Thursday, March 4, 2010

My name is Donal! Say it like you know me!

Last weekend was the epic trip to Ireland. We flew out of Zurich on Friday afternoon and arrived in Dublin somewhere around supper time. There was no time for eats, as we rented 3 cars and began our journey across the island. We wound up in Galway in the late evening, after my navigator for us lost a couple of times (jab at Rachel, but jokes because it was quite an adventure). Surprisingly, driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road wasn't an issue what so ever.

In Galway, we found a place to park the cars and checked in at the hostel. We then got pizza, which was delicious. Then, we walked out the door and went to the closest pub, a respectable distance of 5 meters away. The pub had some DJ playing the biggest hits from the last 30 years all night. It was quite fun. We had a few beer. I also got myself a hooker.

Now before you get ahead of yourself in shock or disgust, I should inform you that Hooker is a type of Irish ale. it is quite light with a strong taste of hops but lacks the bitterness usually associated with hoppy beer. Guinness was also consumed that night, as one would expect to do while visiting Ireland. In fact, Bruce kept ordering 9 at a time. If you did that in Calgary, the bartender would probably get pissed off. These guys loved it and even brought out 9 shots of Sourpuss for Bruce and Co.

The following day, we headed off rather early to Doolin, the coolest place ever. On the way there, we drove a coastal road which was quite awesome. We stopped randomly at a castle, stopped at a pier, went to the ocean, and drove through The Burren.

<--- This is the convoy, stopped at some farmers field to take pictures on a stone wall.

Upon stopping in Doolin to check in at the hostel, we went to a pub for some lunch. They served food early just for us, but only offered a limited menu. Luckily, we were all more than happy to have fish and chips (except Luke, who just HAD to be different). Once again, Guinness was consumed. After lunch, we headed off to the Cliffs of Mohr. They are quite large.

<---A group of Canadians looking over the edge at the water some 320m below.

Bianca and I then decided to jump over a wall like most people do, so we could get a cool view of the cliffs.

<---This is what we came up with.

Once we had our fill of really tall cliffs, we drove back to Doolin and checked out a nearby abandoned church. Then I took a nap. Then I woke up and it was really, really cold. Then on to the pubs!

There are a total of three pubs in Doolin, probably because it's a town of only 500 people. On that particular weekend, there was a traditional music festival there. So the pubs had live music and were very, very busy. It was great. But they were too packed to get pub food for supper, so we opted for some Italian. That turned out to be a terrible mistake. But the beer at the pub made up for it. More Guinness!

We met some Irish guys who were quite drunk. This one guy (Bill) was getting married the following day, so his stag party was that night. He was having a good time to say the least, and his buddy Donal was talking to us for a while. We couldn't hear his name, so it took a few tries to get it right (this is where the title comes from, if you hadn't already guessed it).

All in all, the night was a tame one, and it ended fairly early considering the party atmosphere. It didn't end empty-handed though. I walked out with a half-pint of Guinness and made a bee-line to the hostel. No questions asked, and now I've got a pretty sick souvenir!

The following morning, we headed out early because we had a fair bit of driving ahead of us. The pub wasn't serving breakfast yet, so we opted to find something a little down the road. We ended up in some other random town at a Spar (which is essentially the European version of 7-11). Most of us guys got breakfast sandwiches, and man were they meaty and huge. Picture a foot-long sub with 2 sausages, 3 slabs of ham, an egg, 2 black puddings, and sauce. My arteries got clogged just looking at it. But it was SOOOOOOOO good.

Some time down the road, we arrived at our first official pit stop. Bunratty Castle. We got a tour from an Irishman. He was quite pleasant.

<--- Bunratty Castle.

After the pit stop, we blitzed for Dublin. We needed to return the cars by 17:00 or we'd be charged an additional day. We made it.

That evening in Dublin, the group split up a little bit. One group went with Luke to a restaurant, while those with out priorities straight went to a pub. The pub food was great as always, and super filling. I tried out a couple of other beer while there, naturally. Upon completion of our meal, we headed to Spar to get some beer. Then back to the hostel where we took over the main lounging room and watched the hockey game. I don't need to get into details at this point, because I fully expect everyone to have been watching this game. But I will say this: IN YOUR FACE USA.

Monday was the day of departure, but still had a little time to burn. We ate breakfast and strolled around town. Going through the park, the Cana-dar went off and we found Bianca (who had been staying with a friend in Dublin) by accident. We then went to a cafe where I had a mocha and a lemon-poppyseed muffin. Man those are good... I miss them. Then we flew off back to Switzerland.

Tuesday was Germany night to pick up an excessive amount of chicken nuggets for the chicken nugget party on Wednesday at Ziegelhau. Wednesday was the nugget party. Picture 17.5kg of chicken consumed in one evening. Thursday was chill and Friday I went to Schad to watch Moon. No space werewolves! WTH!

To end this post, I inform you all that I will be going to Egypt for a week starting next weekend. Seeing as I have nothing planned for this weekend, there probably won't be anything worth posting until I get back from Egypt. But that post will kick ass.