Day 34: Sunday November 13th, 2011
To get to Dingle, I had to take three separate buses, from Limerick, then in Tralee (truh-lee) onto Dingle.
Why was I going to Dingle? A few reasons: great name, on the west coast of Ireland and is supposed to be beautiful, known for its great views around the area, and Rick Steves recommended it. Spoiler alert: Rick Steves deserves a fucking medal, maybe even a Purple Heart.
On the last bus, I met a Brazilian named Lorena who was looking for a hostel. I told her I booked one and she could come with me to find it. How stupid was I about to look.
Dingle is a small town, and not one of them knew where Paddy’s Palace was. Bad sign. It was also getting dark. Soon, I got to thinking it wasn’t in Dingle, but nearby. Turns out it was in an even smaller town called Arnascaul, which was 8-10 km away, but may as well have been in Bermuda due to how accessible it was to me at that moment. I was pissed. The Paddy’s Palace was listed under Dingle on Hostelworld.com, and while I probably should’ve been able to figure out that it wasn’t in town, I made the stupid mistake of trusting the website and assuming Future Andy could find it. I’m a dumbass (and Future Andy is unreliable at best). And, because I pre-booked and already made a deposit, I was sunk the money for those two nights regardless (I would try and e-mail them and call them to cancel and never got any response, even when I returned to Dublin and had the other Paddy’s Palace try it. Their e-mail wasn’t even the right address). Lorena, for some reason, stayed with me through this ordeal, as we then went on a frantic search for hostels in town. There weren’t many, and any we found were closed/the reception wasn’t open yet or looked abandoned. Welcome to Dingle, Andy.
We stopped in The Dingle Pub, which had wi-fi and Guinness. Tom, the barkeep, even made us some fries free of charge while we waited and recommended The Green Street Townhouse (he knew the owner, of course), which we had heard about from other random townsfolk, but couldn’t find it/knocked on a door we assumed was it and found no one.
We tried again, this time with success. A hungover Irish fellow named Noel answered, and Lorena and I found a townhouse/hostel completely empty save for us, for 15 euro a night. Noel even did my laundry for free and folded it.
Lorena and I went to dinner at the Marina Inn nearby the docks where I had an amazing and filling bacon and cabbage (essentially corned beef) while being serenaded by a group of raggedy old men and women playing a variety of instruments inbetween their smoke breaks. This is Ireland.
Then we started what is probably the best pub crawl in Ireland. We went to Dick Mac’s, a shop/general store that is also a bar. There are shoes and clothes draped everywhere. This place also had music; fiddles, guitars and old men galore. Great shit. At this pub, we met a family from Boston, who like any self-respecting New Englanders, had rented out a pub to watch the Pats game that night. Lorena and I also met Dave and Damon, the Double D’s, two fucking drunk Irish nutbags who flirted with girls like crazy, not stopping to flirt with one of the Mass women with her Dad right there. They stopped when her brother, who was the size of Vince Wolfork, walked in. More on Dave and Damon later.
Anyways, Lorena: like me, she wants to be in film, only as a director/writer/extraordinaare. She hates pretty much all American films (though could appreciate Back to the Future) and had the hots for Werner Herzog and German movies. She had a new boyfriend back home, and was planning on moving to Spain with her father for a time in the near future. She had a great sense of humor and loved Dingle as much as I did. She also loved comicbooks and had been collecting comics from each country she visited. The joke was that she had no room to carry anything yet kept buying stuff. The day after I left she mentioned casually that she bought a fiddle to practice. I still have no idea how she lugged everything around, but it’s still awesome.
After Dick Mac’s, we went to Foxy John’s hardware store. This was quieter (because Dave and Damon weren’t there), smaller, and the only place I’ve seen where you can rent a bike, buy nails and order a Guinness at the same time, Irish multitasking at its finest.
Another Guinness down, we met back up with Dave and Damon at Curran’s, another shop cum bar. Dave and Damon are both locals from Dingle and aggressive flirts and hilarious guys. Dave said I was the only American he’d met that he actually wanted to talk to and sort of took me under his wing, like it or not. Dave scared Lorena away by asking for pictures of her tits. She literally ran back to the hostel. Me, drunk and with the life of the party, naturally stayed with them. When going to the bathroom a bit later I stumbled upon a back room that was literally some guy’s living room, where Dave and Damon were smoking with essentially the Don of Dingle, this old man who sounded like an Irish Godfather. I didn’t understand a word he said to me, but he was smiling and laughing a lot, which is good, I hoped.
We went to another bar with a cavernous out of nowhere back room where Dave and I chatted with a different barkeep named Tom. We also met a few girls that all clearly “knew” Dave, for better or worse. Dave also mentioned how he recently survived a big car accident, explaining the scars on his face. Around this time, Damon disappeared.
On our way to the last bar, we stopped and talked to an old man smoking in a car, who was apparently the taxi driver for Dingle. Dave casually mentioned that the guy recently stopped drinking. I still have his business card, somewhere. It might come in handy.
Damon took me to the closest thing Dingle has to a club, where all the young (25-30 year olds) people hung out. He knew everyone, all since elementary school, I’d bet. I watched pool, had more beer, talked to some weird fucking girls, and then called it a night. Before I left, Dave gave me his number and contact information and promised to show me around Dingle and the beautiful and infamous Sleighhead Drive the next day. He also mentioned he didn’t have a license and I’d have to basically bike into town and ask for his Dad, where they’d show him the way to his house. How cool is that?
How cool is fucking Dingle?
Next: My favorite day of travelling thus far.