Thursday, October 13, 2005

Back To Ireland

Hitchhiking in Ireland is nothing like hitchiking in the US. Everybody does it here, it's safe, legal, and there are no negative connotations attached to the people that do it.
That said, no one is guaranteed a trip just for sticking their thumb out or holding up a cardboard sign. I do not recommend doing it in downpour, torrential rainfall, high winds, or both. Especially if you are a foreign traveler with no means to dry your clothing after a few hours of standing out in the rain (with your hood down and no umbrella just to make sure motorists know that you are a girl [and, therefore, much more likely to get a lift). Pay the 10.50 euro for a bus ticket to TraLee from Dingle and spend that time, instead, paying 4 euro/hour at the only cyber cafe in town and maybe splurging 2.50 euro for ho-cho.
I ended up taking the bus anyway (damn that 20-20 hindsight!), but missed the connecting bus to Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher. Instead, I got as far as Limerick and spent the night.
I stayed a block from the station at a B&B run by the Boylan family.
I got as far as the front hall of the Boylan B&B and was told to wait by an old man sitting slumped in an armchair off to the side. He was wearing a hat, trench coat, and house slippers. He asked me where I was from, and told me he had been to Boston several times. Enter Theresa Boylan: "Leave the poor dear alone, can't you see she's soaking wet!"
"I was just talking to her, she is American."
"American?" I'm American, you know?" She says to me in a thick Irish accent.
Turns out, the mister and 'Mother' Theresa (as I began to refer to her), met in the states while they were in college. She actually got citizenship and loves all things Kennedy, Boston, and Catholic. In fact, her entire dining room is dedicated to them. She gave me a room (with a giant crucifix over the bed), and showed me the bathroom (next to the giant picture of the Virgin Mary). But the house wasn't at all scary or overbearing, there was lots of laughter from her many (11!) adult children (who all happened to be there that night), and she insisted on putting my clothes in the dryer--they don't offer laundry services and she did this for free. Then, I sat down and watched more Hurrican Rita coverage and ate some take-out from down the street.
I didn't see but one street in Limerick, the one in front of the train station, but was greeted with incomparable hospitality. Mother Theresa made a point to check in on how I was doing every half hour or so, and loved talking to me about her time in the States. She would enter the room, grab the remote control and turn up the volume, then begin to try to talk over it. She informed me that there was a prophet of some kind at the local church who foresaw that America was about to be chastened. She (MT) was sorry to hear it, and was glad that I had no family affected by the recent tragedies.
As I headed up to my room, to retire for the night, she hugged me "Good Night" and told me to be ready for a big breakfast in the morning...


Blogger exMI said...

YOu can meet wonderful people while travelling if you let yourself. Most Americasn stick to hte schedule adn rush around so much they don't get it.

9:33 AM  
Blogger The Dark Pig said...

Thanks for the pic of the naked lady.

2:58 AM  
Blogger Serena said...

I hope everyone recognizes the naked lady as the Material Girl,, um 'in the flesh.'

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's strange - the streets around the train station are the uglist part of Limerick City centre! I always think it must look terrible for arriving students.

6:03 PM  
Blogger European said...

Madonna is really far too skinny in that picture. *shudder*

I was trying to write a limerick, because that's what a dork would do, but unfortunately, I'm barren in the rhyming department at the moment.
Better luck next time!

3:11 AM  
Blogger Serena said...

Alive, I would agree with you, that street is incredibly ugly ;)

3:49 PM  

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