26 different countries. I thought it was so brave that he just up and left his job and took off to explore the world...and all alone nonetheless. I asked him if he ever got lonely and he said "for sure", so I decided right then and there that if I ever did such a thing (which I hope to), I would want to travel with a buddy. 

The next day, Sarah and I rose early to catch our bus to our next stop: Galway. Of course, we almost missed it. We were so used to buses in Italy always being late that we didn't think twice about actually getting there early, or on time for that matter! But we made it thank goodness and we took off for a new city. That weekend Galway was hosting some huge horse race so everyone was walking around dressed to the nines and what not, which we did not fit in with wearing ripped jeans and no makeup, but oh well. That day, we got to our new hostel which was super nice and fun and filled with people our age. That day, we walked around a bit but made sure to find out how we could visit the famous Cliffs of Moher. We ended up catching the last bust there that day to see the beautiful cliffs. The bus ride was beautiful the entire way and I have never seen so much green in my entire life. The untouched rolling hills of green stock with farm animals and ancient Irish houses were one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. Once we got there, I could not believe that I was seeing what I was seeing. The cliffs were honestly unreal looking. How can something so perfect just form like that? It is crazy. So while we were wrapped up in taking the perfect photo of the cliffs, we didn't realize that our bus was arriving to pick us up. Once again, we were pretty far from where the buses came and just figured that they'd wait on us or be a few minutes late. Nope. As we rounded the corner of one of the cliffs, we saw our bus, the last bus of the day, pulling off. We started running but there was absolutely no way we would catch it so I'm not really sure why we even started running. So that night, we slept on the Cliffs of Moher. Just kidding with you. We actually went into the little shop that was at the cliffs and started trying to figure out who looked nice enough to let us hitch a ride with them out of the middle of nowhere. We made the smart decision to ask one of the men working there and he told us to wait a moment and he would be right back. He came back out shortly and told us that one of the guys who worked there wouldn't mind letting us hitch a ride to the nearest bus station. And when I say "nearest," I mean like an hour and a half away. So, we took the chance and waited on our ride, Patrick, to get off of work. Turns out, Patrick was just the sweetest little old man I've ever met. His Irish accent was so strong though that we could barely understand him, but we still could make out some things. He said he'd lived in the same part of Ireland his entire life and told us about his travels, his family, and the war that he was in. It was so neat to talk to someone with that much history in this magnificent land. Once we got to the train station we bid Patrick adieu and went to try to catch a bus. Eventually, we made it back to Galway.

The next day, we went our next adventure to the Connemara region. On this trip, we got to explore more rolling, foggy hills of Ireland, as well as Kylemore Abbey that was nestled in the middle of all of those hills. Kylemore Abbey was first founded for Benedictine nuns that fled World War I in 1920. The abbey was full of history and also some beautiful gardens nearby. We ate lunch at the cafe near the castle, where we enjoyed traditional Irish sandwiches and stew on the cold and foggy day. Our adventures around the Connemara islands were nothing short of jaw-dropping. It honestly just felt so old and peaceful, and untouched. I thought it was so cool that the lands we drove along were filled with old houses, tons of different livestock, and a few small downtown areas that were all so cute. The lands were definitely extremely different than the city we were in previously. It was nice to breathe in the pure air, close my eyes, and be thankful that I ended up in this place at the perfect time.

Oh my goodness I almost forgot to tell you about the two girls that were in our hostel in Galway! So there were two other girls in our hostel while in Galway. The first one, Sabrina, was a teacher from Northern Italy and she was in Ireland trying to better her English skills. That was so neat because Sarah and I had just been in Italy for a month trying to learn at least a little bit of the Italian language. The other girl in our room was from Northern Ireland and had a very thick accent. She was just visiting Galway for fun that weekend and lucky us, she took us to one of her favorite bars. The whole room was made of bookcases stock full of old books. It was there she introduced us to one of my favorite drinks now: the hot whiskey. Its literally Bush Mills whiskey, super hot water, lemon, and cinnamon or honey if you want. It was just what I need to cure my sore throat from the cold weather change. Best drink ever. Those two girls were a blessing for us, as we got to tell them about America and they told us all about the countries they were from. Nothing could have been better.

We left Galway the next day and made it back to Dublin. That night, we went back to our favorite pub, "The Norseman" because they had live music all night. Sarah and I took our last few shots of baby Guinness, drank our last few hot whiskies, and sang along with the live music all night long. It was the cherry on top of an amazing adventure. But, that was not all for the night. When we got back to our hostel and opened the door, we realized that two very large older men were our hostel mates for the night and they were both passed out with only their boxers on, snoring as loud as freaking lawnmower. It was ridiculous and frankly displeasing. Honestly we were a little scared because they were just a little creepy. So we went downstairs and begged the guy at the front desk to give us a different room. We hadn't touched the sheets yet and at all and there was hardly anyone at the hostel that night from the looks of the luggage storage room. Unfortunately, he was just (not a very nice word) and would not help us out at all. He was super rude and we ended up trying to pass time by hanging out in the lobby. He even told us we couldn't be in there. So, we braced ourselves and both climbed up on the top bunk of one of the beds together because I was too weirded out to sleep on the bottom bunk of my bed. So we laid there for an hour trying to fall asleep with the horse-like snoring and eventually fell asleep for 30 minutes, but then woke up again because we had to leave to catch our planes at 4:30 AM. It was a sleepless night. 

We grabbed our stuff and headed to catch a ride to the Dublin airport. Once we made it there, Sarah walked me to my gate and gave me a hug, us both bawling our eyes out. Our adventures together were over for now...and it had been a month in Italy and four days in Ireland that we would never forget. I waved goodbye to her shedding a tear and hopped on my plane. Next stop: Germany.