Road Trip - Irish Style
So when I went to Ireland the first time I didn't know I would name this particular style the Irish one. So how does it work?
Simple, you kind of know where you wanna go and what you wanna see cos you have read the guide thoroughly but you haven't booked much. I had my flight and my car arranged. I was also optimistic enough to take my tent in hope I will camp to save on accommodation. Meaning the first night I spent sleeping in the car. I don't remember now if that particular idea was planned or not.
My flight was late in the afternoon and when I picked up the car I just wanted to drive. I love driving. So I drove until after midnight, then I just parked somewhere and slept in the backseat. Day 2 i woke up around 6, found a gas station to brush my teeth and to calm down my bladder and kept driving. I repeated this until day 4 I think. In the meantime I had 2 flat tyres so all my budget went on that - didn't know at that time that maybe hertz could sort it out or give me another car. I'm Polish so in a cheeky way I was trying to cover it up.
Some nice Irish people helped me to change both tyres and a car shop got me a spare used one. Then I almost drove into a lake. I felt very adventurous and followed this small road on a map - real map, no smart phones then, so no apps, so no Google maps, so an old school proper printed map was serving me as a guide. However I couldn't see the difference between a normal and a field road. And the one I took finished at a shore of a lake, too late for me to reverse, although believe me I tried. So I walked back to a place where I saw people last and some tourists with a car helped me to get my VW out of the mud.
By sleeping in the car, and very short hours I was able to cover quite a lot of ground. In only few days I managed to drive from Cork along the west coast to the cliffs of Moher and the Burren. I took a cable car to somewhere, went on a boat trip to Skellig Michael, watched the sun set on a beach, saw the cliffs at 6am as the workers building the new visitor center let me in to take couple of pics, went to the Galway cave, saw the Dolmen and decided to have a peak at the matchmaking festival in Lindsovarna.
Boy, I ran out of there quite quickly. Mainly Americans, or shall I say American mothers with their single sons trying to find a bride. The US Midwest decided to move in for a week. And they brought their folk music with them. I don't think I lasted there more than an hour. Which was lucky as I found a lovely B&B near the Bunratty castle - I thought it was time for a shower as well. That night I slept 14h straight.
The next day I spent whole in the castle, very recommendable and I ended up for dinner in a pub next door reading a book. Don't ever do that in Ireland: go to a pub in the evening and read a book. It draws more attention than a large cleavage. One of the locals started creeping me out with an accurate count of what I had for breakfast - it turned out it was his mom's B&B where I slept and he was the one who cooked my breakfast. I was so out of it I didn't even notice. It was a great last evening on my trip, loads of fun and laughing with the Irish and some American tourists. Of course the last night I slept in the car.
But it wasn't just the sleeping in my car that may this trip to something very unforgettable. It was being on a tight budget, counting every euro, eating toast bread (not toasted), Kellogg's cereal bars and drinking coke for almost every meal. I did have a carrot cake that one time and a normal breakfast mentioned above. It was making decisions where to sleep, finding the right spot on the road where I wouldn't draw attention. If you have ever been to Ireland you know that the fences of the houses don't really get to the road. Although there are no pavements for pedestrians as we are in the middle of nowhere there is always that space between the road and the fence. That's where I would park for the night. If lucky behind a tree or a bush so people from the house couldn't see me. No need to make anyone paranoid. I would sleep for 4 or 5 hours, then my bladder would wake me up and I would keep on driving.
It was also the being alone for few days, having time to admire the green, the small, the hidden, not answering to anyone else's schedule but mine. Quieting my mind, forgetting the world back home. Breathing all that is Ireland and discovering it smells a lot like cows.