I find that plane trips are good times to see movies that I probably would never get around to watching otherwise. Thus, as I set off on my long-awaited trip to Ireland, I fired up Purple Rain on the in-flight entertainment system. Somehow, I had managed to live through the eighties without seeing it…except, when I started to watch it, I realized that I had actually seen pretty much the whole thing (minus some nudity and a few points that I guess were collectively considered a plot), as practically the whole movie was contained in various videos by Prince and Morris Day. Even so, I felt good about having filled in one pop cultural blind spot from my childhood.
But never mind that. This post is about Ireland (which is notoriously rainy but not notoriously purple, so I won’t try to sell you that connection since it would be a stretch). My traveling companions (my husband Ian and good friends Michelle and Friday) arrived in Dublin on a Thursday morning. Not fully appreciating how exhausted we would all be from the long flight and the jet lag, we’d planned to set out right away in our rental car to see some sights, eventually making our way to Ballyvaugn, where we would spend two nights.
I was incredibly happy to not have the responsibility of driving. Even being a passenger in a car that drives on the left is weird. My jet lag-addled mind began to overcompensate for the weirdness, completely reversing right and left, such that, when someone told me to look at some lovely view to my right, I looked left instead. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure everyone in the car (and the rest of Ireland for that matter) was glad I was not the one behind the wheel. Ian, on the other hand, did a great job staying on the proper side of the road, maneuvering through the seemingly endless series of roundabouts, and navigating the ridiculously narrow roads, avoiding collisions with rock walls on the left and gigantic tour buses on the right.
Did I mention that the roads are narrow?
Our first stop was the Hill of Tara. As we made our way back toward the car after taking in the views there, a couple walking about 20 feet in front of us stopped, turned around, and began lightly clapping their hands together and calling, “C’mere Friday! C’mon, Friday!” From behind us, a dog came bounding toward the couple. My companions and I all burst out laughing. The couple regarded us curiously, but hen we revealed that there was also a person among us named Friday, they laughed right along with us.
I’m not entirely sure this sign is useful.
Next, we headed for Galway, which held the promise a Ferris wheel. I had never actually set out to collect rides on European Ferris wheels, but it somehow became a thing for me. It started with the London Eye, which was followed by the Wheel of Gothenburg, a Ferris wheel at a traveling carnival in Amsterdam, and the Wiener Riesenrad in Vienna. Hoping to add to my collection, I did a google search before the trip and found a Ferris wheel at a place in Galway called Leisure Land. The website indicated that a large amusement park, which includes a Ferris wheel, operates throughout the summer months. Score!
Apparently, not everyone considers September a summer month (hello, the first three weeks of it are technically still summer!) because we arrived to find that the wheel had been removed for the season at the end of August. Boo!
We are sad because someone stole the Ferris wheel!
We assuaged our disappointment with food and beer at Olso Bar and then wandered around Galway for a bit.
Another not-so-useful sign.
We left Galway, braved more narrow roads and roundabouts, and at last arrived in Ballyvaughn alive and well.
At last, a useful sign!
After settling in and exploring the grounds of the goat farm where we were staying, we decided that we should buy some beer (and maybe some food, but we’d had a late lunch, so beer was the higher priority). Alas, we arrived at the local grocery store five minutes after it closed. Next, we tried a gas station, only to discover they did not sell beer. Who knew it would be so hard to buy alcoholic beverages in Ireland? Don’t the Irish kind of have a reputation for drinking every now and then? Perhaps my karmic punishment for putting stock in such stereotypes was coming in the form of beerlessness.
Searching for beer in the sprawling metropolis of Ballyvaughn
The gas station clerk kindly advised that there was a nearby off-license store (meaning an establishment that sells alcohol for off-premises consumption–hey, I learned something new!) that opened at 7:30. We strolled about Ballyvaughn until the store opened, purchased libations, and headed back to our place for a few drinks, some relaxation, and sweet, sweet sleep.