Busaras the TurfNSurf bus is parked, with fourteen new people huddled behind it. I'm joining ten other girls on the first Wild tour, a five day ride cross country to see the beautiful coastline of the northern half of this island. Having made the claim that summers in Ireland are much more enjoyable, its time to follow through and prove that holidaying here is also nice, and that there is something worthy seeing in the next county over.
With a shy hello to my new set of strangers, Paul and Connor our guides christen me "the blogger" and we set off. The first thing they tell us is that is our tour, if we want to stop or add places to go to on the way, they're laid back approach helps to set the relaxed vacation mode.
First stop Barack Obama Plaza. Officially this isn't a stop on the tour, but if you want to experience the true Ireland what better symbol of our Neo Celtic Tiger than this little patch of Gaelic ambition. Having just about fought off the shackles of recession, Ireland is rising once again more hopeful than ever. This isn't a mere petrol station one learns quickly as a massive food court opens across half the building with every kind of sustenance our sleepy eyes can feast on. There's also a museum upstairs. I grab a bap and iced tea and sit down with the Leaving Cert girls I'd been across from on the bus, a bit of Roscommon extended family and two German girls. The eleven of us are all under 30. There are qualified teachers and students alike. The conversation is easy and every single person as friendly as the last, our backgrounds are quickly introduced and we run through trips we've taken to other places and people we know in common, being here on my own I felt immediately welcome in what we now call the tour family.
Back on the road arrive at the Cliffs of Moher two hours later to glorious sunshine. Warned not to waste our time in the visitors centre everyone heads straight up the little hill to the start of the cliff walk, where we wander snapping photos and chatting about travel for two blissful hours. What surprises me is how well traveled everyone is, as the tales continue in length of gap years through Asia and trekking through New Zealand, the consensus remains that our current view is breathtaking. My past experience of Clare is the excruciating delays pre-Ennis bypass, but as we follow the cliff top paths I'm completely blown away. The sea is this iridescent green, there are wildflowers everywhere, to my left is a straight drop into the jagged coast and the dancing seabreeze is divine amidst the heat. The photos do not do it justice in the slightest. Here I insert my tourist tips for dummies; never again will I attempt this walk in jeans and flip-flops. Enough said. It was all worth it to lounge on the grass across from some of the most photographed cattle in Ireland.
Next we were heading for the Burren and one of the girls synced their iPod to the stereo, and mellow tunes was the only sound as we all watched the Clare coast fly by. We stopped into a pub in Doolin for a cool drink and lunch before heading back along the Burren where we caught a glimpse of a school of dolphins. The guys quickly pulled over and we jumped out to watch the five dolphins rip through the water and leap up higher than the last. Before long we were checking into the Kinlay hostel in Galway City, which was really modern and comfy. One of the girls had been to Cactus Jacks the week before so I tagged along to sample some delicious Mexican, if you’re in the heart of the city the sweet potato fries and quesadillas are a must try. Then we rejoined the others in Neachtains pub on the high street, stumbling across Ryan Tubridy in one nook and crowding in for a quick photo. The few drinks before bed set off a wonderful day, I had a ball doing the quintessential Irish trip, with my little sunburnt nose it was time to return to the hostel for a kip before the action began again.