Life on the road: Driving the Emerald Isle

The promise of spring has put a pep in my step and a recent road trip through southwest Ireland has me inspired to start planning out more stories for Olly and the Bee. But first, I hope you enjoy this witty little post written by the Bee who was equally inspired after returning home from our little adventures abroad with Olly.

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Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way. Cliffs, seafood, Guinness and toasties.

Our first stop was a small pub called Connolly’s in Kinvara. Christina and I strolled in with Olly, as usual we were in the bar before asking if dogs were allowed. We later learnt that’s not how it is done in Ireland.

It wasn’t long before we got chatting to a very nice Irish chap who took an uncomfortably long, awkward pause before returning conversation. It’s true, alcohol slows reaction time. Nonetheless he, like everyone else we met, was very friendly and welcoming. Also like many other locals we met, he had connections with the U.S. and owns a border collie. I’ve never seen so many border collie’s in my life. Luckily Olly is part border collie, so between his genes, my ginger beard and Christina’s US-ness, we fitted in pretty well. That is, apart from our GB number plate, so I made an effort not to over take anyone or draw any attention to my London driving skills.

I had my two pints of Guinness and we called it a night.

Thanks to our first Airbnb host Linda, we started off day 2 with a hot tip for hot chocolate. Within the impressive landscape of The Burren, we found Hazel Mountain Chocolate. It was wonderful. I’m a 31 year old man and I like hot chocolate surrounded by shabby chic furniture, I’m man enough to admit it.

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The following few days were shaped by the spectacular south west coastline; the Cliffs of Moher (€6 per person), Rossbeigh beach (free) Bray Head (free), Mizen Head (€7.50 per person)

What was most spectacular about this coastline, was how easy it was to fall off the edge if you wanted to. International students, young families, old families, all jumped the wall to stand on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher. There was a guy playing the flute, possibly subconsciously luring tourists towards the edge. The only thing standing between them and a long fall into the Atlantic Ocean was a sign suggesting they keep to the path. Christina, Olly and I very briefly swayed from the path, before retreating to safety.

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We almost walked through the gale force winds to the end of Mizen Head, until I remembered the lady who sold us the tickets said don’t go that far. It made me wonder, have there been fatal accidents? Was this why they called it the Wild Atlantic Way? Christina and I like our lives, so we held hands and sped walked back over the bridge.

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At times it was blustery, at other times sunny, we saw beautiful rainbows, but no tiny ginger guys with pipes and gold.

These conditions actually worked in our favour throughout the trip, most of all when our ferry got cancelled.  Alas, what can you do with an extra night in Dublin? Obviously find a good pub and drink as much Guinness as possible.

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The next morning we checked in to the ferry port with 5 minutes to spare. One final thing to note, parks in central Dublin seem to be locked in the morning, who knows when they open.

The real treasure of the trip was getting in some much needed family time in this fast paced world. I reluctantly head back to 10 hour work days and 6 hour sleeps until the next adventure.

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