Ireland – The Beginning of the South

We wake.

Bec’s getting a little sick of all the tricks and parking in the centre of towns all the time.

With this in mind, we have head just a little out of town for the night.

We wake to the sound of birds chirping, which is a welcome change to the usual cars passing and punters yelling on some booze-fueled rampage.

We decide to go for a drive to make use of wifi, and to find some skipping ropes. Bec and I have been feeling like we are the epitome of expert weight-gainers, so we have been feeling the need for some sort of physical activity.

We very quickly find that stores don’t just open at the time that best suits us, much to our unsurprised disappointment. So, we get close to a shop that is going to sell us the skipping ropes, and have breakfast in the car park. Bec is dying to go to the toilet, but there is nowhere that we can see at 8:30 in the morning, and every time she even considers going outside, someone will turn a corner, drive past us, or peer down from the office window above.

Needless to say, she holds out.

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We tuck into brekky and wash our hands with cold water in the cold Irish weather. Not ideal. I slap on my clothes, and I am a whole new level of lazy. Thongs with socks cos it was cold last night, thermals with pants that are ripped seam to seam, upkeep hair and a dirty jumper. Its impressively bogan, especially for me. Once we have finished waterboarding our hands, we head over to the boxing shop, which should sell us something. Bearing in mind, that last night, we went and tried 3 different shops, being able to navigate ourselves perfectly into the places we weren’t meant to go. This time, we have good intel.

The bad part of the intel we had, was that the shop didn’t open till 10:30.

That is bad intel.

We kinda just throw our hands in the air, and head to bludge of maccas wifi so we can plan our trip and send the emails we need to send. As we are pulling up at Maccas, it is none other than the exact sports store that we were originally looking for. This is brilliant. We spend the next hour planning how everything is going to go while we explore the south of Ireland.

By the time everything is set, Bec is itching to get on the road, so I am careful not to be too much of what most people would classify as normal me, and I slowly pick and choose my words so as not to create an unnecessary argument.

Was I successful?

Nah.

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Thats what I do. I mean, I could see the line I wasn’t meant to cross. It was just way more fun on the other side, so I ended up having to say sorry, cos thats what you have to do when you act like a touch of a tool. We shoot into the sports store and pick up our skipping ropes and even though they say “speed ropes”, I am a little bit skeptical that they are speed ropes, because they look just like any normal skipping ropes, not speed ropes.

Bastards.

None the less, we want to skipping ropes, so we take what we are given and get on our way. I mean, it took us 5 goes to actually get to a shop that sells them, while they are open. I am just going to take what I can get.

We jump in the car and head south, finally on our trip. This soothes Bec’s need for some more progress in the day.

We hit the country side, and one of the first things we notice is that farmer’s paddocks are just separated by these stone walls. Kinda like in Scotland, but the difference is that the walls in Ireland tend to be a little more rugged and skin-piercing if you were to have a good crack at them. Turns out that I don’t want to have a good crack at them.

We are kinda doing a loop of the bottom of Ireland, back up to Dublin and our first stop is at the Cliffs of Moher. From what I hear, these cliffs are unto 300m tall. Thats not a bad effort. Pretty much everyone says you should go have a sus. As Bec and I are on our way to the Cliffs, we are driving through the countryside, we come over a mountain and we spot to our left a little chocolatier, I look at Bec, “Wanna go check it out?”, she kinda smirks because we already feel like fat heffas since we’ve been on this trip, but still, she replies “Yeah…”

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That is the correct answer. We head around the back, and into the chocolate making section of the joint, and the hipsterest hipster you could imagine comes out to greet us. He beings telling us all about how chocolate is made and the way that different cocoa beans are used to create different flavours and how if you source them from different areas in the world, you get different tastes.

Its pretty much like wines hey.

Pretty darn impressive.

They are one of the few small places that actually will make the chocolate from scratch. Alot of the time, the small spots will get the pre-made chocolate stuff and then add their own little flare to it. These guys start with the beans, roast them combine them with the necessary ingredient, and then let it sit for 3 weeks, almost like it is fermenting, and then chocolate appears. That is seriously impressive. We taste a few, and he shows us that you wanna just take a little bit, put it on your tongue, and then just let the flavours do their thing inside your mouth.

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And we was right. Every chocolate had a different flavour to it.

Not to bloody bad, Mr. Hipster Chocolate, Sir.

We collect our chocolate for the road, which just so happened to be the cheapest one we could find. For the price of the chocolate block we bought, we could buy like 2 super size cadbury chocolate blocks. Not to say that we would, but we would. We keep mishing along our trip, and each time I think that we are getting closer to the cliffs, it turns out that we are just closing in on another mountain…

We zig zag forever and a day through the mountains, until we reach the Cliffs of Moher carpark.

