So Monday morning, I woke up at about 6am and finished the last bit of packing, had breakfast with my Dad, and then drove to O'hare Airport. I got my plane tickets and then waited about an hour for my flight to JFK. I was a little nervous about flying to New York right after news broke of Osama Bin Laden's death. But all went well. I had about four hours to kill at the airport and did so by eating BBQ Guinness wings and reading A Beauty Myth, a book long ago recommended by Maggie Molloy.
After the flight to New York, I started to feel a cold coming on-nasal congestion, sneezing fits, and a little bit of coughing. This is just my luck and it hasn't gone away yet. But I arrived at Shannon Airport and was shocked at how small the airport was. The airport parking lot was the size of a Metra Station parking lot (NO, I am not exaggerating).
I managed to get on a bus and head toward Limerick. While in Limerick, I ventured to find a pharmacy or a drug store. I actually found three, all of which were closed. How disappointing. I went into two convenience stores and asked for cold medicine. One guy had no clue what I meant. The girl in the first store understood but didn't have any (she pointed me towards the pharmacy that weren't open).
Limerick was eternally boring. I didn't enjoy the wait for the next bus but I was tired, sick, and fatigued. I tried to walk around a bit, but the 50+ pounds of luggage made it difficult. I could feel blisters forming on my hands from carrying everything I had with me.
From Limerick, there was a two and a half hour bus to Killarney. This was the worst bus ride ever! I had to use the bathroom (they call them Toilets here, fyi) almost immediately after leaving the Limerick bus station. After about an hour, I couldn't wait any longer, so I had to ask the bus driver when the next stop was because I needed a toilet. He said he'd let me know when there was a nearby toilet and that he'd wait for me to get back. This was awesome since the next bus wouldn't be for two hours and none of the stops were in big towns. I felt like such an ass holding up the bus but the bus driver was super nice and I thanked him over and over again.
After I was able to relieve myself, me and the bus driver had a lengthy conversation. He asked about my flight since he regularly flies overseas since his wife is from Baltimore. When we arrived in Killarney, he advised me that the shop owner would watch my bags for 2 Euros so that I didn't have to bring it with me.
Killarney was beautiful and I would go back and stay there in a heartbeat. It's a smaller town than Limerick but way more lively and fun. The bus station was attached to an outlet mall so I ended up buying a few Nike T-shirts for 10 euros a piece. I walked for a bit and managed to get some great pictures of the town.
Though it rained a little in Killarney, you can tell from the pictures, it was a really good time. I was still feeling sick and sneezing but I enjoyed it better than my wait in Limerick. Another great thing about Killarney is the store, Boyle Sports. Since my last name is Boyle and everyone in my family are sports fanatics (at least almost everyone is), I just had to get a picture of this place. I was very pleased to see my last name there!
My last bus ride was from Killarney to Cahersiveen (good luck trying to pronounce that, it took a few tries for me to get it right). I finally made it there and was supposed to have a friend of my host's pick me up. But of course it starts raining and my ride is no where in sight and of course, I have to use the toilet again. This is just my luck. By the time I lug all my things to the nearest shop and use the toilet, my ride is outside the bus stop looking for me. Luckily I made it back before he gave up and he greeted me graciously.
His accent was British and we picked up two elderly women who also live on the island, and are also British. So we chatted about the royal wedding and made our way to the island across the bridge near Portmagee, Ireland. After he drops off the two other women, he finally brings me to the Knightstown Cafe and we knock on the door where a girl around my age answers.
The other people staying with me are a newly wed Japanese couple who are really interesting and fun to talk to and then a girl who studies in Ireland but comes from Sweeden and a girl from France who has been here over two months. The room I am staying in is the brightest color of pink which isn't my favorite color. There are also mirrors all over the wall which kind of creeps me out, but oh well.
My first night here involved a quick tour around the coffee shop and upstairs apartments, and a tour of the owner's house which is currently occupied by her seven dogs while she is out of town. These dogs are really cool and can be brought down to her private beach to play. I haven't had a chance to take them down there, but plan to this weekend.
After the tour, I opted to skip dinner with the rest of the group and get some well needed rest. About 15 hours of sleep to be exact. I still woke up feeling sick but a little bit better. The coffee shop has been closed since I arrive so there hasn't been much work to do yet. I took a walk down to the end of the block and enjoy the view. Literally:
While I must admit, I was very nervous at first, the more I've talked to the other people staying here, the more comfortable I am. They all speak English, some a bit better than others, but enough for me to understand. The Japanese couple has cooked both meals I've had so far. I'd offer to cook but would rather keep my germs to myself. Tomorrow, the cafe will be open so I will probably be watching the bookstore or some other type of duty. I will update again soon and hopefully without a cold.