Dublin, Galway, Connemara and the Burren (Ireland)
While I put myself in a position where people might say that I am overly negative to things in general, I try to take on a different angle than traditional travel literature when I share my experiences… Even though Ireland for the most part is a very agreeable country that all of us would do well to visit once in while, there are still some minor faults in the fabric of the Emerald Isle. [Photos]
Itinerary: Flying in to Dublin, going over to Galway on the west coast, touring and fishing in Connemara, exploring the Burren by car and finally returning to Dublin for some city life before flying home. Company: Anders A Fitje, Håvard Nordvik
The Irish don’t travel by public transportation
…and least of all by bus.
If you are going to Ireland and are planning on going by public transportation, I would strongly advice you to think at least twice before you embark on a bus journey. In our case we asked a friendly, yet completely ignorant, guy at the O’Connel Street bus station what the duration of the journey between Dublin and Galway would be – upon which he answered us that it would take 3 1/2 hours – which would be accetable (barely), since the cost was about half of that of going by train.
Upon entering the bus, the driver informed us that the trip most likely would take four hours. At this stage we didn’t yet realise that also the four hours were an approximation based roughly on the memory of a driver who seemed to struggle finding his way from east coast to west coast without occasionally straying from the path visiting numerous destionations on the north- and south coast as well.
Four and a half hour later we were eventually parked in Galway and could set out in the search for our B&B which according to the information on its web site was located in a beautiful and quiet cul de sac – or a dead-end street as they so cleverly omitted to name it.
Help me helping you helping who?
The purpose of our visit to Ireland was fishing. Asking for a good place to catch some brown trout or salmon in a tackle shop in Galway, we were directed to the Galway Tourist Information where they “would no doubt be able to accomodate our every need regarding fishing”.
The guy we met at the tourist information wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed though. Having tried twice to bounce us back to the tackle shops from whence we came, he surrendered and gave us a page full of completely useless information on where to charter boats with a capacity of everywhere between 30 and 50 people.
Be therefore prepared that city tourist informations might not be all up to date regarding activities in the rural hinterlands!
It’s too dangerous (for MY boat)
Having driven into the moors surrounded by the “Ben’s” of Connemara we made a quick stop at the most vulgar and pleasant little place called Recess. Here a guy recomended that we drove on to Lough Inagh – where there would be a hotel specializing in boat hire and fishing for tourists.
Upon arrival at the hotel, the the Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel, we were greeted in a most untraditional manner by a woman who immediately doubted our abilities as boat men and didn’t trust us enough to surrender one of her third rate boats at our mercy even for as little as a few hours. Nope – the only way we could be trusted to carry out such a dangerous and risky task as rowing a boat would be if we hired along a pricey fishing guide.
We saw no need to take more insults from the woman who clearly didn’t appreciate the fact that we spent most of our childhood in boats in far more stormy waters than her !%&/”&#( lough.
That’s what you’re getting and that’s how it is!
After getting caught in the undisputable tourist trap called the Cliffs of Moher (which nontheless were an impressive sight) we moved on to a nearby village called Liscannor where we stopped to have son food. In a pub whose ungodly name I have sadly forgotten – a place where the customer rarely if ever at all – is right
Ordering some sandwiches and toasts we received a bill charging us for spring rolls and sushi and some other monstrosities – adding up to a sum far greater than what we asked. Upon informing the barman that there might be something wrong he unkindly but very efficiently pointed out to us that the buttons on the register carried the wrong labels and that it was plain even to the poorest eye that spring rolls were eqiuvalent to a chicken and bacon club sandwich.
At this stage we tried to put it through to him that we could live with the names of the items being wrong as long as the sum on the tab was right. The best that could be said about the bar man at this stage was that he didn’t actually spit at us – allthough God knows what he did to the food. He told us that this was what we were getting, and this was what we were paying – and that, that was how it was!
Only after secondary negotiations with other bar personell were we able to reclaim the funds that had so efficiently been cheated from us.
It is unfortunate that I have forgotten the name of the establishment so as to recommend you to stay away from there, but they seemed to be the best marketed pub in Liscannor so it should be reasonably easy to identify it.
Right, turn left!
When you have acquired your drivers licence in Nordfjord in Norway you don’t really know how to drive a car in a big, medium size or even small city. However – Ireland does provide an enourmous network of poorly maintained country roads that except from the pot holes much resemble the roads back home. With one noteable exception: the road signs.
At approximately every 5th – 7th junction there might or might no be be a sign showing the distance in kilometers, imperial miles or – God forbid – Irish miles, to a random place in the general direction of the road. Quoting John Cleese in the feature film Clockwise I say – right, turn left.
A double room for three (again)
You would imagine that a Catholic country like Ireland would rise its eyebrows at three men, one outsized, sharing a bed room of two beds. Not so at all at the Glen Guesthouse B&B, Dublin. Anders who did the mistake of ordering double – rather than twin – bed rooms for us last year, immediately felt the blood rise to his head. He was fearing the consequences of the B&B’s inability to accomodate us in a more traditional way.
Even though it was blunt to the eye that there were a pile of mattresses on the upper landing of the staircase, the guy in the reception came back and said “sorry guys – but I will try to find an extra set of blankets so you’ll each have your own”. Which he didn’t.
By a strike of Gods luck, however, we found some blankets ourselves and I crashed on the floor for the night. The floor was a heavenly bed, when considering the option of waking up entangled in Anders arms, him having one of his regular intense dreams about his girlfriend.
Here’s your bomb back sir, but I am afraid we’ll have to keep that fishing rod
Upon leaving Dublin we forgot to take into account the afternoon rush and assumed that the time consumption for the journey would be the same as when we arrived. As a result we were running a little short of time when we arrived at the airport.
After having travelled for some years, passing through security control usually doesn’t render any surprises anymore. Dublin, however, was going to prove a new experience for me.
After passing my bag through the scanner a less than averagely intelligent person approached me and asked if it was ok for me if I let him take a look. After taking his time going through my stuff he produly pronounced that telescopic fishing rods were against EU-regulations and that I could go back out and check it in – or – he would personalle do me the friendly favour of disposing of it for me. He seemed rather keen when informing me of the second option.
Having no time to go back out and check in the fishing rod, I informed him that I find it very difficult to relate to these regulations when they are not the same everywhere… He then inquired where I had been travelling from – I said Oslo – and he sighed relieved and uttered that he couldn’t be held responsible for how lenient Oslo security was.
It passed my mind that the only decent thing to do, would have been to pop him one in the eye – Dublin style. After all that was what “they” did to me the last time I visited Dublin. Pondering a little over what to do, I decided against, me not being a particularly violent man.
I surrendered my fishing rod – unscrewing the reel, since, after all, this is the most expensive part. The former “special child” then informed me that the line was also a potential weapon and had to be left behind. I asked him if I could borrow a knife from him in order to cut the thing away. He replied that he had quite a bit of knifes, but that he wasn’t allowed to use anything he had confiscated – it was all to be destroyed.
As a result, passengers walking through security at Dublin Airport on the 16th of August, 2004 around 17:50 could see me pulling 300 meters of fishing line off my reel in a very angry manner.
I guess I should be thankful though, that I got to keep my shoe laces, my belt and the threads that make up the fabric of my clothes. All of them more convincing terrorist weapons than a telescopic fishing rod. God bless EU regulations and Dublin Airport Security.
[ (Stein) Runar Bergheim, 7 . 1.Tue, ]
Dublin, Galway, Connemara and the Burren (Ireland)