Eoin and Phil collected me at the airport on the Friday night - and my weekend filled with Irish charm began. It's been about two years since I saw them face to face and I think it was great we could just pick up where we left off.
The next morning, I was up at 6am - and I wasn't even tired after four hours sleep - to catch the bus to Galway. I was too excited - I even had Saw Doctors Galway Girl playing in my head. Phil had organised everything, and I mean everything I hadn't needed to think at all, just turn up. It was immense to sit back and just take it all in.
In Galway, we were handed on to Donal for the free walking tour. Donal was a great city guide. He just had one of those faces, very expression-able and even made the tour interactive by choosing people from the group to re-enact an 'Irish session' Of course I was chosen...one of those faces too I suppose. He had great knowledge and stories about the place, camera at the ready. Few chuckles anyway which broke us in gently as we then met our bus and fantastically crazy guide Billy, who would take us through Galway, the Burren and on to the Cliffs of Moher.
The bus trip was fantastic and I think made better by Billy's antics. The bus took us along Galway Bay and then into The Burren. We stop in a place called Doolin for lunch in Gus O'Connors pub. One of those that's a must I hear. To be fair the service was great considering how packed it was and the food hit the spot. Set us up for the rest of the tour. Next stop the Cliffs of Moher.
The Cliffs stand at 200m at the highest point and run 8km long. Now they aren't the highest cliffs in Ireland but they are the most accessible. The views really were impressive, you are told to 'stay away from the edge'. I had no bother doing that - the drop was scary. The weather held out for us as well, the wind picked up which added to the fear factor. Half way along the walk there was a harpist. Fair play to her dragging that up, that's dedication, only in Ireland. At least, the music was very atmospheric and fitting. It added another wee something to the day. Truly lovely, as one onlooker remarked. It was fantastic walk along with the Cliffs themselves you got to see the stunning views of the Aran Islands. We returned via the coast route with views of Connemara and Galway in the distance. It was a great day out.
Back to Galway and we headed to the Kinlay Hostel to ditch our bags and freshen up for the night ahead. It was perfect, and flashback to travelling days, oh how I miss it. Hostels are so friendly and this one was no different, it was actually winner of best Hostel in Ireland 2014, and you can see why. It was ideal. Reasonably quick change and off out to the pubs and dinner, and then more pubs. The Spanish Arch was one of these pubs. It was great and there was a live band, you can't beat that. We also ended in a nightclub called Karma, just love living in the moment. Galway just comes alive, all the pubs were jumping. I definitely think I could have spent another few days/nights. Well just means I have to go back I suppose.
Sunday we manage to get ourselves up and onto the train for 11am. As Phil had reserved the train our names were on the screen above our seats, I was mightily impressed by this. Simple things!
Back in Dublin, we headed into the city to do quite possibly the most ridiculous tour ever. Viking Splash tour. Imagine, Viking helmets, grunting and shouting at oblivious passers-by, more awesome tour guide facts about Dublin city centre and the history. Even the boys enjoyed their lesson. It was very funny and a tad wet as the rain decided to make an appearance but not to worry, all part of the fun. From there we went to Sinnotts for a fantastic dinner. I went for the Irish stew and brown bread. Delicious. Sunday night and a mini pub crawl…well I'm on holiday so why not? We finished our crawl in O'Neils, where you'd easily disappear into the nook and cranny's. Typical Irish bar, queue the live Irish diddly diddly music and the banter from Silk and Shark and it was just a brilliant night.
Special thanks to the boys for their hospitality and of course to Phil for being the planner extraordinaire.
The Charms of Ireland, Dublin and Galway, it was great craic. That's number 11 and 12. Thank you kindly Eire.