July 7, 2017: Headed Straight for the Castle

Today marks the second weekend excursion, this one put on by NUIG. This time, we are in Dingle.

Just as I was with the Aran Islands trip, I was actually really dreading the Dingle trip. Almost enough to fake sick over it. Even with my aunt telling me how fabulous Dingle is, after the experience we had in the hostel in Dublin, when I heard we had to stay in another hostel all weekend, I about lost it. I’m still not over the first one, and I was not about to stay in another, this time for two nights.

But, once again, I was pleasantly (and then somewhat unpleasantly) surprised. More on that a bit later.

We set off by bus at 11:30 this morning. Unfortunately, the bus that came to pick us up was tiny, only seating about half of the 45 students going on this trip. We had to pull off and change buses, but once that escapade was sorted out, we were on our way. I got to sit by myself, which was kind of nice. I put in my music and tried to sleep for the one and a half hours we were on the road.

We stopped at Bunratty Castle on the way there and got to tour the ancient Norman fortress. The park was absolutely beautiful. There were animals, replicas of medieval village buildings, and of course, the castle itself. I climbed all the way to the terrace and back down again and then had a chance to explore the village and park. Because I packed my own lunch, I was able to finish up fairly quickly and even had the chance to stop for an ice cream.

Bunratty castle, midday

In the little village, I met a lovely man playing schoolmaster. He asked me where I was from and what I was studying, and we bonded over our mutual love of film. He was really sweet, and I do wish I had gotten to spend more time with him. I also toured around the animal enclosures with Meaghan, Kate, and some of their friends. It was like entering another world, like taking a portal back in time. I could have stayed there all day.

But alas, Bunratty was far from our last stop.

We got back on the bus and spent another 2.5 hours or so in transit to Dingle. When we finally arrived at our destination, I was pleased to discover it was a lodge, and not a hostel. We were going to be staying at Dingle Harbour Lodge, a cute little blue house with one of the best breakfasts in town. They actually supplied towels, unlike Dublin. There were rooms with only 2-5 occupants, rather than 10 like in Dublin, which was another plus.

Dingle Harbour Lodge

The downside? When he put four in a room, it was a room with only three beds.

And Cameron and Hallie quickly claimed the two singles, leaving Kate and I to share a bed.

That was a little weird. I’m not a huge fan of bed sharing, even with my own sister. You just never know who’s going to talk, thrash, or drool all over you in their sleep. I personally shift around a lot when I sleep and often wake up with the covers on the floor and my body in a much different position from the one I fell asleep in. The bed wasn’t that big, and I was worried about encroaching on Kate’s space.

That night, we went to a cute little tiki-themed restaurant called Danno’s. I think they had amazing food, but that may have also been partially due to the fact that I inhaled it so fast. I was extremely hungry by that point. We went to Dingle’s nightclub after that where two men and a young boy were playing traditional music. It was a cute little place and the music was wonderful. I really enjoyed myself.

Amazing night of trad music with amazing new friends. From left to right, Colleen, Madelyn, Meaghan, Peggy, Kate, Joanna, Caitlyn, and Taylor.

The highlight of the night, for me at least, was that Meaghan, Caitlyn, and I saw a fuzzy kitty on our way back to the lodge. I think she belonged to someone (she looked delightfully chubby and floofy and well-cared-for). However, she was out in front of this cutesy little shop, by then closed, without a collar. She was so well-behaved, just chilling outside. She came when Meaghan put her hand out to let her sniff. She was rubbing up against the three of us, which made my heart very happy. I almost wanted to steal her.

This cute little kitty let us pet her.

I tried to Skype my mom that night, but the wifi at the accommodations was actually awful, and my roommates were home again so I didn’t want to be rude by trying to scream so my mom could hear or constantly repeating myself because the wifi was cutting out.

Dingle looks promising. It’s a sweet, sleepy harbor town with a maritime feel to it. The buildings are colorful, the shops are artsy, and I could not be more excited to see what tomorrow has in store for us.

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