From the coast of Wales I was able to catch a ferry across the Bristol and St George’s Channels to the coastal village of Rosslare Harbour in Ireland. Upon arriving at the small industrial port, I inquired about nearby lodging and was told there was nothing around. I began to get a bit nervous and was told that I should be able to find lodging in Wexford, about 30 miles north. It was already dark. I realized there was no train service here and asked about transportation. I was told the last bus to Wexford was due to leave at 8:30 from a nearby parking lot. I looked at my watch…it was 8:26. I ran toward where I thought the bus should be and in an empty parking lot I saw a bus running and about to leave. I ran to the drivers window and simply said “Wexford?” The driver nodded and on I jumped. I had made the bus by one minute.
Thirty minutes later I was dropped off at a tiny station in Wexford, Ireland. Wexford is a compact little town with a range of unique boutique-style shops, cafes, bars and bistros and its history dates back to the 1100’s, being ordered fortified by King Henry in 1172. I made my way up Lower John Street and ambled in to Jim McGees Guesthouse Accommodation close to Saint Patrick’s Church. I dropped my backpack and bellied up to the traditional Irish bar and inquired about lodging. I was happy to know that one of the fourteen guest rooms was available for the night, but was unhappy to learn that it had four beds so I would have to pay for a large room. Sitting on the bar stool, I asked the manager if I could get a discount or something since I was travelling alone and I didn’t need four beds. He shook his head no. I then informed him that I had been in Ireland for a mere one hour thus far in my life! He smiled and said “you pay for the room and you’re first pint of Guinness is on me”. Upon hearing this news, some locals sitting nearby moved closer toward me and instructed that they had to buy me the next Guiness. Over the next few hours, I learned about the local area which dates back to the Vikings and has strong Norman connections. I was introduced to Tayto’s – the national snack of Ireland, and made some new friends, before navigating the stairs and finding my room for the night.
The next day, I boarded a train bound for Dublin and rode for miles past the beautiful Irish countryside. I started on this train ride near the very bottom of Ireland, so there were few people on board, but as we advanced towered Dublin, more people began to fill the seats. Eventually three older ladies sat where I was sitting at a four seat table on the train. They introduced themselves and stated that we would be having a picnic with homemade goodies and tea during our journey. They brought out plastic tea cups, snacks and candies and shared it all with me, their table mate and picnic partner.
Upon arriving in Dublin, I found my way to Temple Bar, the trendy area in central Dublin just next to the River Liffey. I walked the streets of Dublin, past Christ Church Cathedral which was founded in 1036 and also viewed St Catherine Church which was founded in 1769. I made my way to Irelands #1 Visitor Attraction: the Guinness Storehouse, and took a tour of the amazing facility.
Ireland is by far the most American country I have been to, even more so than England. With rolling hills and everything easy to understand and navigate, consider visiting friendly Ireland.
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