Friday, September 23, 2005

Killarney: the biggest little town on Earth

Day One:

I left Cork for Killarney the next day after Blarney Castle. The German girl I had met at Blarney had recommended a good hostel in town and I easily found it from the bus station. It is the famous Sugan Backpacker's hostel. It was amazing! It's in one of Killarney's oldest buildings-- and is certainly the town's oldest hostels. It felt more like a base camp lodge than a tourist retreat. The ceilings are low and musty, with mugs hanging from the rafters and the most eclectic collection of photos hanging from the walls (tribes from various continents, children, former guests and employees, ect.), and there is always some kind of very groovy music playing in the background.
All of the rooms at the Sugan are dorms and all of the bathrooms shared. And when I walked into mine (6 bed female), I was greeted by my German friend. She was sleeping in the bed next to mine-- bizarre coincidence! *shrug*
She was leaving from Kerry Airport to get back to Frankfurt and would be around town for a few days. We went to Murphy's Pub that night to listen to a small trio play traditional Irish music and grab a couple of beers. That was the first night/time I actually went to a pub in Ireland. Looks of shock and surprise may be crossing your faces right now, I have, afterall, been here for 12 days now; but where I come from, girls don't go out to bars by themselves-- and I've just never been that brave. So, yes, pub+ beer+ 3 old guys playing "O Danny Boy" (one of whom slipped my friend his number!): fun was had by all.

Day Two:

The next day the two of us signed up for a Ring of Kerry bus tour. The Ring of Kerry is a tourist trail in County Kerry. The route covers the 110 miles of road, starting from Killarney around the Iveragh peninsula; it passes through Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen and Killorglin. Touristic attraction points are, among others, Muckross House (near Killarney), Staigue Fort and Derrynane House, home of Daniel O'Connell*.
The ring can be done in several hours or several days. We took the 6 hour tour, and thanks to some awful weather, spent most of that time on the bus:( Our driver and guide was James Sullivan from County Kerry. When he wasn't talking into the microphone, he was singing little ditties to himself. The day cost 14.50 euros with student discount (or special discount available to Sugan guests), and does not include lunch-- although the bus does stop at a pub for a quick tour of a bog village and 5 euros Irish coffees(!), a cafeteria, and, later, the little village of Sneem. Despite the weather, I had a good time: beautiful views, some really nice people on the bus with us, and I took some amazing pictures (which will probably not be uploaded for several days).
When we returned, I went down to the internet cafe where I paid 4 euro/ hour (holy fuck!) to check e-mails and let the family know I was alive. Sadly, outside of the big cities, where I was paying around 4 euros for 5 hours, that is the average price charged per hour.
As that night was her last in Ireland, she wanted to go down to O'Connells pub for some more music and beer. There, we ran into a group of guys from the Sugan: an Israeli, an Australian, a Kiwi, and 3 Germans-- one of which had a four foot fire baton he later took out into the alley and began dancing with. After the pub closed around 11, we went to an after hours dance club (the only thing open at that hour).
The fire twirling, dreadlocked German was eager to talk politics (blech!),** but another good time was had by all, and I met some of my roomies.
Much, much later that night, myself, the Israeli, the Australian, and 2 of the Germans stand in the street, drunk and drinking, and very loudly talking about nothing at all important.

Overheard in Ireland

drunk man being photographed: Think Viagra!

overheard in O'Connel's Pub by one of two young girls he was being photographed with

old guy with sharp teeth: I'm Jesus Christ, would you like to meet my mother Mary?

overheard in O'Connel's Pub

*Thanks Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia.
**For future reference, if any of you would like to debate American politics with me, be sure that you 1) can speak the language well enough to both understand what I am saying and respond accordingly, and 2) know just as much as you do about American politics as you do about the English Language, 3) acknowledge that I am under no obligation to agree with you. Ever.
***Fire Twirler in photo is not dread-headed German guy


Blogger The Dark Pig said...

'round here we go to Irish Pubs and on occasion eat Chinese Food.

In China... chinese food is called food.

In Ireland... is it just a pub? Or, heavan forbid... has where I've been drinking been manufactured to look what a westerner thinks an Irish pub should look like?

5:47 PM  
Blogger UrbanCannibal said...

Pig, you bastard, How the hell am I supposed to follow that except with - what do they call a Prince Albert in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan?

8:12 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...

Glad you are feeling better and having fun.

3:47 PM  
Blogger BeckEye said...

Ack! Can' Too...jealous!!

I'll make it to Ireland someday.

6:20 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

YOu are having too much fun. I am extremely envious....

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Katrin, the creepy German friend said...

Hey Serena, thanks for having 'immortalized' the Irish experience, brings back a lot of memories, what a nice flashback! But don't pretend to like me ('though that's on the list of things you can do, for sure), I know better ;). Although you should like me, if only for the fact that I'm unable to have serious political discussions, let alone discussions about American politics (apart from contributions like "Bush sucks" in discussions with confessing Bush-voters ;).
Anyway, enjoyed being able to give you the chills again, now that I finally made it to your blog. Is there such an expression as web-stalking? If not, I might invent it :). No, seriously, sorry for stalking you across the Irish borders. But I hope you'll be able to post some more pictures soon.
Hi @ Haim and the rest of the Sugan-posse. I'll be roaming the South of Ireland again with some friends in about 2 weeks. Flights to Kerry are ridiculously cheap at the moment, although the weather's probably ridiculously bad there, too. However, got to take care of my Irish contacts ;).
And you: Take care, wherever you are!

8:57 PM  

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