If there’s one stereotype I’d heard about the Irish which turned out to be completely true, it’s that they are unbelievably friendly. During our road trip, conversation with locals flowed as easily as the Guinness – in pubs, hotels, cafes, we received tip-offs, recommendations and warm welcomes from everyone we met.
When we first arrived in Ireland, it had been raining for days. On our first evening in Glengarriff, after eating far too much, we got talking to Liam, a regular of the pub we were in. He was sat outside, smoking roll ups and cleaning out a bucket. It turned out he’d been out on the water and was having a quick pint after distributing his catch of mackerel to hoteliers in the town.
Somehow, through a short conversation, we ended up agreeing to meet him at 5pm the next evening down by the water’s edge to join him on one of his post-work jaunts. We jumped onto his little, but sturdy, wooden boat on calm and beautiful sea. The men talked about how the boat worked and fishing techniques and I sat back and enjoyed the views.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t tempted out on the water by the idea of fishing. Actually, Glengarriff is well known for its local abundance of seals. They inhabit the rocks and caves of a nearby island and I really wanted to spot one. Liam made absolutely sure of it and drove the boat as close as we could without scaring them. We saw them bobbing in the water, relaxing out in the setting sunlight and even baby ones! Tiny, fluffy things that looked totally baffled by us peering at them.
We did actually catch some mackerel, though. It was really fascinating even though I was squeamish at the swift way our host bopped them on the head so that they wouldn’t suffocate. There were around 10 to take back to land; destined for Liam’s oven in the near future.
We thanked him with some post-fishing pints in the pub we had met him in the night before. His generosity and friendly nature were the perfect end to our road trip adventure.
You can read the rest of my Ireland Road Trip Diaries here