It’s always good to catch up with friend you’ve met while travelling. I met my friend Jack in Vietnam when we were both teaching English together in Hanoi. Jack lives in Southern Ireland, and so I went to go and see him a visit for a few days.
It’s a little greener than it was when I took off from London!
It turns out that I actually arrived on the last day of what is the biggest annual festival in the region. We went out that night and I got a taste for a few things, such as Guinness, Irish slang and gatecrashing.
The next day, Jack’s Father Robert kindly took Jack, his friend Donagh and I on a bit of a drive through the region. They live in Tralee, which is a very nice place that reminded me of home.
Highlighted is the Kerry region. We drove from Tralee towards Dingle and stopped off at a surf beach on the way. I highly recommend visiting this region of Ireland if you’ve got the time. It’s a lot cheaper, friendlier and scenic than Dublin. I know the two can’t be compared but it’s a good place to visit if you want to get away from the city.
The roads around here are the type that make you want to pay attention while driving, as the cliffs and rocks below would be rather unforgiving. There’s some wicked scenery around that coast line.
In the photo below are the Irish equivalent to Igloos. They’re Beehive huts, or a Clochan. Nobody knows exactly when they started being built but the general consensus is that they appeared after the 12th century.
Around dusk we reached Dingle, which is a spot often visited by tourists. It’s a cool little Irish town with a lot of character. The locals around here all speak Gaelic to each other, and there’s Gaelic writing on most signs.
What I found the most entertaining about this place was that all the pubs (there’s never a shortage of them in Ireland, and you can count on all of them to sell Guinness) aren’t only pubs. One will be a hardware shop, and a pub, and the other one will be a haberdashery, and a pub, and so on.
You go in, and on one side there’s a bar and on the other side you can buy a child’s bike, some coriander or maybe some rat poison.Whatever you need really, with a Guinness.
Beers on the left, rat poison and self-tappers on the right.
After visiting Jack for a couple of nights, I left with a couple of his friends to head up to Belfast for a night to see the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. There’s a 4 hour bus which leaves at 5.30am to go to Dublin, where you catch another 90 minute bus to Belfast. You don’t stop at the border.
The little village where we stayed outside the city of Belfast. Quaint, rather. Accommodation was through the roof in the city as thousands of people came to Belfast for the concert. It was great craic (pronounced ‘crack’- Irish for ‘a jolly good time’ – don’t ask me).
I had to endure an hour of Fall Out Boy but the Chillis were well worth the pain. Such a great gig. this was the first time I’d been to a large scale concert since I’ve been gone. It was somewhat refreshing to have a change from electronic music, truth be told.
I didn’t get much of a chance to explore Belfast, but after my visit to Dublin I’m definitely coming back so I’ll have a chance then. I think that’s one of the best things about travelling; you can narrow down which countries you love and so you know where you’ll put the effort in to visit.
After Belfast I took a direct bus down the country and spent three nights in Dublin, which is an amazing city with some of the friendliest people I’ve met. Blog post coming soon, once my veins are refilled with blood and not Guinness.