After one year living in Ireland, it’s difficult to decide which place is my favourite one. The country seems a dolls house, so you love all the sites wherever you go. The locations are out of this world, but some of them simply capture your heart. Magically, you nurture a special feeling for a spot in particular. And this is Killarney for me.
Having had a great time in Galway, I started planning my second adventure inside the island. I hadn’t taken my visa yet, so it’d be better to avoid problems with the Immigration. In addition, I’d read about gorgeous places in Ireland and I had to visit them. After a brief search on Google, I made up my mind and scheduled a trip to Killarney, in the southern.
It was one of those “homeless” periods in my Irish life. At this time, I had found a long-term vacancy, but I had to wait for some days until I could move in. The solution: let’s travel! If I had to stay in a hostel, it doesn’t matter if it’s in Dublin or another city during the weekend. My luggage remained in the flat where I’d lived with some friends, waiting for the owner and the new house. With me, only my brave and pink backpack.
On a Friday, I took a bus after my class. The train was a quicker option, but much pricier. As I had plenty of time those days, I travelled for about seven hours to my final destination. You don’t spend all this time on the road, but it’s necessary to wait for another bus in Limerick. Travelling by bus bothers people, but I do love this sort of transport. There’s something very exciting about touching the ground. Like hitchhiking (or travel on foot!), it seems such an authentic way of seeing the world (especially if you are alone and not that broken). What’s more, you can meet locals along the way and observe all the details in each village. Churches, graveyards, little squares, rivers, bridges, children, old ladies going to the supermarket. What amazes most are the derelict buildings, covered with grass, in the middle of nothing. I love feeling the impact of the wheels, listening to some music and imagine what happened with those constructions. Lots of history in front of you…
I choose a hostel near the station and I headed to the accommodation as soon as I got off the bus. The place was relatively clean, the receptionist not very nice and the keys didn’t work as they should, but things could be worse. It is situated beside a huge and old cathedral, what cheered me up (heritage always leave me in good spirits). It was nine o’clock and I needed to get some sleep. However, first I went downstairs to get some information about the trips in the region. I had only two days for trips, so I opted for Ring of Kerry for the next day and Dingle for Sunday. The touristic company would pick me up in front of the hostel. So far so good.
I had breakfast on Saturday with an old couple from USA, and I left the hostel to wait for the bus. Another girl was there to join the same group. It was Marion, from France, who was in Ireland to do some Wwoof. We got on well immediately. She was in a similar situation at that time – no home until Monday, a backpack and a wish to live some meaningful days. The weather was gloomy and cold (no wonder I caught a cold later), but we enjoyed a lot the trip. We took pictures, sprint like children, laughed. We were usually the last ones to enter the bus after each stop and I suspect other people hated us.
Ring of Kerry is beautiful, but I enjoyed even more the companion (which is quite rare because I don’t find good partners easily). Besides Marion, I met another guy from France. He wasn’t exactly likeable, but he was so French (in the stereotypical sense) that it was funny. He was a mix of snobbism and extravagance. I’d guess he doesn’t like Latin people very much, but I didn’t care. The situation was amusing in the big picture.
Back to Killarney, Marion invited me to join some friends on a pub in town. I was tired and not willing to meet people. I also needed to save some money, so I just had a shower, laid on my bed and read some bullshit on my smartphone. Good day.
On Sunday, I saw Marion with her French friends at the breakfast saloon (strange girls). Her plan was to stroll in Killarney before taking the bus to the next farm in her Woof life. After our goodbye, I went to the city centre quite early to buy a ticket to Dingle Peninsula (at this time I wanted to buy it on my own). The office wasn’t open yet, and I went for a walk to discover the town. It’s absolutely picturesque. Small colourful shops fill the streets. Old gentlemen discuss something drinking some coffee. Killarney seems to be in another world – even though it’s one of the most touristic spots in Ireland. It’s such a cute town. You can also see some carriages, but the attraction isn’t odd and old-fashioned there. Lovely mysteries of Killarney.
I walked until the time the office opens. I purchased my ticket and waited for the bus outside with other people. Different from the previous day, Sunday was amazing. The sky was blue, with a few clouds. Perfect to visit one of the most rated places in the country. According to National Geographic, the area is among the most beautiful regions on Earth. The trip would be worthwhile.
We travelled in a smaller bus, which is good because there are fewer people to go in and off and we can stop more times. Thank goodness, the driver had a good accent, easy to understand. He stopped in many locations to take pictures. What a gorgeous place.
Dingle Peninsula is famous due to its numerous archaeological areas. There are thousands of them. It’s also known because of the students who go there to learn the Irish language. It must a dream to live some weeks in a place like that. It’s breathtaking!
Our longest stop happened in Dingle Town, which is surrounded by the sea and the mountains. The boats give colourfulness to the harbour. I was on top of the world there. I promised myself to go back to Dingle one day. It’s the kind of place that deserves more than one visit. I love spots that make me willing to explore every corner. I was enchanted.
I missed Marion this day, but I met a Korean girl who sat beside me. She was nice and created some hilarious situations. She teaches English in South Korea and went to Ireland to master the language. I said I was travelling alone, but it’s not a problem for me (I do like travelling by myself). She must have been worried about my solitude. Every time we stopped, she used to take my camera to take a picture of me. I take selfies perfectly, but I preferred to accept her kindness. However, after a good number of (bad) pictures, I told her it was ok, that I had enough snaps to remember later. Do you know when your legs don’t appear in the photo? That was the case. She insisted on her offer, but I refused gently.
During the evening, I stayed in the hostel again, talking to girls from Germany and Bosnia. At the end of the day, hostels can be a bit disturbing, but they’re a great way to meet fellows. You always learn something from other people, especially from different realities.
On Monday, I did check-in and headed to the town to explore Killarney even more. I had time until two o’clock when I should take the bus to Dublin. I had seen almost everything the day before, so I went to Killarney National Park. Definitely one of the best places ever. The scenery is amazing and the locals who walk there greet you with good morning J The Park is huge, so I had to choose only one attraction. As I love castles, I took the way to Ross Castle. It’s unbelievable.
While there, I promised I’d get married with the first Irish man who proposed me just to live near places like that. Nobody proposed in the end, but I still have my pictures to remember Ross Castle and its lake. I skipped school that Monday but the reason couldn’t be nobler.
I just had time to buy some bread, ham and biscuits before taking the bus. I was wearing some boots and taking them off was a matter of survival. The bus was almost empty and no one sat on the neighbour seat, which was a gift to my exhausted legs. I had to wait for a long time in Limerick, but I talked to a man in his fifties or sixties and the time passed by quickly. He asked me many things and when I realized we were talking about love and some deep stuff. You don’t have experiences like this if you stick to a travel partner or travel just by plane or don’t open your heart to life and its surprises.
On the second bus, I was dead on my feet. Out of the blue, the few passengers were laughing their heads off. I tried to understand the joke, but the strong accents beat me. In a certain point, an old woman who was in Limerick waiting for the bus with me got off. On the pavement, she waved to me. There was a grin in her face. She looked simple and sweet. In another village, some little boys waved to me as well. They must be waiting to go home after school. Killarney made me fall in love with Irish people and bus trips too. Ireland since then was more than a place to live. It was a dream.
I reached Dublin shattered, but gratified. Backpacking was really a cool thing.