Shocking developments as I join you, my dear readers, to report that I have been to Ireland and back, and I will never be the same.
Yes, that is correct: the Ireland trip has come and gone! Two nights in Dublin, a night in Westport, a day on Achill, two nights in Galway and another night in Dublin to finish it all off: Ireland was a treat. My expectations were high and that beautiful island delivered, my friends, it truly did.
First of all, it was amazing to see my family. My parents, my brother, my grandparents, Aunt Eileen, Rhiannon and Doug, too! We’ll count Doug as a bonus. Everyone flew into Dublin early Wednesday morning and I joined them later that afternoon, after a harrowing journey around approximately one city block for around an hour, attempting to find my dad and/or the hotel in the rain to boot. But I finally did find my family, shortly after young Colin joined us from his apartment somewhere in Dublin that no one ever saw (I do believe he’s living under a rainbow in the shade of a pot of gold…)
Anywho, we had two nights in Dublin, a magnificent start to our journey, in which we par-tayed har-day, like you do, visiting Temple Bar (naturally) and a few other locations that my brother’s become quite familiar with. It was nice having a tour guide in the family, and that most of his highlights were bars was an extra plus. While in Dublin, Doug and I became professional whiskey tasters.
I sure made the family proud.
After Dublin, it was off to Achill Island, a literal island off the west coast of Ireland where, in fact, my ancestors lived. And when I say “ancestors,” I don’t mean “we’re guessing and it was like 300 years ago so who really knows but how cute of us to visit” (well, I do, but!) — I mean my grandfather’s grandfather was born there! And then came to Cleveland! Because I guess that’s what people did!
Achill Island was legitimately an indescribable experience. Our last name was originally spelled “Patten,” before my grandfather’s grandfather made his way to Ohio and it got changed somehow to “Patton,” and it was unbelievable the number of Pattens we were faced with just driving through the place for a few hours.
We stopped at a coffee shop shortly after crossing the bridge onto Achill Island and asked a barista for directions to the castle– in addition to telling us she knows “Pattens all over the island,” she unwittingly directed us to my favorite destination of perhaps the whole Ireland trip, Patten’s Bar, as well as a statue of Johnny Kilbane, a boxer from the early 1900s who I am also ACTUALLY related to (through the Kilbanes on my grandmother’s side). He’s her cousin! We also stopped at a graveyard along the way and I was astounded by the number of Pattens who stayed there well after my family had gone.
From Achill we went to Galway, where I strangely ran into a friend from Austria in a bar (die Welt ist ein Dorf– fo real, though). That was bundles of fun, and we also managed to squeeze another castle in there, too. Shout out to the poor souls that live in Bunratty, a lovely place with an unfortunate sounding name. Sadly, all good things come to an end and I returned to Germany while much of my family returned to Ohio.
But! A twist! My parents and grandparents came back to Germany with me and we all spent some time exploring Oldenburg et. al as well as Hamburg together, culminating in their departure earlier this morning. I was sad to see them go, but I’m stupidly excited to sleep in tomorrow.
And that, my sweet friends, is what happened. Another thing that happened is that I have almost literally zero Euros now, thanks to too many pints of Guinness and the bus ticket to Paris that I finally got around to buying today. Ooh la la!
For now, and the next few days, I will enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with it being Osterferien in Niedersachsen and all of my friends away traveling. I have a new hot water bottle to my name (I’ve been in this country too long) and a few shows to catch up with, so until Thursday (spoiler: Netherlands!), I’ll just be here, in my chair, eating Haribo.
Ahh, the life!