WanderingDan’s Weblog

snippet of County Clare
August 3, 2013, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The ferry is listing like crazy, during some swells it has to be up to forty degrees.  Once I see the woman sitting in the front row bending over a plastic bag, throw on my backpack and head to the upper deck.  She was on the ferry this morning to the island, I recognize her as ‘the camera lady’, toting around a digital SLR with what seemed like a foot long lens.  Waiting for the break in between sets I grab on to the aisle seat backs and make my way towards the back hatch…with a little Bob Marley on my iPod.  Facial expressions from other passengers clue me several are feeling funky.  I am fine, just a tinge earlier, but ship life gave me good sea legs.  

Theresa, the hostel owner on InishBofin told me I had to come here, after divulging my love of stone walls.  She said this island was covered in them…I thought she exaggerated…but her words were literal.  Innis Meain must look like a spiderweb from five-hundred feet up.  I wonder what Mary, the hostel owner up in Glencolmcille would have said…probably would go on and on about the feckin’ rocks.  The plethora of rocks certainly makes up for the deficiency of people though.  With a population of one-hundred, mostly a four-family blend, this place is the quintessence of quaint.

I make it up the stairs where about a half-dozen more people are seating and standing. Much rockier up here, so I’m not too surprised to see a lady to my left with a catatonic stare, much like I did after St. Patricks day two years running, with vomit all over the seat-back next to her.  As the boat pulls closer in to the port, she gets up and shakily starts stumbling in my direction, where the gangway will be.  Me and two adolescent girls avoid her like she was a zombie…she looks and is walking like one for god sake…but there is really nowhere to go so we cling to whatever we can and give her a wide berth.  She wants off the ferry as soon as possible…fair ’nuff.  

I’m really not looking forward to going back to the hostel tonight.  I really liked the last two I was at, but this one has a different vibe.  The people I’ve met are really friendly, so it must just be the overall demographic.  It feels like a freshman dorm, sprinkled with a few small families and us ‘older’ folk.  The other hostels had a much broader mix.  The one in Inishbofin felt like I was at an extended family reunion.  You know, the ones put on by the sister of your great-grandma, where you maybe only know four people total, but still everyone is cordial and friendly, making conversation and pretty chilled out?  It was a great vibe.  Perhaps because that hostel was owner-operated, and the owners were awesome and interacted with the guests.  Theresa invited me in to their personal eating space for some tea on my last day, and her husband Kieran, who happened to be taking the same ferry as me back to attend a funeral, drove me to the nearest real town to catch a bus.  Luckily I’m camping at the hostel here in Doolin, so I have some personal space…though not much because space comes at a premium in my coffin tent.  

I stop by Gus O’Connors Pub on my way back.  Realizing it’s a tourist pub for those who want a novel experience of Trad (traditional Irish music), I go nonetheless because Heinrich, the Danish music teacher in the hostel, said last night theirs was the best in town…and it also starts early, like six o’clock, unlike everywhere else where the tunes don’t start twanging until nine or ten.  The place is packed…so packed I almost consider turning around and nixing the whole plan.  I mean, I’ve listened to Trad at a pub every night for the past five nights…tonight will be six!  I stay, I mean, this is world-famous O’Connors in County Clare after all.  I love Trad, and have been highly inspired to pick up my fiddle again when I get back to the states.  Notice I don’t say ‘back home’.  I don’t have a home, and the closer I get to flying back the more real it is feeling. 


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