Ireland: A trip from Dublin to Galway and back


Most people have heard stories about pubs in Dublin. They’re supposed to be unique, because there are a lot of local live musicians playing. I was one of those people. No, I don’t play any instrument and I’m not sure if someone would like to hear me sing. But I was curious how it all would be like in those pubs. Two weeks ago a friend of mine, Alwin, and I decided it would be time to get to know Dublin and also some other parts of Ireland.

Monday 3 August. We flew from Weeze (Germany) to Dublin. We stayed at the 1-star hotel Abbott Lodge. I booked us a room for 2 nights there. “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t have you on the list.” So, our vacation started promising... Luckily there were stil rooms available... on the top floor. Great excercise if you want to climb 6 stairs a few times a day. The room itself was quite nice. Clean beds, clean bathroom, a window that would hardly go open and definately wouldn’t stay open. So we used what was at hand and shoved in a desk drawer to keep it from going shut again. The bed was great... except the wooden board Alwin had to sleep on. But we were still in a good mood. Most of the day we walked around Dublin. The weather was great, so we left our jackets at the hotel. We found a whisky store. Last year I went to Scotland and started to like whisky. The shop keeper immediately let us taste some whiskies. So our mood was getting better and better. But Ireland being unpredictable, later that day it started raining. Since the rain wouldn’t stop, we had to walk all the way back to the hotel for about 30 minutes. But we were still in a good mood. We used what was at hand, the hair dryer, to dry our shoes. Later that evening we took our jackets with us, but then it just wouldn’t start raining...

Tuesday 4 August. After a good night sleep (yes, even on a wooden board Alwin slept great) we looked for the tourist information centre. We did not only want to see Dublin, but more of the country. We decided to go to the west of Ireland by bus. There was an offer for 5 euros for a bus ticket to Galway! That evening we visited some pubs, but there was hardly any activity because of St. Patrick’s day, the day before.

Wednesday 5 August. During the trip the bus stopped at many different towns on the way. Close to our destination a guy enters the bus and takes a seat right behind us. The sweet scent of alcohol was chasing him around, so everywone could enjoy it too. Arriving in Galway it seemed a nice city. The people at the tourist information were very helpful in finding a cheep hotel room. When we arrived at the hotel and entered our room we were surprised by its size. We paid 44 euros pppn, but the slip on the door said 160 euros pppn.

Later on we went back to the tourist information to see what we could do the next day. We had 3 options: going to Connemore, the Aran Islands, or the cliffs of Moher. We thought about going to the islands. But when we saw a picture of it, we kind of let the idea slip. The islands were completely flat. It didn’t seem interesting at all. So we decided to take the bus tour to the cliffs instead.

After this time consuming search we explored Galway. Compared to Dublin Galway is far more smaller, but very cosy. We dined at an Italian restaurant. After that we found a great pub with live music. We met some nice and interesting people. It seamed everyone was having a great time there. We met Julie, a “computer geek” (her own words, not mine) from Washington and we were greeted by Meghan, Kirsten and Jamie. They are school teachers from New York. Then a local guy steps in and starts to ask quizlike questions to Alwin. Questions about soccer players far before we were even born. So of course he didn’t know any of the answeres. He explained to us that he called himself “the master”, because he knew very much about allmost everything. But then there were other people calling themselves “the master”. He felt he knew more than the other masters, so he called himself “the master supreme”. The master supreme started chatting with Julie. Little peaces of moist were leaving his mouth and finding their way around the pub. I kept my hand over my glass of whisky, to prevent it from becoming diluted with something I’d rather not think about. The guy kept on babbling about how good he was and that once Julie had him as a husband she wouldn’t want anyone else. At some point he started to dance for her. At least if you can call it dancing. His arms and legs were waving wildly and like a crazy chimp he jumped around. At one point he found another victim to talk (and spit) to. Problem was, she was cornered and couldn’t get away from him.

When the coast was clear we decided to leave the pub and go to an other one. This pub had live music also and had the same kind of atmosphere as the pub we went in before. But it didn’t take long for Mr. Supreme to find us, but he left us alone. Except when he passed us and gave us a sweaty hand. It felt more like a wet dishcloth and we immediatly wiped our hands clean.

We learned that the teachers and Julie were leaving Galway and going to Dublin the next day. But they would still be there Friday in which case we could see them again. Alwin exchanged phone numbers and I got Julie’s e-mailaddress to tell her where we would be Friday.