Finally!

The only down side, was that they wanted to charge 6 euro per person for them to do nothing but make sure that you car safely had it’s handbrake on. Bec and I look at each other, and are in no way surprised. Disgusted, yes, but not surprised at all. One thing we have learnt on this trip is that there is always a free alternative to the attractions that cost $$. This was no exception. We decided that we would just keep heading along further and see if there was somewhere to park without paying the $. We drive another 2 mins, and there it is. In all it’s glory, the carpark sign.

Its a home made sign, but it is a sign nonetheless.

We drive.

And drive.

And question whether we made the right decision.

Then drive more.

Then say hi to some cows.

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They are nice cows, and then continue to wonder when this country farm road will end. We zig zag, and there it is.

This random lady…

This godsend…

She turned her front yard into a car park, and its only 2 euro. Bloody hero. We park the car, and begin the hike up to the cliffs. We straddle electric fences and climb nasty stone walls. We’re pretty much just walking around in some dude’s paddocks. The closer you get, the louder the crashing of the waves against the rocky coastline. Ahead of you, all you can see is just endless ocean. One lone ship out in the middle of the ocean.

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Whats even cooler is that from this height, you can even see the swells of the ocean coming in their patterns. Its so mesmerising. When you are down on the beach, its kinda hard to be able to see the patterns in the ocean, but from this height, you can watch the waves heading toward the coast line. Its quite cool. This is something that I would like to have captured better, but really couldn’t quite nail the shot.

Maybe in another life.

The cliffs are pretty much one of the icons of Ireland. Everyone we spoke with said that we have to go and see the Cliffs of Moher, however, its pretty much a really luscious version of the Great Australia Bight.

The place that we were, had this wicked castle erected at the tip of one of the cliffs. I don’t really know what it would have served as, as it looked more like a look out tower than anything else, and certainly seemed to be too old to serve as a lighthouse. None the less, just adding that one detail to the scene took the cliffs from being just something that was pretty and similar to that of the Australia cliffs we knew, to being something that should have served as a scene on Game of Thrones, or Lord of The Rings.

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As we began to edge closer and closer to the cliffs, we noticed that there was noting between us and free falling to heaven. There was what looked like a goat path that seemed to lead along the cliff edge, just 10-20m from the edge, back toward the car park that we opted not to stay at. As we started to wander, we spotted two heads just below the grassy lip. This couple, certainly knew where the best seat in the house was. They had their cheese, crackers and wine out, and have the best view of the cliffs from this little step down before you reached the edge of the cliff.

We didn’t wait around long enough to nick their spot.

We hung around for a good 45 mins, maybe less, but being that we have a lot of ground to cover in Ireland, and less time that we anticipated, we decided that we should start moving along.

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Bec and I zig zag our way back through the farm lands, to the road that we came in on, as we continued on our journey south. The Irish countryside, or at least the south of, is largely the same with a little variety here and there. But, the farmlands stayed much the same feel, with varying amounts of forestry here and there. One thing we noticed was that there was a lot of thorns and thistles which covered the stone walls. These are plants that you really don’t want to have to try and navigate. They stick to anything you are wearing, and leave reminders embedded into the fabric of your clothes, of your foolish attempt for the rest of your living days. Just don’t. It’s easier that way.

Everywhere we went, we saw ruins, or old buildings which were nearly ruins. You would find places jus crumbling, or roofless all the time throughout the countryside. It was quite amazing to see. A lot of the buildings would also have trees and shrubbery growing out through the windows and the roof cavity.

We choose to keep going until we reach a spot that we are happy to just park up for the night. All we know is that we have a few nights to see the south, and how we go about it, is how we go about it. We’ll just hit as many places on our list that we can, and if we need to beeline it back to Dublin, we’ll just do that.

Our first night on the trip of the south, we end up finding ourselves just outside of Kilkenny.

We find ourselves another pub to sit down in while I get some blogging done. We get to watch the culture of the pub ebb and flow. You’ve got the usual older punters who seem to know everyone by name and have no worries with spending a few hours a night there. Throughout our time there though, there were a few different groups of kids come through, who looked like they shouldn’t be allowed in the pub in the first place.

They must literally only just be of age, but it was great to see so many young kids all together and hanging out in the pubs. Irish pubs really have a fun atmosphere to them. Its not quite what I am used to, but I could very easily get used to them.

Come back tomorrow,

Billy

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