When in Killarney…

What happens when you put 18 19 to 22-year-old study abroad students in a house in Killarney, Ireland for a weekend? A lot of damn fun, that’s what! That was by far the best weekend I have had yet since being in Ireland. Everything about the weekend was absolutely amazing and I would totally replay it if given the chance.

I really had no idea what to expect going into this weekend as I didn’t really do my research of Killarney, I sort of just went with the flow, and it turned out the three hour train ride across the country was well worth it. I didn’t really realize how much of a global city Dublin is and really had not had a glimpse of true Irish culture until Killarney. I know there are a million students from all over the world and I know Dublin is a huge tourist destination but I thought I was getting the real Irish experience here. I was wrong for the most part.

The house we stayed in was absolutely beautiful; an “I may have considered keeping the key to the front door” type of beautiful. It was about a 20 minute taxi ride into the country side from the actual city and had no real address, making it fun trying to communicate our location to the drivers. We managed, though. Friday night we all took it rather easy, you could say. It was so relaxing and yet so upbeat at the same time. It was kind of like a giant house party and for a while it felt like we were all in a season of the show Big Brother, except nobody really fought or argued as I expected. At one point we took the party outside to the back patio; drinking, chatting, and chasing strange people from the mountainside behind the house. That was strange.

Most of us were outside when someone noticed the silhouette of a man in the moonlight standing just at the top of the small hill. Mind that we were essentially in the middle of nowhere with only one or two other houses around us. My friend Martin spotted him and took off over the barbed wire fence up the hill toward the man. I was yelling for him to stay but do you think he listened? Absolutely not. As he started up the hill and tried getting the man’s attention to ask if we were being too loud or something, as maybe he could’ve been a neighbor, the man began walking away from him, not even turning his head to acknowledge Martin. The man said nothing and disappeared just over the hill. Martin came back to the house and a small group of us hopped the fence to go look for the man. He was nowhere to be found and no possible way he got away as quick as he did or without injuring himself on the barbed wire and many thorn bushes surrounding the house. That will forever remain a mystery and an awesome creepy story to tell. We all took the party back inside when we returned to the house as we were all pretty freaked out.

Saturday came awfully quick, a lot quicker than most of us wanted, but it was completely fine by me. Sleep is for chumps anyway. We climbed the mountain behind the house on Saturday. It took just over an hour to get to the closest highest point to us and, even though it was far from being the highest point in Killarney, the view was phenomenal. Pictures do it no justice. After a mini photo shoot with everyone, we herded sheep across the side of the hill, trying to get close enough for pictures and to touch, but the touching thing was never going to happen. Saturday evening we all took off into the city for dinner and whatever else our adventurous selves had in mind. After dinner we went to two Irish pubs and a nightclub/pub.

The second pub we were at had live music and I was enjoying it just as much as the locals. I knew most of the music which made it that much more enjoyable. As I was sitting there watching and listening to the music, a couple of locals took it upon themselves to turn the bar area into a dance floor. The elder man sitting beside me leaned over and started speaking paragraphs in Gaelic to me and there was zero chance of me understanding anything that came off his tongue, so I just smiled and agreed and gave the occasional chuckle. He had no clue that I had no clue what he was saying. And what happens next? The woman out dancing grabs my arm and drags me out to the makeshift dance floor, against my will, as my friend sat there laughing like crazy. That was fun for the most part, even though I did get a lot closer to that woman than I wanted to…

We stayed there for a little while longer and after a few extremely nice confidence-boosting compliments on my “lovely” hair and “nicely-trimmed” beard from the locals, we headed for the nightclub. In the front half of the club it was more of a pub and the back half was more so the nightclub. In the front there was an awesome band playing traditional Irish music and in the back there was a band playing modern pop and dance. Every time I went to use the toilet I stopped in out front to listen to the Irish music and to watch the locals dance.

Funny story. On one of my last stops to the men’s room, shortly before we headed home, I walked in and there were a couple middle-aged men relieving their bladders at the urinal troth. I stepped up to go and on the far side of the urinal troth, the man let out a super loud and quick back draft or air biscuit or toot, whichever you prefer, and the older gentleman between us goes, “Ooooh, c flat.” I would’ve passed out if I had held my laugh in any longer so I let it go and the bathroom lit up with the loudest laughs I’ve heard in a long time.

Just a side note, my new favorite drink or shot is a baby Guinness. If you’ve never had one you need to try it and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Until next time!

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