Episode 12 - ...and Another from Eileen and Jodie

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May 9, 2006

I don’t know what god Eileen and Jodie prayed to before coming to this rainy island but, whichever it was, it worked, and worked well. As a result, the first few days of their visit mostly involved the four of us sitting around outside, drinking, reading, talking, and most importantly soaking up the typically non-existent Irish sunshine. Our neighbor Timothy put it best when he said, “This weather is good for doing anything and everything.” Of course, the splendid weather had to come to an end but, freshly recharged by the sun, we started to venture a bit further from the stone cottage so Eileen and Jodie could get a taste of Ireland.

Our first trip brought us to the famous ring of Kerry. The ring is essentially a drive around the perimeter of the Iveragh Peninsula and, although it is still a month or two from prime tourism season, our car, along with all the other cars on the road, was regularly forced into a game of chicken against buses loaded down with the leprechaun-seeking masses. We spent one night out on the peninsula in the town of Cahersiveen, where at one of the local pubs we met a man who, this past St. Paddy’s day, played a set of traditional Irish music for none other than our grandest of leaders, Mr. Bush. After the mandatory round of Bush bashing that follows any mention of his name, Jessamy and I headed back to the hostel while Eileen and Jodie caught the last few songs of a U2 cover band.

After spending a couple of more days just kicking around the Bantry area, we once again started to make our way north. Our plan was to spend a couple of nights out on the Aran Islands, and then head back to the mainland for one last night on the big island before dropping Eileen and Jodie off at the airport. But when we arrived at the dock in Doolin, we discovered that the ferry company we had “booked” with via the internet the previous day had in fact ceased operating over a year ago. (That’s Ireland for you.) Furthermore, no boats at all were running due to the rough seas, and so we were forced to re-think our schedule. We decided to spend the night in Ennis (the unofficial traditional music capital of Ireland) where Jessamy and I knew of a nice hostel and plenty of pubs at which to spend our time. The next morning, our stomachs still half full of Guinness, we made our way to the port of Rossaveal, where the ferry boats always run regardless of the weather.

After arriving on the island of Inishmor and having checked out one hostel that Jodie, with all her years of wisdom, gave the thumbs down to, we started an epic walking adventure in an effort to find a decent place to stay. After trekking up a hill for twenty minutes, and not sure if we were heading in the right direction, we decided that the smart thing to do would be to walk back to the tourist office to seek a little professional advice. Back down the hill we trudged and into the tourist office we went, and then back up the hill once again where, it turns out, if we had walked about five yards further during our first attempt, we would have found the hostel. But our efforts we rewarded that night with a deliciously healthy dinner for four in our own private sun room that the hostel offered to its guests.

The next day, we spent our time leisurely biking around the island, taking in the sights and just enjoying the relaxed pace of island life. After our day on the island, we decided that we would head back to Ennis, where we would spend our last night having a few pints and catching some trad sessions before dropping Eileen and Jodie at the Shannon airport.

We showed up at the airport the next morning with the luggage that Eileen and Jodie had brought with them, a pack and a sewing machine that we were sending back with them, and the clincher (I can only assume) in security’s eyes: a case of Murphy’s Irish Stout lovingly cradled in Jodie’s arms. Needless to say, Jodie was immediately singled out as a security risk and the lucky winner of a half hour delay, while a complete stranger rifled through all of her dirty clothes. Luckily for us, Jodie had forgotten her shoe bomb back on Inishmor, and she had sold all of the heroin she was planning on bringing back to Gloucester to the Jehovah’s Witnesses back in Bantry. So with her stuff repacked, we bade them farewell and made our way back to Bantry, where we are spending one last week before heading off to England, and then France, and then…well, who knows…