(Old) Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

(Originally posted on March 17, 2012)

Day 1: Travel

Terminal 1 is very much like a space ship, as my friend, Erika, pointed out upon her arrival back in January. I got in about four hours early, because ever since the Airport Horror Story of 2010 I’ve been paranoid about getting there late. I hung out in a cafe–had tea, dinner, tea–and eventually got on the plane. No biggy.

Arrived in Shannon. Loitered about a bit waiting for a bus. People kept coming, looking at the timetable and leaving. I’d already checked like five times and I knew that the next bus was at 9:50. Eventually one Irish guy came up and asked me why I was waiting. I told him. He was like, “Well, those people said it doesn’t come till 10:50, but we’ll see if you’re right!” He waited with me, and like five minutes later the bus arrived. He was all, “Good call!” I felt smart.

Got to Limerick and managed to get a taxi. The guy was quite friendly. He dropped me off in student housing, but didn’t have change for my bill. He gave me his number and insisted I call him so we could meet up and he could pay me back/give me a free ride somewhere. I got out of the cab and was watching it disappear when I realized my phone was still in the back seat. Oops…

Found Erika’s house, got settled. We had a quiet evening talking, and finally turned in about midnight.

Day 2: Limerick

The next morning we decided to run in town for a pharmacy and grocery shopping. This went uneventfully. Limerick is quite nice, and a little more what I thought Dublin would be like–it seems to have personality and such, and much of it wasn’t as dirty as the part of Dublin I was in. We took a bus back to the student housing, where we parted ways so Erika could go to class and I could go hang out in the room for a few hours. I battled my old nemesis, the Door and Key, but eventually I had to call surrender and ask a nice Irish boy to open it for me. He did, though he was very puzzled.

Hung out for a while. Erika came back and we had lunch together before she went off to more classes. The cheese here is so good–I had grilled cheese and it was epic. When Erika came back, she made a splendid pasta dish. After stuffing ourselves with that, we went back to town. I had called the cab driver and arranged to meet him to pick up my phone. He was super friendly, and stayed to talk with us at length about Limerick’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

We wandered the city after that. It was night, but too early for the partiers to emerge. We went down the the Shannon River and walked on one of the bridges. It was beautiful, with lightbulbs strung up along the bridge and views of the city, a castle and several churches. We then walked along the river, followed by creeper swans who wanted us to feed them. The water was all choppy from the wind, and full of the colors of the city. It reminded me a bit of a Monet painting.

Eventually we went back to Erika’s house, were I attempted a cold shower (didn’t go well) and we went to bed.

Day 3: Galway

Erika and I arose in the morning, packed up and returned to the bus station. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we got on the bus for Galway. It was a peaceful ride, with beautiful views of the countryside. The day started out rainy, but even though it was overcast the greens of Ireland were vibrant.

We arrived in the city and met up with Stephen and Clark (Stephen is Erika’s boyfriend, who I’ve had previous adventures with, namely at the Renaissance Festival last summer–Clark is one of Stephen’s friends who is also visiting). After dropping our stuff at Stephen’s apartment, we walked back to the city.

The city itself is quite cool, with a ton of pubs (obviously), street musicians and the like. Stephen popped into a bookstore and grabbed a full-color book about the Book of Kells. I grabbed a copy as well. It was an investment!

We walked down to the coast and did some exploring along the beach. Then we walked along the Prom for quite a while. The sky had cleared, and it was turning out to be a beautiful day. After a while we tried to catch a bus back to the city–but this didn’t pan out. So we started to walk when Stephen announced he wanted a cheeseburger. We went into the local McDonald’s-type-fastfood place (don’t recall the name), where the boys got burgers and Erika and I got cheese fries. It was surprisingly good, and a nice rest.

After this we had more luck with the bus. We got into city center, dropping in a tourist shop to reserve tickets to the Aran Islands, then stopped to grab groceries before returning to the apartment. Erika made another fabulous dinner, and we spent the evening watching random episodes of How I Met Your Mother. (We had decided it was too late/too crowded to go into town for music that night–hopefully we’ll catch it tonight or Sunday.)

It’s now St. Patrick’s day, and we’re about to head into town. Should be fun!


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