Ireland: The Land of Saints and Scholars

  Highest tower in the Aran Islands

  Highest tower in the Aran Islands

Arriving in Ireland two days ago was exhilarating. Needless to say, I am just extremely happy that they speak English in Ireland, because things could have gone terribly wrong. I left Emily at 830am on Saturday morning to cross the Irish Sea. We had such a blast together, and it is so fun to think that it is only the beginning of traveling with her overseas. I took the National Express bus out of Bath to Heathrow for 20 pounds. It was quite simple and painless, two hours exactly. I mostly slept and read my book about Winston Churchill that the Villa's gave me for my graduation present. I absolutely love it. Once I arrived at Heathrow, I had tons of time to spare since my flight did not leave until 315pm.

Arriving in Shannon around 515pm, I did tons of research on how I was going to get to Doolin from the Shannon airport. There were two options. I could either get a bus that would leave the airport at 555pm or have to take a taxi for 90 euro. The only problem was that it was the last bus out of Shannon for the night. So as I was sitting in front of the departures list waiting to get my gate departure the unexpected came up. My flight was delayed. So, not even having left England, I was having to cope with the fact that I was going to have to pay up 90 euros. Once I arrived in Shannon it was too late for the bus, so I got a ride from a nice Irishman.

The scenery on the drive up to Doolin from Shannon was just incredible. Once I arrived to Doolin, my cab driver dropped me off at my Bed and Breakfast. Turns out they put me down for the wrong night and they weren't taking anyone that Saturday night. So... the frantic lady at the first Bed and Breakfast called next door to her son "Frank" to see if he had any rooms. Thankfully he did. So I rolled my bags next door and got a room at Frank's. It was perfect and he was extremely nice. I think walked farther down towards the "village" to see what else was there. I walked past the pub to see if there was anything else farther down the road to the ferries.

I walked by a pitch and putt golf course and decided to play 18 holes at 9pm that night! It was a blast. 

Then I got some fish and chips and a few pints of Guinness. And I met a friend named Brian "Squash" McManagan. We went bar hopping that night, probably walking over three miles since the bars are all a mile apart!

The next morning I woke up ready to meet up with the Quinns on the Aran Islands. After Frank cooked me up a mean Traditional Irish Breakfast, he offered to drive me down to the ferries. I hopped on the ferry at 1030 and made it to the Islands by 1215.

                                                                                   A dolphin by the docks!

                                                                                   A dolphin by the docks!

Once I hopped off the ferry, I had nice burger. After lunch we got on bikes and rode. We must have biked over 14 kilometres! Check out what we saw on our bike ride.

                                                  Danny and Brendan after we biked up a treacherous mtn.

                                                  Danny and Brendan after we biked up a treacherous mtn.

                                                                         Hello, or should we say moo.

                                                                         Hello, or should we say moo.

We went swimming in our skivvies. The water was so clear.

A horse came up to me while I was biking and asked to be petted. I told him that I was sorry that I didn't have an apple. 

A horse came up to me while I was biking and asked to be petted. I told him that I was sorry that I didn't have an apple. 

Once we got back to village, we boarded the ferry at 4pm. Quite the day of boating. We arrived back at our hotel in Doolin around 630pm. As it turns out, Mr. Quinn quite the driver of the family. I safely have chosen to drive with Uncle Jimmy for the remainder of the trip. 

After a pleasant dinner, we went bar hopping again in Doolin to see some live music. The live Irish music was such a blast. It was a little funny to see a bar packed at 11pm on a Sunday, but hey it's Ireland! I saw an Elbow Bag Pipe for the first time last night. Lots of respect.

Today we woke up, had breakfast, and got on the road. We arrived to the Currarevagh House by 11am. Got on some warm gear and walked down to the lake to go fishing! The Currarevagh House was a spectacular, rustic looking hunting lodge for fisherman and hunters. 

Brian, Danny, and I were on the same boat together before lunch. For lunch, we stopped off on the side of the lake, and the three guides made us a fire and we unpacked our lunches that the hotel made us. It was a pleasant picnic with sandwiches, Guinness, cheddar cheese, and tea! After lunch, the men stayed out to catch some fish while the boys and girls went back because it was too cold. I'm glad I had Brian in the boat with me, because I was getting really annoyed that he caught two fish and I hadn't caught any! And then, my rod started to bend... and I hooked one! Fish onnnn. 

                                                                              2 Lbs. Brown Trout. Nbd.

                                                                              2 Lbs. Brown Trout. Nbd.

Mrs. Quinn and the guides

Mrs. Quinn and the guides

The weather was a tad bit cold and a bit rainy. But with the result of 2 pound fish, it was well worth it! My young protege, Danny Quinn came away with the biggest fish. 

However, it was not the prettiest (ignore the picture enhancing). Tomorrow morning we will eat them for breakfast! See you all soon! Hoping Emily has had a good first day of class on the other side of the sea, excited to hear from her tonight.

Love, 

JR