Friday, March 14, 2008

The Homeland Part 3.

After our trip up the coast we reached the destination where we spent the most amount of consecutive days: Gortahork in the county Donegal. This spot was recommended by a friend because her friend actually owned the pub. It was right across the street from the ocean and had rooms upstairs. We were so excited that I called weeks in advance for reservations. Just so you know, I called like 8 times because no one called me back and each call to Ireland was like $30! Anyway, I guess they work on a different schedule than we do. Turns out that the owner was having some type of family reunion that weekend so we were lucky to actually get a room. And this was probably the only negative thing about our trip: the walls in our room were THIN AS ICE and the family staying in the room next to us had a baby who cried ALL NIGHT! It was hell. But we weren't going to let it ruin our stay.

So we spent a lot of time just traveling around the county, seeing the sites, walking the beautiful beaches, taking the ferry to the Aran Islands, drinking tons of Guinness and eating oysters and mussels until we could eat no more. The food in Ireland was just great. Tons of fresh salmon and seafood, hearty meat dishes and of course fish & chips. It was a delight!

But the pub itself was great. There's something to be said about living above one. You can drink all you want and then go upstairs and pass out. We also felt strangely out of place in this part of the country because everyone speaks Gaelic as their first language. It was very cool but I had no idea what anyone was saying. And when they did speak English, it wasn't much better. I would just raise my glass and smile.

One family we spoke with asked me what MY accent was. I have NEVER been asked that. I said we were from the suburbs of Philadelphia and suggested they visit. The wife's response to me was "I would never go to the US." and I said "Why?" and she said "Because it's too dangerous, everyone gets shot there." I'm serious, she said that. That is her impression of the US. I just laughed and assured her that not EVERYONE carries a gun and that I did not even own a gun and more importantly, I had never been shot. Good times.

So after our 4 day stay in Gortahork. We made our trip back to the airport in Shannon stopping for the sites along the way and staying in Athlone, a modern town in the center of the country along the River Shannon.

It was sad to leave the homeland but we had tons of photos and memories to share.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief trip to the homeland and that you get to visit Ireland sometime so you can experience it all yourself.

But most importantly, have a FAB St. Patricks Day!