Wow! Really amazing, fun, and life changing. I flew into Dublin from Bristol on Sunday, explored a bit, slept and woke up early for a tour around southern Ireland Monday morning!!! AH, it was so cool. The tour mostly consisted of our guide occasionally giving us Irish knowledge about things we were passing, looking at the beautiful landscapes that surrounded us, and talking to the cool people on the bus. And stopping in amazing spots to catch the views, and stopping to sleep in towns for the night, after exploring.
The most important recommendations given to me were to watch Father Ted on channel4.com, a sitcom from the mid 90's focusing on three priests living on an Isle off the coast of Ireland. The line that hooked me was "You don't actually believe in all that religious stuff do ya, Father?" I will be watching it very soon. And a hip hop comedy duo called the Rubber Bandits, they are solid, here's one of their SONGS.
Our guide Aisling was insanely informed, she has to know everything there is to know about Ireland. Our driver John was so cool too, we have the same birthday! Flame twins. And there was a guide in training named Patrick, really cool and spiritual guy, we talked a lot about life. All awesome Irish people keen on giving us an authentic Irish experience. I learned a lot, about Irish culture, my future interests, traveling, all of it (life wise) feckin Jaysus.
The first day we started in Dublin and went to The Hill of Tara. A really scenic and wide bit of land overlooking the hills of Ireland. It has a mythical background and stuff, I don't remember all of the details, I'll just tell you the places I went that I remember. Then we headed over to a small town called Trim and saw Trim Castle where part of Braveheart was filmed.
We continued onward to GALWAY! An amazing smaller city in Ireland. I loved it there, the vibe, the pubs, the people. My first day I went out with the training tour guide Patrick to a museum that ended up being closed. We walked through Galway catching all the cool places and saw an IRISH WOLFHOUND. I capitalize because it was the biggest dog I've ever seen! It could have easily been taller than me, it took longer steps than me.
We went into a pub called The King's Head, and I got an Irish Coffee, and we had a great talk. Getting really deep and spiritual, he shared some serious insight with me on my negative thoughts. "You exist before and after you have a thought." He was full of these type of quotes and peace of mind type of sayings. "Surrender" was another good word he used. He was so easy to talk to, and a great listener, going "yeah, yeah, yeah" to everything, encouraging me to continue sharing. And making that closed throat noise of "mmmm" when I said something deep or profound. So he was a good buddy on the trip, one of many people I became close with throughout the five day tour. Including, Nuha, Carly, Cass, Laura, Ashley, James, Faraaz, Lianna, John. Sorry if I forgot any of yas. We took it easy that night and went around that area the next day to some beautiful mountainous landscapes and came back to Galway for that Tuesday night.
When we returned, I ventured off by myself to get some stuff. Exploring the city streets of Galway, I kept saying "I'm in Galway" to remind myself to enjoy the scenery. I returned to a pub to get my first Guinness and some dinner. I sat down alone and shortly after an American guy and his Chinese friend, who was living in Finland, came and sat by me. They were environmental scientists who were there studying for a university. Building instruments to locate the bad stuff in the air... Basically... It was a nice little encounter, interesting, And I've never had two scientists ask me if they could sit next to me for dinner before or since.
I left for another pub called Monroe's where the tour group was, and on my way I asked a couple for directions to this pub. They didn't know so I kept walking. They soon ran after me saying they had 3G on their phone for Google Maps. The girl was Irish, the guy was English, I told him I was studying in England, he said "Whereabouts?" I said Bath, he said "Oh I studied acting there!" Holy shit! He was in the same program I am and his favorite teacher was Mary Steadman who I took classes with.
I got to the pub, and sat down with the group, had some pints and watched the Irish dancing. I met a cool Galway local named Simon Spain and he and his girlfriend told me that I NEED to come back to Galway for at least four days. Because I had only gotten a small taste of the beautiful city. Really fun! The Irish dancing was elderly couples who were legit in their abilities and made a beautiful display of moves. I didn't encapsulate Galway as well as it deserves, I will definetly go back, it was incredible!
On Wednesday morning we made our way to Ennis. Among other stops we went to the CLIFFS OF MOHER. I capitalize again because they were huge and magnificent. Harry Potter was filmed there, as was The Princess Bride as the CLIFFS OF INSANITY. Breathtaking and magnificent to see the Atlantic ocean like that, as well as the distant waters crashing into the side of the cliffs.
