So we found ourselves a bit seasick, just off the ferry from Stranraer to Larne. We knew we needed to head south and had a map of sorts, the kind that you get from the car rental place. And ours was from the rental place in Glasgow mind you, I am pretty sure the map we got was not the hot item they were giving out. It was amazing they even had one, and I am glad we had something (again, note the planning).
We drove off the big boat (which is weird if you've never done it before) and were headed towards Belfast, not sure if we would stop or not. My companion — all 24 years of macho boy of him — was a bit of an Irish Catholic boy when we drove into town. He had that look in his eye, like he was looking for trouble. He was peering — with his best stink eye — out the window, looking for the orange, seeing if he could spot "a prod." Oh silly boy, and oh silly girl for believing back then that I should be terrified driving into "the city with the troubles." As if no one in this city led a normal life, ate sandwiches, went to school and dreamed of good things. I knew NOTHING of the struggles, nothing from nothing about the north. So when I took what turned out to be a wrong turn and we ended up in the ghettos of Belfast I thought Tim was going to explode with testosterone oozing out of his pores, trying to give me better directions. *sigh*
We did find our way out, and ended up in this cute little town for a night, Lisburn. We found a B&B, and ate shit fish and chips at this fast food chips place upon recommendation of our proprietor (who clearly had no idea what to do with these weird young american tourists). In the morning we were on our way to Dublin for 3 days. Oh which three days you ask? Oh that would be Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday — in the most Catholic place in almost all the world except Vatican City itself. So there we were, in the big city with Guinness and Jameson, Trinity College and Molly Malone, the river and the shops. All closed or with short hours for the holiday. (Did I mention the planning?)
We took the bus tour for 10 bucks or something – highly recommended. We toured Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells, stunning. On Saturday morning, after waiting two of the longest, driest days of my life, we waited out side the doors near St. James Gate and took the first tour of the (short) day at the Guinness brewery. I swear to you on my grandmothers grave — it was the best wee pint of that black stuff I have ever had in my entire life – at 11 in the morning. Brilliant.
So my dear American friends, when you plan that first trip to Ireland, make sure you know your religious holidays and check up on how the Irish celebrate or you may just end up in the land of Guinness without a single draught pouring that liquid gold.
Next stop — Waterford, kissing that nasty-ass rock, and love on the rocks (aka The Cliffs of Moher).