It was the Summer of 2014. Rory McIlroy was at the height of his career, Sia was singing about chandeliers, and George Ezra was still assumed to be a middle-aged man who sang some nonsense about Budapest one time.
Meanwhile, I had just turned eighteen and was prepping for another friend’s birthday. For some ungodly reason, this pal had decided that her dream place to turn legal was none other than Inis Oirr.
Our rowdy group of recently-graduated students needed one final hurrah before we got our Leaving Cert results, and either cried through a year of repeats or headed off to college.
We hopped onto the ferry and waved goodbye (to absolutely no one), with our hearts full of adventure.
Within minutes the rocky current took those youthful dreams and crushed them into vomit. Quite literally. I have never seen so many nauseous youths without any suspicious liquids nearby. We rocked, and groaned, and obediently chewed our cheese and onion crisps, but the pain only got worse.
When we reached the shore, it was as if we had been given a second life. Skipping through the fresh air we purchased buttered rolls, mourning when one pal dropped a full sausage sandwich.
As evening approached we took a venture into the local pub. It was exactly what every tourist hopes for after watching P.S. I Love You.
After a pint our pocket money was splurged, so we crept back into our tents in the dark.
In the distance, we could hear music, light dancing in the distance. It came from a different direction to the pub. So we decided to investigate.
The local school-hall was thronged. We paid a small fee and toppled into the dance. It wasn’t so much a céilí as a joyful, haphazard clump of people doing their own version of a jig. Although I had never counted myself small at 5ft4, I was suddenly being plucked into the air from every angle. At one point I was placed on a windowsill. When someone finally took me down and I thought I was rescued, I was carried over and popped on top of a speaker instead.
When people say that the islanders know how to have a good time, they’re not lying. This event encapsulated the spirit that people associate with the islands, or so I felt.
The next day, I had to leave the group early to go home and babysit. On the boat I finally discovered what I had experienced, The annual Currach Races.
During the trip home, I reminisced about the night before with a happy heart. It’s been four years since those fourteen teens set out to Inis Oirr. I would do it again in a heartbeat…
Anyone up for a trip to the Currach Races in a couple of weeks?