Writing about Ireland and traveling is not helping my current case of wanderlust.
Day 3 of our 4 night stay in Kerry may have been my favorite. I had been looking forward to some semblance of hiking this whole time after reading about how easy it is to just wander through the countryside of Ireland – if you ask first of course.
Today we were heading to Portmagee to snag a boat to the Skelligs to hike to the top of Skellig Michael. A bunch of monks used to live at the top of this island and if you scramble your way up thousands of stairs you can weave your way in and out of the ruins of their little village. We had perfect weather and great company with our boat operator. I don’t know how my mom did it, but she managed to find the most interesting person to drive our boat – Mr. Joe Roddy.
The family has a long connection with the islands as Joe’s father and his uncles served as lighthouse keepers on Skellig Michael and the business – Joe Roddy & Sons is a family company to be passed through generations. Their website is home to newspaper clippings depicting the many generations involved in the business and Skellig Michael.
Joe Roddy himself is a legend. In 1949 he fashioned a paddle board out of floor boards and tea chests and became the first man to surf the Irish Waves. Think that is amazing? Not only was he the first to surf in Ireland, he was an acrobat, and went on to represent Ireland along with 3 other teammates in Cuba at the World Scuba Championships equip with his own hand-made spear gun where he free-dove 100 ft under the surface to successfully spear a fish.
I strapped on my air-cast and headed out with my mom and brother to head on up the 230 meters to the top of the Island.
My mom and brother didn’t quite make it. My brother actually hopped back onto one of the boats to get some fishing done. This is definitely something I recommend for anyone who visits Ireland. Unless of course you hate being outside and hate hiking. Then maybe not for you. But for anyone else, its quite amazing. Especially to see the insane conditions in which these monks lived secluded on the top of this giant mountain 9 miles from shore.
I love how different things like this are from what it would be like in the United States. Take Niagara Falls. There would be signs and fences everywhere. They wouldn’t let you climb around on the rocks with absolutely no safety rails or warnings that you are “At your own risk”. It’s an unfortunate side effect of people being able to sue anyone for their own stupidity.
The next day we departed our little home and headed north toward Galway. You can’t make this trip or really any trip to Ireland without making your way to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. We avoided heading to Limerick and took a ferry across to county Clare. There are main areas with paved paths and guard rails/walls to hold you up top, but you can’t really explore the cliffs without breaking a few rules.
I promise you, Burren, that when I return, we will meet.
We took a detour and drove a bit past Galway to see Ashford Castle. The castle was originally build in 1228. That is, excuse my Cali, hella old.
Now it is a hotel. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I think I’m leaning more in the negative direction.
We weren’t in Galway too long. By this point, we were all exhausted and tempers were flaring a bit. It was the eve of our 21st birthday and my mom, brother, and I just chose to stay in the hotel bar that evening and have a few drinks. My mom had her first jager bomb. She feels the same way I do about them – ew.
Remember when I mentioned that my brother wasn’t feeling well? Yeah. He wasn’t. He ended up catching a good case of Strep Throat. That sounds like a fun disease to travel with!
After my mom and I explored a bit of Galway, we stayed in that night to prepare for our trip back to Dublin and our last 2 nights in Ireland. I was grumpy. I was used to Chile when we were out every night and exploring every day. Here, I was cooped in a hotel room again after staying in a house for 4 evenings in the middle of Kerry. Not that it wasn’t amazing and beautiful, it just wasn’t what I was used to.
The last night we were in Ireland, my brother and I headed over to watch our friend’s brother in a soccer match. My mom surprised us with a night in this beautiful hotel which I have 0 pictures of and can’t remember the name to save my life. Clearly a bit worn out!
I definitely want to make it back either on my own or with one other person. I want to explore more of the country and make my way up to Northern Ireland. There is so much to see and so much to think and reflect on. It would be lovely to see where my family is from and see where part of my family originated. I definitely want to read more about the history and lore of all of the places we have visited and where I wish to go. Hopefully I have a camera by then!