Ireland part 2: Wicklow County and Galway

Wednesday, December 19: The Irish Pink Eye Experience

Cassy left early Wednesday morning and I was on my own. It was good timing for my pink eye epidemic because I was alone and didn’t have any prior plans. My eye had been bothering me the night before and then I woke up that morning with my right eye so swollen I could barely open it! It was all goopy and crusty and looked awful. I looked like a monster! I went to a walk in clinic and got prescribed eye drops and antibiotics from the doctor. They began to work immediately and I was starting to look better the next day. Thank god! That night I met some people in the lounge of the hostel, including a kid from Alaska who had been traveling around the world for some months. He and I chatted and he let me cook some of his pasta and eat his pesto which was nice. I went to bed early that night even though people from the hostel invited me to go out with them. Traveling alone really isn’t half bad! Like I said before, hostels are a great way to meet people.

I signed up for an all day Wicklow Tour on my own on Thursday. We left on a bus from Dublin in the morning with a classic Irish tour guide who had a very strong Irish accent and sang songs while he drove the bus. Our first stop was a small town called “Enniskerry” where we went into a little family-owned bakery. Next we traveled through the Wicklow mountains and went to Glendalough, the Sally Gap, Lough tay, Guinness Lake, and famous film locations PS I Love You and Braveheart. We went on a tour of Ireland’s oldest mill called “Avoca Mill.”

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On Friday my friend Maggie arrived! I took the bus from Dublin with Maggie and her friend. We went to the Christmas market in Galway and walked around. It was so good to be with Maggie after being solo for two days. We explored the nightlife in Galway and were really impressed by the staff at our hostel, called “Barnacles” hostel.

On Saturday we did a day tour of the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren Region of Ireland. The Burren region is in County Clare. The hills of the Burren are composed of limestone pavements with criss crossing cracks that the Irish call “grikes.” It’s really unique because instead of pastures, the ground is covered in huge pavements of limestone. The word ‘Burren’ means ‘stoney place.’ We also saw Poulnabrone portal tomb that dates back to the Neolithic period.

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The Cliffs of Moher are magnificent and supposedly one of the top tourist attractions in Ireland. Unfortunately for us, the weather was awful and extremely cloudy so we could barely see a thing. But it also made the whole experience much more dramatic. I had a good time climbing up the cliffs in the fog even though the view wasn’t great.

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I ended my Irish adventure with a nice dinner at a restaurant in Galway that evening. The next morning, I took the bus from Galway to the Dublin airport and sat next to a wonderful elderly Irish gentleman. He told me all about his life and his favorite parts of Ireland. He asked me if I would ever come back some day. I told him I must.

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