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I made my way to Derry after leaving the Henry home. It’s a really cute walled city with a lot of history. (Some call it Londonderry…) I wandered around for a few hours, walked into a pub and was offered a pint to play a song. So, I did. Liam introduced himself and we played Black is the Colour together, and old Irish song that I learned after Clare recommended it, him on his little flute, and it was a really nice moment. He told me about some history of the walls and it was really interesting. He invited me for a bite to eat and to play more, but I decided to keep wandering and made my way to catch my bus to Sligo. I was a bit sad getting on the bus to Sligo, after leaving Karen and her family. I think it was the first day I was homesick. Its not even that I necessarily wanted to be home, but I started to miss the regularity of a routine and the comforts of what I knew. I do enjoy a good long bus ride, though, and it was nice to just and enjoy the view. The Irish countryside is so green and hilly and mountainous. For a moment I had internet and I was able to chat with my roommate who said she made another improv team, and I’m just so happy for her to be really following her dreams and being so successful at it. It made me questions what I’m being successful at. Sometimes I feel like I’m actually really bad at travelling, and at life in general. But, I keep going.
I got into Sligo and looked for the hostel I had heard of, but couldn’t find it, so I went to the one I spotted on the way into town. I rang the bell and he was surprised at my late arrival but welcomed me in and showed me around. He commented on the influx of travellers he had come across from Chicago lately, and informed me that down south, the Irish would be much friendlier and not as afraid to talk to people. Quite curious, I thought, since the north had been really kind to me! The two sharing my room were a french couple that had been hitchhiking and they said it was really easy! That tempted me to try it for myself but I knew I would end up just taking the bus since where I was going next was a bit far. After face timing with my best friend, I went to bed and got up early to check out this little town of Sligo. I hung out along the river and wandered through the little streets before taking the free walking tour. Our guide was really nice and we bonded over travelling solo as she told me some of her backpacking experience in South America. When I told her I had come from Derry previously, she said she’d been meaning to get up there and that they do love their music. It was a really nice little city tour and touched on a lot of history in the cute little town. After the tour I had some lunch before taking a nature walk and setting up my hammock. I treated myself to some Irish coffee while I read and waited for my next bus to Galway. It started to get gloomy so I was okay to be leaving, but felt I had toured and appreciated this little town sufficiently.
When I got into Galway, it was raining pretty bad and I found the easiest hostel to get to, which also boasted of being the top rated that year. It was more expensive than I wanted but I couldn’t be bothered to look further than that, and it did have a nice atmosphere. I spoke briefly with a boy from Dublin and when I said I was making my way to Cork, he said they were stuck up down there and that Dubliners are the best Irish. It was so weird to hear all these different opinions the Irish had of each other. I was glad when it stopped raining so that I could go out a bit around Galway and walked down to the Latin Quarter. There was a lot of people out and a lot of live music. The singer of one group was really cute and I enjoyed just watching them while I sipped my Bulmers Irish cider. I got back to the hostel and a drunk boy tried to explain to me the difference between gypsies and travellers, that he was a traveller, but gypsies steal, it was weird. The next morning, the breakfast at the hostel was very good, and I tried to decide what to do with myself and started chatting with a few other travellers. Since it was a nice day they encouraged me to check out the cliffs of Mohr, but I was also getting messages from a couch surfing host on the Aran islands who encouraged me to come out there for the day since it was nice weather there, too, and they had cliffs out there, also. Its hard deciding what to do when you’re travelling alone, asking yourself, what DO I want to do today? So, since this guy on the island seemed cool, and I was a little annoyed with all the tourists in Galway, I bought my ticket for the ferry out there. I wandered around the town for a bit and it was really cute, and had a really nice set up along the water with some ports and beaches.
I got onto the island after a bit of a choppy ferry ride and started walking up to the hostel where my host was staying. A nice guy let me hitch a ride on his bus, and I found out he used to own the hostel where I was headed. It was a huge big house with a lot of beds, and the owner was a Caribbean French chef. My host, Glen, was from New Zealand and was volunteering for a few weeks after travelling for awhile and before travelling some more. He had to check in a group of 30 high school kids that were staying at the hostel, too, but then we went out for a hike to the cliffs. It took us about two hours over some rocky terrains and passed some old stones buildings, abandoned light houses, and a huge walled fortress. Some horses blocked our path at one point so we had to trek through some tall grassland and I was glad that there weren’t any snakes in Ireland. The cliffs were beautiful and we watched the waves for a while and had a cider and he snapped some touristy shots of me. We had great conversations about our travels, particularly Iceland, and the funny people we had met. After a nice four hour hike we headed back to the local pub and he told me about some small island town drama and goings on. We headed back to the hostel because he had to serve dinner to another couple that was staying at the hostel and I had some wine and snacks that I’d brought and I had a really nice shower. It was a ridiculously huge hostel. I chatted with one of the teachers, Johnny, who had gone fishing while the kids were off learning some Irish dancing. He was from Dublin and he seemed pretty nice.
Once Glen was finished working we sat down to watch a movie, Green Streets, and had some ciders. He went to take a shower and I went outside to have a smoke and started chatting with Johnny and the other teacher of the school trip. I fell into conversation with them about the Irish and Ireland and their opinions and it was really fun, and I felt bad about leaving Glen, but when Johnny said lets go down to the pub real quick, hope on my bike, I just went with it, even though I was in pajamas and had no cash on me. Its not that I wasn’t having fun with Glen, but I just kept going with the moment. We got down to the pub and it was closing up but we got a pint and there were a few people still hanging out around the musicians that were lingering, and Johnny told me to play some songs, so, I did, and it was really fun! I started singing with the Irish girls and we kept finding songs that we could sing together, Fleetwood Mac and Kelly Clarkson in particular. We got ushered out onto the patio with some bottles of wine and I started chatting with the American guy, Jason, who was hanging out there, too, and he offered me a ride to Cork if I got the ferry to Doolin instead of going back to Galway with my return ticket. I was quite happy to find a ride so I agreed.
Although I felt bad about ditching my host, it turned into a really fun evening. I loved playing music for the bar and I found a ride to my next destination. It is very strange how things work out. It was hard to wake up in the morning and Glen was disappointed in me, and that sucked, and I felt really bad, but I hitched a ride to the port and went on my way. The Irish guy who gave me a ride told me that we should give Trump a chance. It was very bizarre and I was quick to get out of that car. On the dock, I ran into the others from the night before and Jason helped me get on board. The ferry to Doolin was a little rough because it was a smaller boat, and the weather was pretty shit that day, and we were all hungover… But at least we were in it together!