I’ve told this story many times over the years! It was great to go back to the original post, because I didn’t realize how much alcohol was involved. This is a good story to show why I love Ireland so much and can’t wait to take my third trip!
October 2013 //
If an Irishman challenged you to go shot for shot with him in a bar do you think you could do it? I want you to think about this before you say you could beat him.
Six bottles of whiskey
Ten bottles of red wine
Thirty-four bottles/cans of beer
That is what my first week in Dungloe, Ireland consisted of. My host made sure that I was good and welcome here. Not to mention that even though that was split between two people I wouldn’t have been shocked if he could drink that himself in a week. I’m not saying that all the Irish drink this much or that my host usually would. But after going through that in a week I would never even consider trying to drink more than anyone from Ireland.
This first week in Dungloe has brought on the best experiences I have had in Ireland thus far. My first week was spent drinking and getting to know the neighbors along with other various people that my host knows in the area. I have also done a lot of reading. I feel very relaxed finally. After all of the traveling and going from the east coast of Ireland to the rural areas in the middle of Ireland. Then traveling on to the west coast and the very next day moving onto the northwest. I’ve met a lot of interesting and wonderful people along the way but it is so nice to be able to relax for a bit.
I’ve spent quite a few days in town. It’s about a miles walk, probably a little bit less and it is very beautiful for being a short walk on the road. There aren’t very many sidewalks and the roads are the size of one lane roads in America. I was fairly nervous the first time I walked into town. It’s not a rough neighborhood by any means, but traveling on a two lane road the size of a one lane road with no sidewalk had me sure that I was going to be run over. That obviously hasn’t happened yet and I doubt that it will. The drivers here are very good about getting in the other lane to pass you or if another car is coming along they will slow down and wait before they pass you. They don’t even honk at you! I was happily surprised.
Now that the first walks fright was over with I truly enjoy the walk into town almost every day. The people you meet on the way are always friendly and not only say hello but ask how you are doing as well. Most times they even stop to hear the answer. The drivers are also friendly and a lot of them have waved at me leaving me wondering if I have met them yet and if I should recognize them or not. I have found that being a foreigner I am easily recognized here. I went into town on Saturday afternoon to get some groceries after lunch and had five people stop me on my way to talk to me. I had only met most of them once. Then when I was in the grocery store the neighbors were in on a lunch break and stopped to say hello to me. It’s so friendly here I can’t stress that enough.
I’ve talked with other people hear on vacation and that always seems to come in conversation. Every one I have met here that isn’t from Ireland is shocked with how nice people are and I have found the further north(west) you get, the nicer people get. I have to add that I was going to say the farther north you get, but when you say you are going to Northern Ireland people in Ireland think you mean the country and keep telling me to be careful. So I have found out from my host that the more appropriate term is the northwest of Ireland. My accent has also helped me along the way I am sure. I have had to stop people, especially at train or bus stops, to ask questions about whether or not I am on the right platform or if the bus we are waiting for is the right one. Not one person has been rude to me after I have, always politely, interrupted their day, walk, or conversation.
Speaking of how friendly people are I have become very fond of the neighbors here. They are always so nice inviting me to go along with them to things and even to come over whenever I please. I have also enjoyed a trip to some beautiful beaches because of a guy Thomas that I met through my host. I was walking down the street in town and thinking of heading home due to a lack of things to do when I heard my name shouted from across the street. Thomas had seen me and made his way across the street. He was excited because he won a bet on football and invited me to a drink. It was great we went to the pub I have been to a couple times with my host and watched the Manchester game. I am beginning to really love football, though I don’t know that it could replace my love of American football. Anyways Thomas and I got to chatting during the game and he said he could take me to see some beaches the next day if I wanted. Of course I wanted to so we decided to meet up the next afternoon.
He had been surfing earlier and was late, but it was good because I had slept in a bit and wouldn’t have been awake anyways. We got in his car with his dog and headed for the beach. It was a beautiful drive you aren’t always on the coast but when you come around a corner and it’s there all the sudden it’s like a breath of fresh air. I might be a bit biased because I love the ocean more than most things, but I doubt it. The first place we went to was somewhere I would have never found the kind of place you where you have to be from around there to know it’s there. It felt like a little cove, but having never actually been in a cove I don’t know that that is the correct way to describe it. The tide was much higher than usual so Thomas went for a swim. I just kept looking around and around at everything I couldn’t get enough.
Then we moved on and made a stop at the only bridge that connected the island we were about to go on to Ireland. Across the water there was an old boat pulled up a bit on the shore but still about halfway on the island. I asked Thomas about it because it had an old unused look to it. He said that it has been there for years and years but no one bothered it because it didn’t bother anyone. It added to the feel of the place and I liked the idea that this old boat was just left to be on the water where it belonged, even though it wasn’t of use, simply because it didn’t bother anyone. We went on to see two bigger beaches each bigger than the last. It was starting to get dark and rainy though so we didn’t linger. Also because there weren’t any waves to surf on.
I was really grateful to Thomas for showing me these things and he simply said it would be a shame for me not to see them. That’s what I mean about the Irish. I barely know this guy though we do get on great, but he took me to see something amazing because he wouldn’t want me to miss out on it. I am so glad that I am going to be here for the rest of the month. Not only to see and do more amazing things, but also to be able to spend more time with these wonderful people.