The last day of the roadtrip was finally there and it was bound to be the longest of them all. After a good nightsleep on foldouts Betty treated us and the other guests with pancakes, eggs and fried tomatos for brrakfast. Over brekkie I learned how to pronounce the Name Kiely correctly (like Kylie Minogue) thanks to videographer Allen Kiely who stayed with his colleague Jane to capture some of the Fringe festival for one of his clients.
We took off, collected my friend’s friend from her place and I drove us along the coast, leaving Galway westward along the bay. Our luck: The rain had passed and we had another sunny day with blue skies and photogenic clouds. Connemara has a slightly different colour palette than Kerry, Clare and Cork. I think it’s the contrast of the blue seas, the grey stones, the greens and the earthy brown. It is hard to describe, you have to see yourself to understand and fall for it.
Cake in an award winning café
We drove along the coast, but as you know, the rules of the roadtrip dictate to stop when someone spots something interesting. Naturally we were attracted by the street sign of an award winning café which we passed when it was time for the second brekkie. Builín Blasta is located in a craft village with all sorts of craft shops and workshops, which are nice to browse. The café was buzzing but we gladly found a spot to enjoy some chicken pastry, cinnamon roll, a small gugl and of course more coffee.
We followed the Wild Atlantic Way signs for a little longer and at some point made it to Clifden, where we had some late lunch sitting in front of a local pub and soaking up the sunshine. Apart from breathtaking views the drive was pretty eventless. All three of us were talking the whole time, as if we hadn’t only met the day before.
The most perfect place to work at
My friend’s friend had quite a few visitors before, so she had been to about all the big visitor attractions around anyway. We passed Kylemore Abbey, but only did a drive-through of the parking lot, since the pretty facade is currently under rennovation and the parking lot was super crowded. Instead we drove on to Irelands only Fjord Killary Harbour. I pulled into some parking lot which looked like one of all those pretty photo spots we stopped at all over the country. But this one was different. We were about to see one of the most perfect places to work at…
Again we managed to be the only people around there at that time… We sat there on a bench for a bit and enjoyed the view as well as the fresh breeze. Fun fact that our host Betty told us: According to her Dad a German and an English submarine hid in Killary fjord during the second World War cause they didn’t want to take part in the war. Parts of the fjord now are home to aquacultures for salmon and mussles due to the exquisit water quality there. You can spot swimming unions of barrels along the fjord, that’s where the mussles are grown.
Back in Galway we dolled up for the night and went for dinner at Hooked. We really wanted to check out Kai Restaurant that Ketty of French Foodie in Dublin recommended, but it was too packed. I think the dinner was the only meal that my friend had together during the whole trip that we didn’t share… And finally I had a Galway Hooker. Not what you think, that’s a local craft beer brand 🙂
The swan drama in Galway
After dinner I was craving dessert and I wanted to visit the last branch of Murphy’s, to have visited them all within one week. On the way we came across a band setting up their equipment on the street and decided to come back to listen after we got ourselves some icecream. When we wanted to cross the bridge over the Corrib we noticed a large crowd forming, everybody was staring down into the water and we could hear the whimper of a small animal. There was a grey baby swan trying to get over a floating barrier to get to it’s family who was on a bank on the other side. The crowd cheered for the whimpering little swan to make it over the barrier, it was fighting hard but just couldn’t make it. There was a group of teenagers beside us that tried to let down a scarf, hoping that the swan would bite and could be pulled over the barrier. That didn’t work so one tried to climb down the wall but it still was too high to reach the barrier. The person almost lost phone and wallet, so I jumped in and secured the valuables and the person. A man retrieved a long crank from the bar across the street and handed it to the person dangling over the edge. Since the swan was afraid and probably out of energy it took a while til it dared another attempt to get over the barrier. After a few more attemps the swan finally managed to get over the pushed down barrier and was reunited with his family on the other side. The crowd gave a hand for the hero and I almost cried tears of joy. Happy end!
Exploring the nightlife in Galway
On that shock we all needed a drink and I comforted myself with a big serving of my favourite Dingle Gin icecream. We made it back in time for the band to start to play, they played rock music covers and the street filled pretty fast, which resulted in an awesome party there on the street. The band’s name was The Converse Allstars, which we thought was a joke after we found out it is not The Converse Old Stars which we understood first….After the band stopped playing we hopped through 3 or 4 pubs and bars until we finally found one that had acceptable music and wasn’t too crowded or too empty.While queueing for the bathroom at one of the places 2 Irish gals taught me some Irish phrases which I put in good use just a little later.
We ended in Seven, where there was also a liveband playing. The band inserted a few German words in between “because in Deutschland ist this cool”, what made us 3 Germans laugh out very loud… I had a short chat with a businessman from Kerry who told me that Kerry-Cliffs didn’t exist (even though I had been there a few days earlier and that’s what the sign said…) -pffff! We danced until the lights went on and then took part in a usual Saturday night after club ritual, queueing for fast food.
If you ever saw how Irish gals dress for a night out and how hammered they get when they party, the number of panties you can spot in the crowd in front of the fast food joint doesn’t surprise you. My friend’s friend helped out a girl who clearly didn’t notice that her short skirt rode up all the way. She was flabbergasted but very thankful. That’s one thing to remember: always help a gal out!
We skipped the next obligatory stop after fast food which apparently is the casino where the regular crowd parties til the sun rises and opted for bed at 3 in the morning.
After a brekkie at Betty’s together, we dropped off a little chocolate and a thank you for Emmy at the hostel who helped us when we were bedless the other day and then hit the road to Dublin airport.
This trip was only 10 days, but it was filled with so much joy, happiness, laughter and I made so many memories that it felt so much longer than ‘just’ 10 days. This country did something to me on this trip, Ireland has a calming effect on me while it is wild and free, just how I want to be. I can only recommend to get in touch with locals, it is perfectly normal to chat with strangers. When going on a roadtrip in Ireland make sure to not pack your days to the fullest but let yourself some time to enjoy the little things along the way. I planned this roadtrip by myself and I must say it is the element of surprise and going with the flow that made this trip so special.
Let me give you one last Irish phrase to live by: It’ll sure be grand!