Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Thurles Adventure

Good evening everyone,

A new chapter in my trip has begun. I have started working at a high end equestrian facility near thurles, Tipperary Co.

It reminds me very much of my time tree plantjng in northern ontario, my body is aching, the hours are long, you eat as much food as you can get your hands on, because your body needs it!

Im working with a top quality horses and trainers, and while thats amazing, my perfectly intermediate riding ability is almost struggling with these amazing horses!!

Ive been riding jack, my boss's massive hunter. Hes a fantstic horse that is very easy to control, exept when the other horses leave the areana to head to the track to do some galloping.. as soon as they head out the gate, that also leads to the trails and jacks beloved cross country course, he is no longer too plesed to be doing flatwork in the areana! His massive feet also sometimes get stuck under his massive body. But hes a powerful 6 year old that just wants to play!

The work is pretty typical stable work, turni out horses, feeding, grooming, muckkng out, cleaning tach and, of course, riding!! The riding however, gloveless, has created two huge rubbing burns on both my ring fingers... very painful!

As much as I am really missing living out of my pack, and moving around the country,  I am really enjoying  learning how irish horse farms work and run. 

I look forward to riding more horses of this quality!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Letterfrack and Cleggan fun

Just wanted to post a few photos from yesterday for those not on facebook!
Emily and I journied out to Letterfrack and cliften for a couple nights.... both two small towns with excellent traditional music!
Letterfrack is home to the Connemarra National Park, and we got to see lots of connemarra ponies! Especially on our horseback ride in cleggan where I got to run on the beach!

But here are a few shots of the fun :)


Irish, Australian and North American are the accents I hear most in Ireland. Its quite facinating when youre talking to somene and you can tell where they are from! But there are rules when guessing where travelers originate...

1. The most important one.. If someone has a North American accent (Canadian or American) ALWAYS guess Canadian first, they will love you if you if they are in fact from Canada, and the Americans will just give you the best, most enjoyable look of confusion if you ask if they are Canadian, its great craic! Of course though, if they have a deep southern accent.. dont guess Canadian.. you just look like a travelling fool.

2. If they are French, they have a french accent, or are speaking their own version of "Frenglish", and toss in french words mid-sentence, not even realising it... they are not ALL from France! For future personal reference, there are 29 countries in the world where french is the OFFICIAL language! Then there are confused countries like good ol' Canada that like to throw in two offical languages just to mess with people.
And to my international readers... not all Canadians can speak french... so stop having a weird interest in my friend Emily and making me stand there being a translator... not the greatest way to spend an evening!

3. Coming from the land down under! Kiwi's (New Zealand folk) are very similar to Canadians in the aspect of getting irritated when people automatically guesses right away that they are Aussies! My kiwi mate told me that I should just always guess if they are from New Zealand first! And an Aussie told me that if you ask if they are from New Zealand, they'll just laugh at you.

4. Now, good ol' Ireland. Another very similar to the Canadian and Kiwi rule... Dont EVER ask if they are british.. they will quickly take away the pint they so graciously just bought you and walk away.. you may even get a few death stares throughout the night...
And on the subject of the Irish... don't ever think that the wonderful show 'Father Ted' is British... that's also just asking for your drink to be taken away!

5. If they are from Aisa... thats it. All sound the same...

I was inspiried to write about accents after last night, getting bored of my own voice, and pretending to be Australian... which I think is the easiest accent to impersonate. But I may have taken it too far after making up completely false facts about the land down under... it also came to a point, after expressing how much I love the Haka (New Zealand Rugby war dance) I managed to get an elderly man (been drinking since 1030 am) to perform The Haka in front of too many people! They best part is when I learned that his son had just arrived at the bar and was the most embarrassed 30 year old I've ever seen in my life.

It was all great fun!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Take on Solo Travel Thus Far

Hello WORLD.. since recently discovering I have a dedicated reader from Russia... hmmm

I have now been on my solo travels for over a week! slowly climbing up the west coast of Ireland. Travelling alone not only has its perks... it has NO negavtives! (except for the fact that when you are alone on buses, and its raining, and people keep putting their seat in recline because they just don't understand that there is someone in the is world that is over six feet tall and has knees that when you recline into make my whole world feel like one giant Taylor Swift heartbreak song that just makes staring out the water droplet covered windows even fricken better!!) ...

