We only had a weekend to visit, so instead of staying in Dublin and doing pub crawls, we decided to take a bus tour of the southern coast. It sounded like a great way to explore the country. We would get to travel to several different towns, learn about the country's history, and transportation and lodging between the stops were all included.
We arrived Thursday night in Dublin. My friend and I booked a nice hostel, and were hoping that my brother and other friend would be able stay there too, even though they decided to come last minute. But the inn was full. Completely booked. While my brother asked about other places to stay, we waited in the lobby, engrossed by the events on the security camera. The young Irish doorman stood a few feet away from the monitor. I figured he was doing his job and keeping watch. He didn't take his eyes off the screen. I glanced up to see what he was looking at, but it was hard to tell on the ten inch t.v. monitor. I asked what he was watching. He barely took his eyes off the screen when he answered, these two having sex in the pool room. What?! I looked closer but couldn't see anything. Where? Right there underneath the pool table. They've been going at it for awhile. First they were on the pool table, and he was taking off her clothes. Now they're underneath. Ew! I took a closer look. I couldn't believe that they were having sex right there in a public space, and at a hostel. I don't care how clean it is. That's sick. Maybe we shouldn't stay here either. But we already had a room, and it was late. My brother and friend would have to find another place to stay. It was 11:00 at night, it would be easier to find a place for two people as opposed to four. We said good night, and made sure they knew where to meet in the morning.
While I was asleep peacefully in my six person room, they were in a taxi driving all around Dublin looking for a place to stay. Every hostel was full. Every hotel was full. They drove and drove, as they watched the meter on the taxi go up. According to my friend, they were so tired and so frustrated that sleeping on a park bench sounded like a good option. They were over it, and the luck of the Irish had proven them wrong. Finally, they found a room in a decent hotel. And four hours later they were meeting us at a town center.
We loaded onto the bus and staked our claim in the sprawling seats that lined the back. Like any awkward setting with a group of strangers, we played the getting to know you game by stating our name, where we were from, and who we were traveling with. We were the only Americans on the bus, and besides the three Korean guys, we were also the youngest. It was an eclectic group, who didn't seem to like the young American travelers in the back. Road trip games, that were played to help pass the time along, proved this as the trip went on.
Our first stop was Locke's Distillery, established in 1757, it is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. After the tour of the distillery, everyone had a shot of whiskey to warm themselves up, even in the middle of summer, it is still cold in Ireland. They offered two people to do a taste test with three different shots. The first shot was strong enough for most of us, so two of the Koreans took the challenge. Although they did not talk much, these guys proved that they were there to have a good time.
|Locke's Whiskey Distillery|
|Gravestones at Clonmacnoise|
In the morning we woke to a small breakfast of biscuits and coffee. We said good bye to our kind hosts, and made our way to the bus. Our tour guide, a young Irish lad, did his usual head count, and discovered that we were missing one person. We sat there waiting to see who would emerge. No one knew who was missing. Until finally it dawned on us, the youngest of the Koreans was still in the house. We woke his sleeping friends, who seemed to crawl out of their beds and into the bus without opening their eyes. One of the guys decided to go in and check on him, but he returned alone. We stared out the windows, hoping he would appear. We coaxed his friend to go in again. Success. The little guy was curled up in his bed sleeping the whole time. We clapped as he entered the bus. We could now venture on.
The Cliffs of Moher is one of Ireland's top tourist destinations. A dramatic drop to the Atlantic, the cliffs reach 702 feet at their highest point. That morning it was especially cold. The mist from the ocean became more of a drizzle as we got closer to the cliffs. The wind picked up, and the waves fiercely crashed against the jagged rocks below. This did not stop our adventurous Korean friends from taking a hike past the, DANGER- PLEASE DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT, sign. They stood as close to the edge of the cliff as they could. There wasn't a ledge or rail separating them from a death plummet. They looked down to take in the awe inspiring nature. They took pictures and laughed. Although they were having fun, everyone on the safe side of the sign, stood back in utter shock. Are they crazy! The rocks were damp and the grass was slippery. The wind began to pick up again, and then suddenly one of them slipped. It was like a scene from a movie. A split second that seemed to last for minutes. He clawed at the cliff and dug his hands into the steady ground. His friends could not help, as they feared they too would fall, or tumble over from the force of the wind. He crawled his way up to standing and held his arms out like Rocky. He defeated death. They walked back to the group laughing, as the others cursed their stupidity. I was just happy that the little sleeping beauty was alive.
|Cliffs of Moher|
|Moments Before His Dramatic Fall|
|Kissing the Blarney Stone|
Note: When planning a bus tour, consider the others that will be sharing the confined moving space with you.