The day I didn’t die hitchhiking in Ireland It was dark and stormy afternoon as we huddled on the side of a narrow country road tentatively extending our thumbs, hoping that it would be safer to ride with a stranger then to brave the unpredictable weather. After what seemed like hours a black van pulls sharply over to the side. A pit starts to form in my stomach wondering if this was a bad idea, as we climbed into the back of the van… Okay so my first hitchhiking experience didn’t go anything like that, the above experience and the actual experience are as different as night and day, literally. The scary story was at night and the real story happened during the day. On one of the most beautiful days we have experienced in Ireland. It was sunny and warm with a beautiful blue sky, and a gentle breeze. We were staying in Westport and wanted to go to Murrisk to see the Friary and the famine memorial ship. After talking to several locals, most of them suggested hitchhiking since it wasn’t very far and taxis and buses would cost too much. I was a little apprehensive about hitchhiking, mostly because of all the scary movies and books about hitchhikers being murdered or thereabouts. I knew Clayton had been hitchhiking in Ireland before, and with all the locals suggesting it, it seemed very common. So in the end the thrill seeker side of me won out and we decided to give it a shot. We started walking towards Murrisk with our thumbs out, and when we had walked about half way a car pulled over. My heart started thumping just a little faster as we leaned in the passenger window to talk to the driver, who happened to be a lovely middle aged lady. She told us she was headed to Murrisk so we climbed in. After exchanging names, she asked what we wanted to do in Murrisk, and then proceeded to give us advice on where we should go and the best way to get there, as well as give us some more ideas on what to do. She was so kind and friendly and I was just so glad that I didn’t end up as a skin suit on my first hitchhiking attempt. While I was doing a little research I found this website of hitchhiking tips with some very useful info, like which countries allow hitchiking, where its common, or easy to get a ride. Check it out if you have plans to do any hitching anytime soon. I think the biggest tip I could give to anyone is that if a car stops and you feel uncomfortable in anyway, don’t get in the car. All in all I had a great experience hitchhiking in Ireland, and it was nice to give our feet a rest. Would you ever hitchhike?
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Clew Bay Boats
Sea Kayaking in Clew Bay, Ireland The sun was shining and the sky was blue, which had us questioning if we were still in Ireland as we kayaked around Clew Bay, and took in the serene landscape. Surrounded by lush green islands we had a calm and clear liquid highway to paddle on and explore the area. After leaving the Isle of Inishturk, we stayed in Westport for a few days, and while there we were able to go sea kayaking in Clew Bay. Clew bay is a natural ocean bay located in county Mayo. It is made up of a couple hundred islands and is ruled over by Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain. Clew bay was the perfect choice for kayaking with our friends at Adventure Islands. We started the day at Rosmoney Pier where we met the rest of our group, and instructors for the day. We were outfitted and instructed before sliding into our kayaks and turned loose on the bay. We were using sit-in kayaks which were totally new to Clayton and I, but I thought with our previous experience using sit on top kayaks on numerous occasions that this would be a piece of cake. I was wrong. Apparently Clayton and I both have “high centers of gravity” (is that a fat joke?) which makes us very prone to wobbles in the kayaks and tipping over. Talk about embarrassing, I was in my kayak maybe 2 minutes and less than five feet from the shore when I fell out of my nice dry kayak, into the lovely freezing Atlantic. Sadly out of the five other people who were kayaking with us, we were the only two that went “swimming” that day. The landscape really was breathtaking. From the azure blue sky bringing us rare warm sunshine, to the dark blues and greens of the sparkling water where the seaweed reached up from the depths, doing its best to slow down our gliding kayaks. The plentiful islands we navigated around each offered a varied landscape from bountiful yellow flowers to fluffy white sheep. I even saw a sheepdog driving a speed boat!…or at least helping. We had an enjoyable and beautiful day kayaking around Clew Bay. Thanks to our instructors Gemma, Paddy, and Richard who kept us safe, made us laugh, and kept everyone else dry.