July 23rd, 2015
I have the best luck! Was having breakfast and making my plan to drive to Letterkenny near London Derry in the Northwest of Ireland and down to the west coast again to pick up the sights I missed when I was in Cork, when a fellow from Spain needed a ride to Derry. I did drive this time, but had some great company for the road! Jaime (Hi-me) is a med student travelling around Ireland and he often just camps in farmers fields along the way to save money! Driving was a bit stressful at first always trying to focus on am I in the proper lane and making turns properly and trying to follow the nav instructions at the same time, but I am very proud to say I did just fine, and only found myself in the wrong lane once: thankfully a MASSIVE tour bus alerted me right away! 😉 I found my way to Letterkenny expecting to have to cross a border or customs when crossing the border from the country of Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland, but didn’t. I was met at the airbnb by the most wonderful Hosts: Erin and his girlfriend Aoife (Eh-Fa). Erin had a friend staying at the time named Eoin (owen) who is an artist, they were all quite easy to chat with and had loads of advice on what to see and do. Of all places in Canada, Eoin asks me if I’ve heard of Flin Flon, and that a friend has a house there that he’d like to visit! You can see Eoin’s art work here. Aoife went out of her way and drove me to the store to get some things I needed and even invited me to share the homemade pizza the boys were making! I was sure to grab a bottle of wine for us, which Aoife and I had no problems squaring away! The pizza/wine and conversation were fantastic, and we watched 2 movies after: Ex-machinas and a movie about the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, for those that know me, even 1 movie is a feat for me to stay still, I must be getting better at this relaxing thing! It hit me as I was sitting there mid movie, how absolutely strange it was to be sitting some 3500 miles from home in a strangers living room, but yet feeling so at home! So incredibly grateful to be having this amazing opportunity!
July 24th, 2015
I was feeling a bit less then 100% thanks to the 1/2 bottle of wine last night, but I headed out on a recommended day tour of Erin’s. Unfortunately I failed the mission challenge and made it only 1/4 of the way! Erin was deeply disappointed in me, hopefully another Canadian will stay at his home soon and redeem the poor reputation I have given us! I did make it to Glenveagh national park, walked around the Glenveagh castle, gardens and lake that is there. The estate of Glenveagh was created in 1857-9 by the purchase of several smaller holdings by John George Adair, a wealthy land speculator from Co. Laois. John Adair was to later incur infamy throughout Donegal and Ireland by ruthlessly evicting some 244 tenants in a cold April of 1861. There is a story that says one of the evictees was a widow with 6 children and she put a curse on the home saying no children would be born of anyone who resided there. Either its coincidence or as they say you don’t mess with an Irish woman because no children were ever had by any of the future owners of the estate/castle. I also made my way up the coast a bit and did a high mountain road scenic route on the crazy 1 lane irish backroads to a place called Horn Head. I found a picturesque little beach and may have had a little nap in the sun! It was a great day! When I returned to Letterkenny and received my lashings for not making it the entire route, I went for dinner with Aoife then Erin offered to take myself, Eion and some other guests from Holland to a secret meadow. We didn’t really know what we were in for and my flip-flops and shorts were probably not the best gear as we tromped through high grass and tried to avoid stinging nettles, it was a beautiful spot though and worth the hassle. Watched another movie when we returned about Martin Luther King, this time with just 1 glass of red! Eion had returned as well, and turns out my extra night displaced him to an air mattress in the office, I did offer him to share the double with me, but alas I was not so lucky! 😉
Glenveagh National Park and Castle
Scenery from Horn Head and my drive
The Meadow & my hosts!
July 25th, 2015
Spent the day meandering my way to Galway, which is about 3 hours south/west which took me about 6! Beautiful sights! Aoife got us tickets to a Dance performance called deGeneration (youtube video) and I was able to meet a friend ofrs Cronan, who is a writer for a newspaper in letterkenny. We went out for dinner and to a pub after, found a little Craic (Crack-seriously!) but I was a bit wiped from the long days drive. I was a bit concerned that I didn’t have a hostel yet but happened upon 1 bed left on a side street hostel in Galway at 9 pm! Guess sleeping in the car would have been ok and if its going to happen Ireland is probably the safest place to do it! Craic is not really directly translatable but refers to finding good atmosphere/fun.