But actually, I am thouroughly enjoying being alone and having no commitment to anyone else. It allows me to do whatever I want, on my time. It makes travelling much more relaxing when you don't have someone worried about bus schedules, or which hostel would be the best to stay at, or wanting to go out for a meal at a restaurant when you are perfectly capable of saving 80% of what you would spend at a restaurant by just cooking for one in the hostel.

One of the best parts, is actually when you are eating your dinner in a hostel, and there are other travellers, and you are FORCED to make friends. you learn so much, from people all over the world that just inspire you further to keep travelling. 

While in Doolin, I actually had a french-canadian roomate, and we decided to head to a local pub, that I might not have gone to if I was alone! And it ended amazingly, we bonded with the traditional irish music band, had elderly men tell us everything that people need to see in Ireland that most people never stop to see, I inturrupted the band by accidentally playing an accordian too loudly, played a 1905 concertina for the entire pub.. where I was promply boo'd off the stage and later nearly got kicked out of the hostel ...(wasn't my fault... :D )

Now that is a night that was totally unexpected and just so amazing and I am so happy that I got to meet such amazing people that I never would have spoken to had my friends been there.

At first though, solo travelling is scary, it is very intimedating and you have your mother constantly worrying about you... luckily I've accepted that no matter where I am, or who I'm with.. I can always expect an email, facebook message or text (sometimes all three) from my momma.
And, in Ireland at least, I feel so safe hoping from town to town on my own.. one of the great things about this country :)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Good Morning Canada,

I have moved on to the the college town of Galway. Which is the town where the Lynchs come from!

Lynch, was one of the original 14 tribes to settle in the Galway area, and being possibly the most powerful family in Galway at that time, 'we' actually supplied the town with many many mayors.

Yesterday I went to see the Lynch Castle, which has now been made into an AIB bank. But it still has the Lynch coat of arms engraved into the front wall. There are actually a number of 'Lynch' Cafes and restaurants... COOL, makes me want to just tell everyone that I am a Lynch!!

Nowww... Lets learn about how the term 'lynching' came about.. not a very pleasent story unfortunately...

SO, around the mid 17th century, we, of course, were in power under Mayor Lynch (one of many). So mayor Lynch had sent his son on a voyage with a large sum of money, and a large amount of it suspiciously went missing! Now in order to keep this unknown to his father (because we all know how scary Lynch fathers can be.......) young Lynch decided to kill a spaniard that was coming back to Ireland to speak to Mayor Lynch. Now, it was some time before Mayor Lynch actually found out about the muder that his son commited. But eventually he did learn, and the guilty young Lynch confessed.
In order to keep the high level of respect from the people that Mayor Lynch wanted, he had to decide on a suitable punishment for his son. And eventually sentenced him to death. So, to make this publically aware, he decided on a hanging in the middle of the town. And he himself, hung his own son. And the term of 'lynching' was born.
I am told that there is a small black monument somewhere in Galway that shows exactly where this hanging happened.. I'll be going to look for it today!

Also, very exciting news! My friend Emily will be coming to join me in Galway this afternoon!!!! And she'll be with me for a bit of my west coast trip :)

Another cool factoid that I was told; (Its totally made up and really just a joke! ) 50% of travellers are Aussies, 40% are Canadians, and 10% is the rest of the world... and I must say.. I have met far more Aussies and Canadians than anything else! So this made up fact almost has some truth to it!

