Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ireland- Day 8: Galway to Carrick-on-Shannon (and Another Night at The Thatch!)

I reluctantly left Robin and Galway yesterday after a truly wonderful and relaxing stay. It's definitely the longest I've stayed in one place while vacationing in Ireland and it turns out it was the best thing I could have done. It was great to really get to know Galway (although I have no doubt that there's lots more I could do and see, especially when it's not windy and rainy).

What made the leaving just a little easier is that I was headed to The Thatch! And that place never disappoints.

I took a cab out to the Galway airport, got into my rental car and then drove by myself for the next twoish hours. It was nice having alone time and driving at my own speed. One of the things I love most about traveling solo is that I can do whatever I want. If there's something I wanna take a picture of, I can just pull over and do it. I don't have to worry about annoying anyone or holding anything up. I took advantage of that quite a bit on the drive from Galway to Carrick-on-Shannon. And I was rewarded with some really fantastic sights.

Here's a few from the drive:

Sheep grazing the hillside

Carroll's bar!

More sheep

Stone buildings along the water

Boyle, Ireland

My final destination

Carrick-on-Shannon window

One of the things I liked best about this drive was that I got to travel roads I hadn't been before. I loved when Amy and I rented a car and went exploring. But it wasn't exploring so much as backtracking...or something. (Amy don't take it the wrong way, you know I LOVED every minute we spent together). Anyway...the drive was nice and I saw some new places and the weather wasn't too crappy. So I made it to Carrick-on-Shannon with enough time to shower and watch some more Cougar Town on my computer. That show is really funny! I found myself laughing out loud a lot.

Because I'm such a pro at The Thatch at this point, I didn't even bother showing up any earlier than 9pm. Last week Amy and I got there around 8pm and Percy had to unlock the door to let us in. It was more than 30 minutes before anyone joined us. And with the weather so crappy- it had taken a turn for the worse by the time I was out of dinner- I was the third person there by the time I walked over just after 9pm.

The night started out slow. And it made me nervous. Gene wasn't going to be there, although Percy said there was always a chance he'd show up. So I was already on edge and anxious about just how the night would turn out.

My friends from last week showed up- Stripey Mike, Allo and Padraig:

And they definitely helped keep the night interesting.

But, there was no music! Which was sad. Deasun showed up very late, like around 11pm (which is about an hour to an hour and a half later than he'd normally arrive). But we were in the middle of talking, so he just sat down and joined in. At oint point he said, "I think this is the first time I've ever come in here and there hasn't been any music." So we all made Jim play a few reels on his accordion.

Here's Jim:

I really wasn't sure how the rest of the night would go with conversation and no music or dancing. But it turned out to be great. Percy was running the show and he really helped me perfect my Irish coffee. I even recorded him instructing me on how to do it. Thanks Percy!

Here's my nearly perfect Irish coffee

And here's me with Percy.

Somehow we managed to stay out until 2am, even though I had high hopes of calling it an early night- partially because I promised Gene that I wouldn't keep Percy out past his bedtime and partially because I needed to drive to Dublin, drop off the rental car and fly to Budapest. But Percy kept letting me make Irish coffees and before we knew it, we were out of cream and then it really was time to shut down the pub and let Percy- and everyone else- go to bed!

Stripy Mike

Amy's future husband Allo. I have video of him giving Amy his phone number and telling her she looked "swell in her wellies." (Rain boots).

Although it wasn't a traditional night at The Thatch, it was a wonderful one. I loved sitting down and talking to Deasun, Evelyn (B&B owner), Seamus and Percy. And I loved going back and forth between the adults and the boys (Padraig, Allo and Stripy Mike). While I was sad to not have music, and Gene, I enjoyed getting to know more about the people I've come to love from Carrick-on-Shannon.

At 2am when I walked back to the B&B, I went to bed with a smile on my face and dreams of when I'd be back at The Thatch.


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