For the first time in a long time, I actually finished meal-prepping by noon on a Sunday. It’s a miracle. And for the first time in a long time, I am writing a second blog post with a few weeks of each other? Who am I and what have I done with myself? I wonder if I’m getting sick.
Last time I wrote about our time in Northern Ireland and what it was like being so close to the Causeway. Readers-writing that blog post made me miss Ireland so much. But even with an amazing blog post like that, I still can’t convince my wife to go back for a third visit in a row. Such is life.
After an adventure filled day at the Causeway that involved of a lot of walking (over 17,000 steps according to my Fitbit) we headed back to our hotel room to sleep because we had a long drive ahead of us to Strandhill in County Sligo. The next morning we packed up the last of our things and spent a little bit more time at the visitors center to buy more tourist things. Then we headed off to Strandhill. I don’t remember a lot about that drive, I just know we were annoyed with the GPS and annoyed by the large car we had to deal with. We went to Strandhill on our first trip to Ireland and we were looking forward to staying at the same hotel again. And my wife was looking forward to trying to surf. We had no idea Strandhill was such a top spot for surfing on our first trip there. We made it to Strandhill with no issues and checked into the hotel. We stayed at Strandhill Lodge and Suites which isn’t far from the beach, has parking, and restaurants and pubs right by it. And…a view of the water.
Our 2nd time in Strandhill was not a disappointment. We were tired after a long drive so we went to the restaurant next to the hotel called The Venue Bar and Restaurant. The back of the restaurant is all windows so you have a view of the water. We enjoyed a nice dinner. I had fish and chips and my wife had a hamburger and we enjoyed relaxing and taking in the pretty view. We turned in early that night because…Angie was going to surf the next morning and I couldn’t wait to be a witness to this!
The plan in the morning was for Angie to have her surf lesson while I walked around the beach, taking photos, maybe grabbing lunch or a coffee. It is a bit of a walk (uphill) to the hotel from the beach but I figured if I got too bored I would head back up to the room. I went with Angie when she ‘checked in’ for her surf lesson. I felt like a mom, super concerned but also super proud she was doing something so far out of her comfort zone. I figured I would try to get pictures from far away, I didn’t want to be annoying and follow the group around and take pictures like a stage mom. So while she was meeting with the group, changing, and grabbing their boards I took a walk the opposite way to check out the beach and other various surfers in the area. It was busy that day, lots of people out even thought the weather wasn’t that great.
I walked and I walked and I walked that day. So many surfers and…so many dogs on the beach. I made lots of doggie friends that day which is always a treat for me.
I finally decided to head back to watch my wife do her surfing and then…we had a downpour. Luckily, I’m in Ireland and I’m not an idiot. I was prepared with a rain jacket with a hood and a cover for my camera. I decided then and there that stopping into a pub for lunch was a great idea. I forget the pub name, it was right by the beach (everything at Strandhill Beach is literally right on the main drag from the beach). I ordered a drink and soup. The soup was awful (I think they dropped an entire jar of cumin in the soup-I asked for vegetable soup but that’s not what I got) but the brown bread was amazing, as usual. And it got me out of the rain. Once it cleared up outside I headed back out. I walked down to see my wife and I was stopped by 2 German college students. They wanted me to take a picture of them. I wish I could remember their names but we stood and talked for about 30 minutes. They came to Ireland for school, would be there a few months, and were taking surf lessons later in the afternoon and were watching the current group and psyching themselves out. I gave them a pep talk and I think they felt better (and I did see them later in the day and they were in their wet suits and had their boards so I think my talk worked).
As for my wife? Well…she enjoyed her time in the water but came out to talk to me and told me a million times that surfing is a lot harder than she realized! She gave up on her lesson a little early but I was proud of her. She tried it and she can now officially say that she ‘surfed’ in Ireland!
After her lesson we went back up to the hotel where she could shower and wash the sea off of her. We headed back down to the beach later for an early dinner. The restaurant isn’t open anymore so no point in giving the name. We enjoyed our dinner, we both had haddock and it was busy and the service was good so I am surprised the restaurant is no more. After dinner we walked on the beach again and checked out the surfers. I took a video of a surfer out there looking amazing and I posted it to social media and said it was Angie surfing and that she was natural. A few people believed me too! I felt bad when I had to own to my lie!
That night we didn’t do much, Angie was tired from her long surf lesson and I was tired from all the walking so we took it easy because we had a very long drive the next morning. Strandhill to Dingle is roughly 5 hours.
And we got lost. A lot.
I’ve already mentioned more than a few times we were unhappy with the car but the GPS may have been worse. It wasn’t updated at all. It was taking us to Dingle on the worst side country roads imaginable. Tiny roads with grass growing in the middle but luckily we only encountered a few other cars. When I finally had service I got my phone out and we used that instead but by that point we were almost in Dingle. As frustrating as that drive was-you can’t deny that the Dingle peninsula is. absolutely. gorgeous. If you go to Ireland-I swear to God, you have to go to the Dingle Peninsula. I’m not a religious person but that area can convince you there is a God. It is stunning.
Our time in Dingle was the best time we had I think the entire trip. I can’t wait to write about our 5 days there. A photo tour of the peninsula, good food, gorgeous pictures, amazing people. A drive to Portmagee to see Skellig. Our next trip to Ireland I just want to spend 2 weeks in Dingle and act like I’m a local.
More to come…