Thursday 6 August. After a good night of sleep and a good breakfast we left on a bus trip to the cliffs. The first part of the trip we were in a small bus. The bus driver started talking in Gaelic (I think). Clearly no one understood what he was saying. After a few sentences he asked all of us if we could understand it. If not, he would continue in English. But even his English was quite hard to understand. But he was an amusing guy. Later on we had to change busses. The new tour guide wasn’t as entertaining as the first one, but at least we could clearly understand what he was saying. Appearantly the bus driver was in a hurry. Maybe his dinner was getting cold, I really don’t know. But he was driving like crazy to all the short stops. If we were taking too much time to take pictures, the driver blew the horn to urge us to hurry back to the bus. We went on the express tour (which is shorter than the regular trip), but I now know why it’s called express tour.

During one of the stops Alwin wanted to take pictures. So I gave him my camera. He droped a banana peal. When we were walking back to the bus a “watchman” was yelling at us. If we realised what we had just done. And that he should fine us €120 for littering. We just forgot to pick it up again.

Arriving at the cliffs of Moher we had 1 hour and 15 minutes to look around. The bus would be leaving at 3pm promptly. The cliffs are really high; about 200 meters. We took a lot of pictures there.

Driving back we made a quick stop for lunch and at about 5:45pm we were back in Galway. We decided to take it easy that night. So we played some cards, tasted some new single malt whiskys (I bought at the whisky shop in Dublin) and went to bed.

Friday 7 August. Today we went back to Dublin. We really enjoyed Galway. Since I am partially sighted I’m not very fond of big crowded cities. But I had a great guide dog by the name of Alwin. We thought we could get some sleep during the bus trip, but three crazy wild Dublin girls were keeping us awake. So at one point we started acting crazy and wild ourselves. At least this way we were having fun as well and would not be annoyed.

Back in Dublin we already booked a hotel room at the Hazelbrook House. A small but nice hotel. The desk clerk asked if we were German, because we sounded like Germans. We told her we were from the Netherlands, but we could do other accents as well, like Scottish, German and of course Italian. We get ‘Allo allo’ on TV as well in Holland.

After a little nap Murphy’s law came to visit us. I noticed the battery of my phone was almost empty. I wanted to e-mail Julie, so I typed an e-mail on my phone while it was still working. After that I asked the clerk if she had a plug to recharge my phone. Unfortunately she had all led them to guests. So we went to the shop to get a plug. Back at the hotel we saw we got the wrong plug. Alwin went back to the shop, but it was closed already.

I checked my phone to see if the e-mail was deliverd. It wasn’t. I made a typing mistake. Then the battery went completely dead. I asked the clerk if they had WiFi, so I could turn on my PDA to try to send a new e-mail. There was, but my e-mail client didn’t work. So luckily the clerk let me use her computer to mail her.

During our nap Meghan left us a voice mail message, but Alwin was unable to access voice mail. When Alwin called back he got no answere.

So we decided to go into Dublin. We had diner and after that went to find a pub. We found one again with live music. Finally Meghan called again and within minutes they found us as well. We went into the next room, where we were all dancing. It was really great finally going out without a babbling guy bombarding us with spit.

Since it was our last night out, we were back at the hotel quite late. We asked the clerk if she would give us a wake up call at 5am. We had to take the 5:45 coach to the airport to catch the 7:40am flight back to Germany. She said she would.

Finally asleep at 3am........

Saturday 8 August. ALWIN!!!!! It’s 6am!!!!! We were both sitting up straight, looked at each other and within 2 minutes we were standing at the desk to check out of the hotel. A sleepy looking clerk came to the desk. You were supposed to wake us at 5am. I’m sorry, sorry, sorry, she said. I’m so sorry. Alwin said: well if you open the door for us, we can leave to catch the next bus. Let us out! You’re bad, he finally said.

We were rushing towards the bus stop. At the bus stop we checked for the next bus. Hey! How about that bus..... that’s just driving past us.... Yes, that one was also going to the airport. Luckily there were a few cabs waiting, so we took a cab back to the airport. Man, we were really wrecked after we checked in. We still had less than 30 minutes to walk to the boarding gate. So we made it in time!

During the flight I didn’t get any sleep. There was a woman with 3 very young kids. One of them had never flown before and he was screaming like crazy.

Back at the airport in Germany I was more than a wreck. My eyes were falling shut quite often. We drove back in Alwin’s car. He turned on some party music and to stay awake we were yelling along with the music.

At 1:30pm we were back in Denekamp. First we drove to my parents for lunch, told our stories of the trip. Later we drove to Alwin’s parents to have diner. We told the same stories and showed them the pictures. After that I went shopping for groceries and returned home.

Finally back in my own place I went to bed at 10pm. My own room, my own bed. Away from the busy traffic of Dublin. Away from the great live music. Away from the Irish whiskies. All of that was gone, except for the memory of a great vacation....