Getting to Ennis, my new buddy Faaraz and I went for a pint at a pub called YOLO. We met a local bar goer named Ollie. He started talking to us about our beards. We couldn't understand his heavy Irish accent for awhile until he adjusted it. We invited him to come join us outside after awhile he finished his current pint and he did. We told him that we went to Galway and he replied "What are you doing here? Shoulda stayed in fuckin' Galway. (Pause for laughs) That's the place to fall in love." I could sense that vibe from Galway.
We all talked for a bit then Faaraz began asking real deep questions to get him to open up and he did. One question was "What would you say to yourself twenty years ago?" Ollie replied, "Wouldn't say shite." We all laughed and he elaborated that "if ya have regrets then you're not who ya are." Which is really beautiful. Meaning he wouldn't change a thing, even though he had a messed up back, no kids, no girl and was a heavy drinker, and had a melancholy to him. He seemed to be content with his life, and enjoying our interaction. I was uncomfortable during Faraaz's interrogation, but right near the end their was an extreme lightness that came over me and I was sad that we had to leave Ollie very soon. It's hard to describe but I loved that moment and that small snippet into Ollie's life. Faraaz and I left to eat dinner with our group then we went out to a pub called The Danny Man with everyone.
I had been sharing about my acting and comedy to people throughout the trip and people were requesting me to do stand up. They asked me to do it at the pub. The band was taking a break and everyone started clapping for me to get up. The whole bar got quiet and I told a story to the group. About 4 minutes long, the first time I had told this certain story or anything to a "crowd" this year. It went over pretty well and everyone resumed their good times.
The next day, Thursday we were making our way to the next destination, and Faraaz had asked our tour guide Aisling to let me perform on the bus, so I did! I went up there and told a story from my childhood about the first time I got drunk. Some people laughed, some people were horrified, some people didn't care. It was great fun and good practice, I have a recording of it, I then passed it over to John the bus driver to tell some stories, he killed it! We stopped in Dingle to pet some lambs! We were able to hold them and we got some good pictures. Here's me holding the lamb
We then went to the Dingle Peninsula, one of the most astounding views ever. A huge cliff looking over the Atlantic ocean, right near the beach... Boii! I was able to get near the sand and see the huge waves crash into the rocks with the sun shining over the sea. it was incredible!
We ended up in Killarney for that night. I left the group to go roam around the town a bit, when I came back I saw John alone in the kitchen, so I asked if he wanted to go grab dinner. He said yes and to ask the group if they wanted to go out for some lamb to a certain place. I forgot that we were just playing with lambs earlier that day. I posted on the group and no one responded, they thought I was joking, and John and I went out to eat lamb. I was so happy because this guy is so interesting, I got to ask him all about his life and have a proper sit down. He told me amazing stories about his friends, women, drinking, health and he gave me some advice. "Spend your money, don't save it. Go places and travel, get the experience. Don't get married or have kids." It was a great talk and I'm grateful that us flame twins got to have a proper meal and chat.
The next day we travelled through Killarney stopping in Cork to see The Blarney Castle, really beautiful, and we all went up and kissed the Blarney Stone receiving "The Gift of Gab"... Nice. The spent most of the time back to Dublin, we stopped at a few more scenic places, and the whole way I was having a great chat with Faraaz. It was a really amazing time traveling around Southern Ireland, and then I got to spend a few days in Dub Dub Dub Dub Dublin!
This tour changed my life, I got to have great conversations with people on the bus. Great times talking to Irish locals. And seeing amazing views from the bus, and stopping at great places to take in all of the humongous surroundings of mother nature in Ireland. A lot of good weather for Irish standards too. I have made great friends from all over the world, and got some amazing advice from people. And I got to tell jokes on a bus and in a bar in Ireland! So cool, I recommend Shamrockers tours/ Busabout /Celtic Rocker to anybody interesting in traveling and exploring a country! It was so FanFeckinTastic, and quite cheap, mine was (349 euros for 5 days) hostels and breakfast included! Here's the link to the TRIP
In February, Faraaz came out to Chicago with his cousin Lianna to see m perform as Vi Smith at a show in my friends apartment. It was amazing to see them and to have them watch me perform again. They are great friends, and I plan on seeing them and other people from the trip again too!