The weekend that I went to Ireland was the weekend that I fell in love…with Ireland, that is. It is seriously the most gorgeous place I have ever been privileged to visit thus far in my travels. Although the school took a trip this same weekend, a few of us decided to go independently-scary thought! Everything turned out perfectly though!
Three girls and I booked a three day Ring of Kerry Paddywagon tour and it turned out seven boys from Harlaxton had also booked the same tour for the same weekend. So altogether there were ten of us from the college. Taking a Paddywagon tour was the best decision we could have possibly made! We barely had to do any planning which took a lot of the stress off of our shoulders. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone. Their advertising says they are the number one tour in the world and I would have to agree.
The first night we got to Dublin and the Paddywagon bus picked us up from the airport and took us to our hostel for free. After getting all settled in, we decided to go check out Dublin. We ended up at a traditional Irish pub that had live music. All we did was sit there, drink a pint, and listen to the music but it was an amazing experience! The music was also traditionally Irish and almost everyone in the pub was very familiar with the songs and were singing along. It was just so great to get to experience some of their culture. Not to mention, I was a huge fan of the music! We went back to the hostel early that night because the paddywagon bus was picking us up bright and early the next morning.
Day 1: The bus picked us up right outside our hostel and we were ready to see the amazing country of Ireland. There were people on our bus from everywhere: Canada, Russia, Australia, China, America (of course), and some English people as well. Our first stop was at Dunquaire Castle where we finally got to get outside and experience the countryside for ourselves. After spending some time there, we loaded back up, and made our way to the Mini Cliffs of Moher, which we thought were the most amazing things we had ever seen until our next stop. The Cliffs of Moher. I have never experienced something so breathtaking in my life. I could not believe that nature made something like this. I took a ton of pictures, but pictures cannot do it justice. One must experience this with their own eyes. That night, our whole tour group stayed at the same hostel that had a pub attached to it. We all ended up hanging out together in the pub that night singing karaoke which was a ton of fun!
Day 2: We spent most of this day along the Atlantic coast. We visited a beach where the water was ice cold. However, all the boys from Harlaxton decided it was a good idea to swim in it. They were brave. I just put my feet in and they were instantly numb. I can’t imagine going fully in the water. Once again, the site was beautiful. We then drove a little more and visited an extremely old church that was made entirely of stone and was smaller than the size of my dorm room. Once again, the countryside out there was gorgeous. That night, we made it to Killarney where we went on a carriage ride through the National Park. It was unbelievable. Even though it was a bit cold and wet, it was totally worth it! There was wildlife everywhere. It amazed me how calm the deer were around people. After the carriage ride, we went back to the hostel, warmed up, and got ready for the night. Our bus driver, Barry, and most of the other people on the tour went out to eat together. It was nice to get to talk to the people from other parts of the world and hear their stories. After dinner, all of us Harlaxton kids met up with some of our friends that were on the school trip and decided to go to some pubs. We ended up at a pub that had the most amazing cover band any of us had ever heard and we decided to stay there for the night. They played music from RHCP to Oasis. We all had a great time.
Day 3: We made the drive to Blarney Castle, climbed all those narrow steps, and kissed the Blarney Stone. According to the legend, I now have the gift of gab. After kissing the stone, we made our way around the gardens and the wishing steps, where we all took turns walking up and down the steps with our eyes closed, making a wish. After the Blarney Castle, we hopped on the bus and made our way back to Dublin. We then got to tour the Guinness Storage House. Although we didn’t get to actually see the brewery, it was still very interesting. We got to learn how Guinness is brewed and how to correctly pour it. Our admission also included a free pint. Although, I’m not a huge fan of Guinness to begin with, I have to admit that it does taste better in Ireland than in America. Unfortunately after that, our Paddywagon tour was over. Our friends from school were also in Dublin that night so we met up with a few of them and found a pub that was putting on quite a show (for free!). We got to see Irish river dancing and some more live music which was amazing. We then made it an early night and caught a cab to the airport where we stayed the night because we had an early flight the next morning.
This was one of the best weekends of my entire life. I would do it again in a heartbeat! However, after a long four day weekend of airports, buses, and hostels it was great to finally be back at the manor!