From Galway to Clifden & Cleggan

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I don’t recall a lot from this part (although I do recall gouging my legs while bushwhacking) and the photos aren’t that great but here are a few shots of me on the trip to get a flavour of where we were.

Funny thing about Casey is that obviously he had an impact on me at the time but I do not remember him in the least now.

And saying goodbye to Em…the interesting part of the story with her was that she ended up marrying Martin. I don’t think they’re together anymore, but it’s always fascinating when you meet people who then go on to forge something stronger than deeper than you’d ever imagine.

Other than that I don’t feel particularly reflective today though so I’m not going to write much more than this. Happy Friday!

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Aran Island Tour & Irish Boys in Bars

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This is where I start writing less frequently but try to catch up so technically the date at the top is the date I wrote but the actual content comes from other days. So even though it says June 5, I’m posting the section that takes place on June 1 since that’s today.

So…20 years ago today I went to the Aran Islands. It was a beautiful trip and it was fun to rent – sorry,”hire” (as I said above) – bikes. It was a beautiful spot. To this day I really remember the Irish coast vividly because I found it so beautiful.

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I think about all the different people I have met along the way already. It was almost addicting, constantly meeting so many people from so many places, everyone willing to go out and have a pint or just hang and chat. So many people doing the same thing, swirling around…locals and travellers alike. And I was young and blonde and loved the attention from boys – there always seemed to be loads of them around to give it to me! Part of the beauty of traveling alone, although I did have my girls to hang with as well and that was a key component of my journey. Seemed to write about them less though…

Galway Girls

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Started speaking a bit more about food. The hostel life leads to a lot of cooking of pasta but I did love the Irish cheddar on a baguette with Granny Smith apple. I don’t know what got me trying it in the first place because I was never really that into mixed fruit with savoury food.

Funny that Irish sweater I bought has been packed away for a long time but just 2 weeks ago, I dug it out so my sister could borrow it for a canoe trip. It’s giant (why did I buy a sweater SO BIG?) but so, so warm. I could never get rid of it – it’s one of the few things from this trip I still have to this day.

I have ever have seen so many sunburned in one place at the same time – I have Irish in my background so I burn, too, but I’ve never seen that much red skin! It was exciting to be able to swim in the ocean in Ireland. It hadn’t been that warm yet on this trip.

Simon was a sweet guy. I’d forgotten that we had our educational background in common. It was exciting to envision using a marketing degree abroad. I don’t think it really dawned on me that it was possible before.

It was a romantic evening,..when we left everyone we just wandered around Galway till we found that gate and talked till all hours of the night. I remembered when I saw Before Sunrise I hoped that one day I would be like Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy and have an experience like that and I got to,

The Irish Tour Begins

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So…taking off across Ireland in the Slow Coach, here’s the route we took. Love how I specified where I stopped and where I didn’t. Colour-coded, no less! Evidently I decided to start writing more and I think that with longer entries, it will show more of my age and, evidently, interest in meeting and hanging out with boys. So forgive me.

I think my problem with Kildare is that I got St. Brigid mixed up with Hildegard of Bingen. Remember having a thing for women saints for a time back then. And I grew up in the United Church – but women having power in a religious context was always of interest to me.  Here’s the cross the man gave me along with the info about it and a photo of the Kildare Cathedral.

But I had a hard time with the bigger cities. Once I saw what I had to see I found them kind of boring because you can access the same fast food restaurants as in other places around the world and you get such a better handle on the flavour of a country when you are in the smaller towns and rural areas as evidenced by my improved mood in Galway.

I like that I mentioned the things about the history and culture that I found meaningful to me. I felt consistently amazed by the preservation of these things. Here’s Newgrange (including the closer-up of yours truly) & Trim Castle from Braveheart:

I remember that pub we went to in Galway even thought I never put the name in. To the point that if you took meet Galway today and it was still there I would know it in a second. That’s the beauty that revisiting this experience provides…memories. Remember these guys well – in fact, Paul and I are friends on Facebook even now. But there was none of them for me like there was for my friend, Em.

Interesting how I analyzed the burger prices. That’s a 23-year-old talking that’s for sure, as I can tell you 43-year-old me doesn’t frequent fast food joints unless I’ve had several pints. But I loved that Veggie Bean Burger that Burger King still make today. It was progressive in Europe to be able to go to a fast food restaurant that you recognized and get a veggie burger – certainly couldn’t do that in Canada in 1997. I had decided to stop eating meat in 1991 and ended up stopping eating poultry in 1995. So cheap vegetarian options were a goal for me. Can’t remember if I was eating fish back then…I’m not sure I was. But I do now…still don’t eat meat or poultry though.