Friday, October 22, 2004

Travel Advice for Ireland

Here are a few words of advice for you, if ever you get to Ireland in October.

Never eat eggs before your boat trip to Skellig Michael. It's a rough trip and you will revisit them. (More about that in a later posting. No pictures, I am afraid, I was too sick to move. Ever seen "The Perfect Storm"? Uh huh, yeah. )

The coldest interior space on Earth is an Irish bathroom. You will see your breathe when you come out of the shower. Irish people are very hardy.

The coldest single documented surface on record is an Irish toilet seat. Girls, one word of advice: hover.

Always stay at a B&B above a bar, and do your damndest to stay at one that is family owned and has a nun in the family.

Hike the Gap of Dunloe. Do it twice if you have the energy. Prepare for every kind of weather...rain, sun, heat, wind, cold and sheep.

Whenever you see a sign to a place that's called "The Hill of...", just go there. Climb that hill and make the most of it. The Hill of Slane and the Hill of Tara will always be in my head as two of the most magical places that exist.

We saw the Hill of Tara just before my flight back to Oslo, it was less than an hour away from the airport. It was incredibly windy, winds were about 40mph or so. It was so windy that you could lean into it and it would hold you up. Backwards or forwards! I hollered and screamed and "woohoo'ed" and played bird because it was so wild and exhilarating. 360 degree views, feels like you are on top of the world, you climb up and over and down the remnants of the hill fort and BAM there is the view. There is a small church on the hill, just down beneath the top, with trees and a small graveyard, and the wind just roared thru the trees, blowing the leaves perpendicular. Such a sound, such power and uplift and song. That, coupled with the history of the place and the views, well, you can see why it is a holy place, why thousands of years of ceremony and myth are attached to the place.


To have that perfect Irish experience, wild, pagan, windswept and awe inspiring, and then be at the airport in less than an hour, well, that's sort of the crux of Ireland. Wilder than any place you've ever been, but civilization (if that's a good thing or not, you decide) is always a step away.

So, my last bit of advice when traveling in Ireland:

Put your schedule aside, let the travel take you where it may, don't be in a hurry, and let serendipity be your guide.

Go ahead, climb that hill!

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