We’re in Dublin again, with the Contiki Ireland group and with working wi-fi again! Thank you sweet Jesus!
We have been incredibly lucky with Irish weather while on this trip. It was sunny and hot for a majority of our time here but it seems we capped out on our luck yesterday and it’s been raining ever since. Shame, but at least about 10 of us can say we were probably some of the only people in existence who managed to get a sunburn in Ireland!
Here’s a recap of where we managed to go on Day’s 3 & 4 with Contiki:
Londonderry – Another walled city but these walls were formed in the 17th century to protect Ireland from invasion. Our first night here was a bit of an adventure, we arrived at the end of the day on Day 2 right around dinner time but couldn’t manage to find anywhere other than “The Diamond” to eat because it happened to be the only place open – in the whole city! It worked out well though, they offer a free drink with all of their 5-7 GBP entrees. Let’s just say everyone left happy! The following day marked the start of Day 3 where our Contiki Team Leader, James, introduced us to Ronan Macklemara, the only Irish Buddhist in Northern Ireland who also happened to be our local guide! This great man, and I mean great, taught us the history behind the 17th century walls and the conflict that happened in Londonderry between the Protestants and the Catholics – particularly on Bloody Sunday which devastated not only Londonderry, but Ireland as a whole. Once done the tour we headed off to Galway for our next adventure.
Galway – I loved this place. It was a smaller city but so full of life. There were local singers and artists lining the streets as you walked down the city centre. The city itself has a very young feel to it, every other building is painted in a bright colours with music ringing into the streets from it’s doors. This is where we all had our first big night as a group. We packed up and piled into Monroe’s for dinner and drinks before heading off to the Quay’s, the COOLEST live music joint that you have ever seen. It literally looks like an old church inside, complete with a library turned into another drinking corner. We listened to the band play all of our classic favorites and some local hits as we danced the night away shamelessly (we really should have been ashamed at times).
Day 4 – We all woke up feeling like complete ass (sorry) before heading off on the WORST ferry ride of our lives to the beautiful Aran Islands. Don’t get me wrong, both the ferry and the view along the way were absolutely great. It’s the waves that had us all seasick and throwing up off the back of the boat. Thankfully, I didn’t actually puke, but I was definitely outside on the back of the boat with a handful of others who would also have rather been dead than on that boat at that moment. Once the miserable boat ride was over, we realized it was worth the nausea – it was absolutely beautiful! We walked to a little bike rental shop, picked up a few bikes and rode around the island to soak it all up. We rode around for about 3 or 4 hours hitting some of the most beautiful beaches and seeing some of the most ancient sites all within a few kilometers of each other. We saw horses, plenty of cows and even a seal colony along the way! I also discovered that I am definitely not the most graceful biker anymore after I ran myself into a stonewall along the way but brushed it off as a filming accident. It wasn’t. This place is exactly how you would picture a small Irish town, and better. It was so peaceful and so quiet which was refreshing after the night we had. It was so beautiful that a few of us contemplated intentionally going “missing” and spending the rest of our lives there, possibly because no one wanted to step back on the boat to go back! Sadly, we all boarded the dreaded ferry back but most of us managed to sleep the entire way. I guess that’s what hangovers & 4 hour of biking will do for you!
We topped the night off with a BBQ at one of the local pubs before we all called it a night and reflected on how sad we were to be half-way through our Contiki trip.
Don’t forget you can book your next adventure with Contiki and save $100 using the code below. Happy travels!!