Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ireland: The Overview

I've recently returned from my trip to the Emerald Isle (my first ever.) Not surprisingly: the weather was crap, the food was almost inedible, the dentistry was lacking, and all the workers were Polish. The landscape was beautiful, dotted with ruins, and oh-so green. It was also dotted with litter and some horrific suburban sprawl.

Coming in through Cork via Warsaw, it was easy to see that the vast majority of the passengers were Poles sporting freshly cut crowns (haircuts are cheaper in Poland, so they cut their hair before they go back and cut it really short.) Exiting the airport, I was greeted by the most foul-mouthed bus driver whose every other word was 'fuck'. It was a rather quick drive to the Cork bus station, and a short wait at the terminal.
At the station, there was no shortage of entertainment, as a middle-aged, scraggly Irishman began yelling racial epithets at two black cabbies waiting in the parking lot. The asiatic lady standing in line behind me noted that he had done this before and that he was actually riding our bus. He stood there yelling at them, with them yelling back (one started to do a mock goose step and Nazi salute) until a security officer came by and began talking to him. He peacefully turned around and boarded the bus.
The drive to Limerick was very beautiful and the clouds were just inspiring. This inspiration was short-lived as I found out that my living place was a dorm of the University of Limerick, and it was a revolting mess. I don't know how the furniture could have gotten so grimy—it was as if it had been left out in the elements for the better part of a year—or what exactly the stains on the carpets and mattresses were, but I wasn't impressed.
But that's all nit-picking. I made a trip to the seaside resort of Kilrush. The town itself is undergoing some expansion, which is less than pretty. The coast surrounding the town took my breath away. Green fields went right up the dark, shear cliffs, which fell away to the gray ocean. The grass was thick like matted hair, and as soft as down. It made a nice mattress on which to roll down the gentle slopes (which I did.)

A small tragedy of Ireland is the amount of litter (which will be covered in a later post.) Kilrush, with is beautiful land- and seascapes, was no exception. It was in every cove, niche of rock, and grassy field.

Ireland's recent boom has brought tons of new development, which means rows and rows of identical homes developed in the most horrendous fashion. It's ancient history is abound everywhere. Ruins of castles, abbeys, and watchtowers stand in lonely fields with cattle and sheep grazing about them. One such castle, right beside the River Shannon, stood as an overgrown ruin almost totally ignored by everyone.

Aside from the dreary weather, bland chow, and dingy quarters, everyone was extremely nice and lovely (lovely in the personality sense, not in appearance.) Strangers were quick to introduce themselves and engage in conversation.

Overall, it was a splendid time.

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