Guest Blog by Scott.
This blog entry would not be complete without at least mentioning the crass Irish folk we met in the hotel lobby early this morning. It was definitely an experience, let me tell you. The mixture of their Irish accent and the shock that they actually may have said what we thought they said made for an event to remember for quite some time.
On the train, we met a German couple with a daughter who is studying in Grand Rapids, MI (what are the odds?) and a Spanish couple from Seville. It was fun trying to speak Spanish after not speaking or studying the language in years and struggling to remember how to conjugate the various verbs and remember my Spanish vocab.
Despite the rainy weather and nearly being blown into the ocean (okay, I’m exaggerating a little), the Cliffs of Moher were absolutely amazing. I also toured a 700 year old castle — all in all a very good day.
Guest Blog by Courtney.
Today, on your day tour to the Cliffs of Moher, the people made almost as much an impact on me as actually seeing more of Ireland. The first was the run in with the actually Irish gentlemen. They were very informal in the way they spoke, and very open about drinking, sex, and language…something that I am not used to at all. Most of all, I am surprised at how hard it is to understand many dialects of Irish accent. Most people say how much they love the sound of an Irish accent, but when you actually try to hold a conversation, it makes it incredibly difficult despite only a few terminology differences.
Then, on our tour we met the nicest couples from Germany and Spain. Both were very open to getting to know us despite knowing only a little English, and us knowing only a little Spanish. Together we shared where we were from, our trips, and most surprisingly they shared with us samples of foods from their countries that they had brought with them. It was so awesome! I have never experienced such kindness and welcome from such different groups. We stuck together all throughout the tour and helped them when they could not understand our tour guide.
Overall, the scenery today was amazing…the real Ireland. Rolling green hills, fields of sheep, cows, and horses….and tiny towns with buildings with thatched roofs and crumbling remains of castles long unused. I really loved today. But just to warn all future Irish travelers: It is a long distance between destinations, and it takes hours by public transportation to get there. But, it is really worth it!
Today started out very early with a 5:30 rise to venture out on our railtour to the Cliffs of Moher. Down in the lobby we met some crazy Irish fellows. One of them swore a lot and when we told him where we were going, he said that he lives about a half hour from there and he’s never been there in his life.
We thought we were going to be late to our meeting place for the tour so after we got into Dublin proper, we ran over and caught a Taxi. The driver told us to be careful at the Cliffs, and not to try to be superman because we want to return talking about it, and “not in a box.” He said the cliffs were very windy, much more windy than Dublin, and a sudden gust would take you right off. Said they’d lost about 14 tourists a few months ago. He also said that the cliffs would really blow us away, “no pun intended.”
When we got to Heuston Station, we just made it on time to check in and we met a pair from Germany, and one from Spain. On the train they let us try real German Black Bread and from the Spanish couple, a part of what tasted much like a salami sandwich. The German Black Bread wasn’t the best, but I did enjoy the sandwich.
We then went on to see a Castle, a very cool castle owned by the O’Brien’s as all of the castles in that area are. We got to climb around and into the towers and see tables (and sit at them) that were still in prime condition at a young 500 years old. I’ll type more about that later as there is much to tell.
Next were the Cliffs of Moher. It was pouring rain and very windy, but we climbed the stairs to see them anyway, and on the other side, in the distance, we saw a castle. So we went up to the castle and filmed our own version of the Conan O’Brien trip to Ireland. If you haven’t seen that video, you must find it. It’s hilarious.
After that we went around the shores of the Atlantic, and then on to another town and back to Dublin via a 3 hour train ride. There were many sheep, horses and cows all along the way. It was most excellent and very green. There is a lot of development happening here as well.
For meals we ate at some place quick with service, and finally at a McDonald’s…. didn’t know we had more time in the evening before the last bus back… so we compromised… a mistake we do not intend to make again.. Ah well… you live, you learn.