The world knows I don’t like fish. I make it a known point on this blog. With that comes a lack of desire to go fishing. Pair that with being on a motion-sick inducing boat to catch said fish, which equates to the worst time ever. I had a feeling I would be going fishing in Ireland, based on the loads of fishing photos Ciaran has posted on his Facebook. Even though I’m not keen on fishing, I was up for anything he suggested. I was just happy to be experiencing a new country.
We went to a beach about fifteen minutes from the center of Cork with Ciarans fishing rods in hand. Two of his buddies also came along for the ride. Ciaran had a couple very large, professionally built rods we could use. It’s the kind where it can catch multiple fish at once. I’ve fished maybe once or twice in my life but it was using a simple rod, with one hook on the end. We lined up near the shore as everyone set up their rods to cast into the sea. I was just glad we weren’t fishing on a boat! I don’t remember the name of the fish they caught but it didn’t really take long to catch them. It was almost instantaneous as soon as the line hit the water, fish were biting. I stood there watching, hoping they wouldn’t ask me to take the fish off the hook. Spiders, snakes, bugs, slugs, any of those are completely fine for me to touch. But a fish? I wouldn’t even touch it with a stick. They’re fugly looking, with those lifeless beady eyes…I can’t do it. When one of the fish fell off the hook onto the sand, at me feet, I just looked at the thing, not wanting to pick it up…even though Ciaran asked me to. Nope.
Ciaran asked me if I wanted to cast a line and gave me a brief lesson on the proper way to do it. Sure, why not? I was doing a horrible job though based on the yells I was getting: “Don’t wind it up so much!”, “No need to flick so hard!”, “Don’t let the rod touch the sand!”, “You gotta do it like this!”. Ey carumba! I did catch something though. I caught the line of the other guy fishing next to me. Ciaran was a patient one, but I decided I was better off as an innocent by-standing supporter. I’ll just hold the bag open for them to put their fish in. At least I got some sand to add to my growing collection.
The Cliffs of Moher
One of the things we really wanted to do was visit the Cliffs of Moher which were situated to the west coast of Ireland. The drive would be a few hours, but would soon prove to be worth the effort. The cliffs were massive! Multiple cliffs, as high as a mountain overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic.
We would walk from peak to peak, bravely overlooking the perches into the ocean. One could easily fall over the edge with a simple misstep or push, as there were no barricades to block us. The Cliffs of Moher supported my previous notion of Ireland being a magical place. It felt like this could have been in those movies set in medieval times where elves and wizards rule the lands and a dragon could appear at any moment. My imagination likes to run wild sometimes.
We stayed at the cliffs for awhile before we made our way back to Cork. Ciaran decided to take me to a hurling match. What the heck is hurling?I’ve never heard of such a sport! It’s the most popular sport in Ireland according to the locals I have met here. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s like a combination of field hockey, soccer, and baseball. Each team of fifteen players, each with a wooden stick called a hurler, try to swat a ball similar to a baseball in the opposing teams goal. One point to hurl the ball into the field goal and three points to get the ball into the actual net. The crowd was really into it!
I spent a few days in Cork and decided before I left Ireland, I should go up north and experience Dublin for a bit. I said my goodbyes to Ciaran and his gracious family and took a bus to Dublin, the nations capital. There I met up with Shane and we explored the city for a bit. I also had my first Irish Stew at one of the many pubs scattered everywhere in the city. I liked Cork, but I think I liked Dublin a little more. There was a lot more to do and had tons of sights to see.
Unfortunately we weren’t in Dublin long enough to really get our hands dirty, but we did manage to catch a football match thanks to Shane. He won some tickets and we caught a friendly match between the Republic of Ireland vs Oman. It was at the Aviva stadium. I enjoyed it a lot!
Thanks Shane for that! Shortly after, we parted ways. He headed back outside of the city and I went to a hostel to get ready for my early flight out of the country. Where was I going next? Well, I never intended on going to England on this leg of the trip, but here I was with a booked flight to Manchester to visit my old traveling buddy, Lucy Wright. Remember her? She’s been part of this blog since I started blogging! I met her two years ago in South Africa and reunited with her last year in Vietnam. It was time to go to England; Sheffield to be more specific. My flight wasn’t until six in the morning which meant I had to take a really early bus from the hospital to the airport. I was afraid to go to sleep in the hostel out of fear of sleeping through my alarm and missing my flight, so I chilled out in the lobby with my bags playing on my iPad. Thankfully, there was another traveler there from Switzerland waiting around too. He and I talked awhile which made time go by faster until my bus finally came and picked me up. These early morning bus and flights suck bad, but it happens.
I’m going back to England!