Deserted on the Aran Islands

Cliffs of Moher • One of Gods many works of art

Let me tell you about the weekend that went awry in the Aran Islands. There is nothing like spending a whole weekend on a deserted Island with very little food, one pub, and a large group of stressed out college girls. When I heard Saint Marys was taking us to the Aran Islands ,which are on the west coast of Ireland, I was picturing something moderately tropical and perhaps relaxing. No no that wouldn't do; it rained just about all weekend, we had to make our own food, and there was nothing the least bit tropical on this island. I'm usually one to make the best out of every situation no matter what, but I was already down with the flu/sinus infection so this case was a tad short of complete misery.  

Our first stop was Doolin which was a quaint town right on the coast, in the county Galway. There was a small pub with local Irish music, a few shops and the cutest little donkey. The next morning we woke up to fog, rain and wind just in time to see the Cliffs of Moher. I have been looking forward to seeing the iconic cliffs since I arrived in Ireland. Unfortunately we couldn't even see them because of the fog, so I guess I will have to go again on a sunny day!

After the misty Cliffs we boarded a small fairy to travel to the biggest of the 3 Aran Islands. This trip took over two hours and lets just say I should not have eaten breakfast. Once arrived the weather began to turn and we walked around to discover the island. I'm not sure what we were looking for but we discovered the entire island is mostly made of rock and its edges were like mini Cliffs of Moher.

Saturday night we strolled down the street to the local (and only) pub where the 'Keltic Kats' played some traditional Irish tunes. There was a Hen party group there, which is what the Irish call a bachelorette party. They usually dress up, go all out and get pretty drunk which was entertaining. Surprisingly the two young bartenders were some of the most attractive men I've seen in Ireland, and somehow they were on that God forsaken island.

I kept picturing us in the perfect horror movie setting. Like in 'I Still Know What you Did Last Summer' a group of teens goes to an island for vacation but it gets stormy, nothing is open because its off- season and they start to go missing one by one. Well no one went missing but it would have thrown some excitement into the weekend.

On Sunday the forecast was all rain so some of us stayed in and some of us chanced the elements and rode bikes around the island. I was one that stayed in bed all day because I was feeling very sick, so maybe the weather was a blessing in disguise. A few girls had their 21st birthday on the island, which is quite unfortunate in every way. That night we made hamburgers that I am not sure were meat and then cut some 'fresh' cake from Spar, the one and only grocery store on the island, for the birthday girls.

Monday was by far the most "exciting/terrifying/worst" day of the trip because when heading to the dock to leave our beloved island a bad storm was a brew. Both the sea and sky were dark and the waves were making whitecaps far until the eye could see. While waiting for our fairy we saw a large boat come in and we were relieved. Then we were informed this was not our boat. Then a slightly smaller boat arrived, and again were informed this was not our boat. Finally the smallest tug-boat ever sailed in Ireland came to the dock and we were informed that, this was unfortunately, our mode of transport to the mainland. The group of girls had just about had it and began to cry "oh helll no" ..."are you actually kidding me?" ..."are we being punked?". After much resistance we boarded and braced ourselves for a bumpy ride. Most of us had taken Dramamine, but nothing could have prepared us for 2 hours of wind, rain, and wave movements that simulated something of a horrible roller coaster ride. The boat was all Saint Mary's girls except one family with two small children. Somehow by God's graces I did not get more than nauseous because we had multiple girls running to the back of the boat. Thank God we arrived safely to land and I am sure none of us will be taking a fairy anytime in the near future.

The weekend might have actually been enjoyable if we would have gone to restaurants, taken a bigger fairy, and the sun came out once in a while. But hey I'm not complaining just relaying the facts, and all the girls felt the same exact way. The weekend was definitely a bonding experience for the group of 27 Saint Mary's girls. Not exactly what we pictured or planned for the weekend but we made it through some tough times, held some hair back and pushed through like champs.

I'm actually grateful I will not be traveling for a while, finals are approaching and the students will be buckling down after this weeks final week of classes. I cannot believe I only have 3 weeks left of school (1 week class, 2 weeks of finals) and 1 month left here in Ireland. At this point I have been here so long I don't think its hit me I still have to leave. I have been missing home a lot more recently than I would have imagined, but now that all my friends are done with finals and starting summer break I have the itch for that as well. I know this last month will fly by so my goal is to keep enjoying every moment as it is and not to miss opportunities to keep having new experiences.