When my sister and I traveled to Ireland last year, we had a rough idea of the places we wanted to go to and that’s it. This was our first trip together, on our own as “adults.” I put that in quotations so you don’t get the wrong idea in thinking that we’ve grown up… but by societies standards, we’re “adults.” Months prior we attempted to plan the trip which essentially came out to a word document with “Ireland” titled in bold at the top and a few bullet points underneath. As far as planning goes, we sucked.
Yay for sucking at plans though because this spontaneous trip is my favorite adventure. If you can, I recommend getting lost in a country. Be safe about it, but take the road less traveled and take suggestions from the locals. Ask people at pubs where you should venture to next. Let the old man taxi driver suggest a night club. (It was a pleasant surprise when we ended up at a place called Dicey’s in Dublin, which happened to be the most insane night club I’ve gone to yet.) They are wildly a good time there.
Hopping around by bus to cities at random is an exhilarating and fun way to travel. It does get extremely tiring though, so when we stepped off the bus and looked out at the busy city of Limerick, we turned right back around. We each were lugging around one suitcase so the idea of making our way through chaos was not an interest to our sleep deprived selves. We made our way up to the counter at the bus station and asked the employee for recommendations after giving her some insight that we did not want to be in a large city. She told us about a small surfer city called Lahinch, located back up the way we had just journeyed from… still we were interested though and bought our bus ticket.
As soon as we got to this quiet and charming city we knew we had made the right decision. I will note though that getting to our destination was no easy task. We got off at the wrong bus stop and attempted to unsuccessfully hitch hike our way to Lahinch. There were no takers to pick up two grumpy, troubled looking individuals. Shocking. A kind hearted soul saw us struggling though and helped us get a taxi. It was worth the troubles to get there.
Our hotel was ran by an older British man who made us our breakfast in the morning himself. The downtown area was small and just had a few people walking up and down the shops. The weather was gloomy and cold, which only made the stores seem that much cozier. The ocean was wild and untamed but the surfers still trekked their way out into the water with their surfboards. Everything about the city, seems like a pleasant memory.
At night, we made our way to one of the few pubs in the city. Initially, it was very quiet there. We planned on practicing self control and only having one Guinness that night before heading back to our room. Our dad has always stressed the importance of sitting at the bar at places that are unknown to us. This way we can have the opportunity to talk to other individuals rather than just keeping to ourselves. As we sat there, I noticed a girl sitting with her head down and a partially drunk beer in front of her.
“Are you okay?” I asked her slightly worried about her body posture.
“Oh yes ! I’m okay, just tired after traveling to the Cliffs Of Moher,” she explained with a strong French accent.
We got to know her better as the night went on and instantly clicked with her. There’s some people that you can know for only an hour but you’re somehow able to talk as if you’re old friends within that same hour. A group of 6 or so animated guys walked into the bar and kept us entertained with their humor and craziness the rest of the night. They showed us their butt tattoos and matching socks, which did not go over well with the bartender.
The rest of the night we hung out with her and continued to hangout with her the following days. She was traveling around staying mainly in hostels too so we made ourselves into a group of three, which later turned into a group of 4 after meeting a British guy in a similar manner in Galway. The four of us rented a car together and made our way around Ireland singing along to classic 80s songs while making stops at Medieval castles to kiss the Blarney Stone. We drank too much and I laughed more than I had in awhile. I’m talking crying laughing at almost nothing in particular but being stupid happy that I couldn’t help it, nor was I bothered when I let out an occasional snort laugh.
So moral of the story here is to plan a guideline of a trip, and then roll with whatever comes your way. Get lost in cities and become friends with strangers. We have gained lifelong friends from traveling Ireland this way.
So please, do yourself a favor and ask the lady at the bus stop where you should go next.
(Please note that under that large raincoat is a very protected camera. )