Monday, 13 February 2012: We went to the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher. Imagine the greatest view of the ocean you have ever seen, then times it by 12 and you have how stunning the Cliffs were.
We left our hostel at 6am, walked to the Tourism Office and got on our tour bus by 6:50am. Our tour guide was a funny woman named Patricia (not Pat). We all slept for like an hour on the bus, and then I was so blown away by the countryside that I couldn't sleep. We drove through Moneygall, Ireland, which is famous for being the ancestral home of President Obama, stopped for donuts and coffee in a small town where Braveheart was filmed. Then we continued on to the Cliffs.
I realized that this would be my first time seeing the Atlantic Ocean. I have seen the Pacific from Washington, Oregon, California, and Mexico, but never seen the Atlantic. It made me feel closer and farther away from home. The land was green and the weather was nice, with just a little mist blowing up from the water. It felt like the Oregon Coast. We took some silly photos and some nice photos and every few minutes we just stood there in silence marveling at the Cliff's majesty. Okay so the wind almost make it unpleasant but we were having such a silly and perfect time, that when the wind took me down a hill and I scrapped up my bad knee I still had a good time. The wind may also have blown Taylor down five stairs and me up another hill. Still, it was beautiful.
After the Cliffs we had lunch at this tiny restaurant in a tiny town called Doolin. I ordered the Fish and Chips, which I am sure would make my mom jealous. I think they killed a entire shark and fried it up for me. Red Robin's got nothing on Ireland.
We saw so much of the countryside that I fell hard for Ireland. Two wild miniature ponies actually blocked the road for a few minutes, like in every movie ever filmed about Ireland. There were boats in every harbor and small cars along the roads. It was exactly as I had envisioned in my dreams with it's rolling hills of green and stone walls, and fields littered with White houses. The greens of Ireland are almost sickeningly beautiful. It reminded me some of the greens of the Northwest, but Ireland's lack of trees seemed almost strange. It was beautiful none-the-less. It could take your breath away and never give it back.
Tuesday, 14 February 2012: The last full day in Dublin was grand. Everyone slept in, and then we wandered over to a small diner called the Cinnamon Café. It had a crowd of regulars and we stuck out like sore thumbs but it had really good food so no one minded. Some of us wandered to the shopping district where we browsed through shops and ate gelato.
Around four I went for a walk alone, simply tired of being around people. I found a tiny café with big couches and curled up with my new book and a cup of Chai Tea. It was a perfect way to unwind and just get away. Then I wandered along the Liffey River, in the direction of my hostel, taking photos.
We all met back up at the hostel and decided to go to the Temple Bar area for dinner and music. The music started at 7:30 and we all just sat back in our booth, listening and drinking and laughing and eating our burgers and fries. I finished off the trip with a pint of Guinness and then a pint of Bulmer's. When the young kids showed up around 9:45 we decided it was time to leave. Some of us headed back to the hostel and some of us went to another pub for more music and drinking. I called it a night around 11pm and it was a perfect end to a perfect trip.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012: I left my hostel at 10:30 am. I arrived to my home in Grenoble at 11pm. It was a long day of traveling. I drank a caramel latte at Starbucks, like a true Seattlelite (I actually miss the taste of burnt coffee). There were lots of boring little travel dramas but I eventually collapsed on my bed and slept like a baby, my head still filled with thoughts and memories of Ireland.
I now understand why my parents loved it so much, why my dad is obsessed with their music, and why everyone who goes to Ireland comes back in love. The Irish parts of you get bigger when you go to Ireland, and you start to feel like anyone there could be your family. It is a welcoming like you've never experience. It grabs you by the heart with it's kindness and old Irish charm and makes you wonder why anyone would live anywhere else.
I don't think I will ever be able to forget that trip, and I know I never want to.