Two days ago I went to the Doolin cave.. where there is a 23 foot long Stalactite!! So that was pretty cool... It has a cool history! 61 years ago there was a group of British cave explorers exploring around Ireland, now the young chaps were getting tired of searching for caves and decided to take a day off! Except for two fellas who just wanted to keep working.. and they found a stream, a real tiny one that disappeared into a rock wall. They pulled back some bushes and discovered a small opening, approx 2 feet high and 3 feet wide. Now, many people on my little tour were saying they were so brave to actually enter that (in my words..death trap coffin) but I just think they were bat crap crazy! They crawl on their hands and knees... IN THE DARK (because they had turned off their little headlamps off for fear of running out of oil to burn), for TWO AND A HALF HOURS... GAH. And they eventually came to a chamber.. they could hear the echo of their voices and turned their lights on.. and they found this gigantic stalactite that had been forming for 600,000 to 800,000 years!!
On the tour, they turn off all the lights on the path up to the chamber... it was honestly very freaky!! Then the man turns the lights on, and it was AMAZING! it was so huge!!!
Very very cool!!!

Well, my laundry (first time doing it since leaving...) should be done drying...and I dont want anyone taking it out of the machine on me.. sooo BYE!! :)

Monday, 21 October 2013

Sore feet and aching back. The Cliffs of Moher

Hello from Doolin!!
Doolin is a small town in Co Clare, where right now im sitting in a living room, and there is a heard of cows about ten meters from me... love it!
Im at a small little hostel called the rainbow hostel where it just feels like a nice little home. One of the best parts about small town hostels! 

Today I went to see the famous Cliffs of Moher. And they are truely as beautiful as google says they are.. but more! I took the bus there, and pulling into the parking lot I saw about 20 tour buses and about 200 cars.. ugh. Thankfully.. tour buses never stop anywhere for that long (reason one why I hate them) this means that the silly little people that are being herded like cattle (reason two) must stay in the area where the visitor center is located.  That left the miles of cliff trails available for the non cattle folk!

I first went south down the peninsula,  away from Doolin, it was about a 2.5 km walk to the very end, where there was a very small, sadly quite unimpressive 'castle'. But the end had the most amazing view you couldve had! I was able to see all the cliffs from start to mostly finish.
I must take a quick moment to mentiom the weather... It started out pouring... and as soon as I arrived at the cliffs, the clouds cleared and it was sunny... we even had two rainbows :D
I decided to hike the cliffs of moher trail back to doolin, the lady at the tourist office said it was 9 km.. but I think it was less. It was a beautiful hike and I, in total  saw 6 people! This part of the hike I did you lonesomly.. which was perfect! (its raining again...) I got to play with a bunch of horses along this one path that apparently is now illegal to be on.. but I didnt realise where I was.. oops. And I got to stick my sore feet in the ocean on the rock bay that had huge waves crashing against it!
The best part of the day was during the second rainbow appeared.. it was actually truly one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen, but the couple of people that I had been hiking with and I could not stop staring at the sigh: two aisian tour buses had recently unloaded its hostage.. they were at the head of the trail... all of them, and all saw the rainbow at the same time, and they went BANANAS OVER IT! I swear they had never seen one.. it was just crazy to watch them all!! It gave myself and my friends a big laugh for the day!!
I would like to quickly mention that tours arent actually bad if you enjoy them... to each his own. I would just rather, you know, never ever be on one!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Don't turn into a 'Country Counter'

Last night was amazing. There is no better example of fate that I can think of, thats happened to me yet.

After my big day of horse back riding followed by cycling, I was so exhausted I could hardly do anything the following day (yesterday) I was even too exhausted to get myself together and leave for my next place! So I decided to stay one more night, with no intention of really doing anything but listening to some tradition music in a pub. I had no idea that that THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD would soon be checking into my hostel...

Mike Spencer Bown is a Calgary native traveller that has been travelling the world since he was 21 years old. He is now 44. This man has been everywhere! He knows so much and has the absolutely most unreal stories!!

How it happened!
So, I took a nap for most of the afternoon, and when I woke up, my roomate told me that the most travelled man in the world was in the hostel! I got so excited that I just started reading everything I could about him on the internet. Then after dinner, I somewhat creepily waited in the sitting room for him to show up... when he finally did.. I had never been so excited inside but trying to act so cool and like I had no idea who he was on the outside.. we were sitting by the fire and I introduced myself to him.. when he said his name it took all my energy not to burst out with "I know who you are!! Im such a fan!! Please, tell me all your stories!!!" ALL MY ENERGY! We had some chit chat and I was telling him about my horse back riding and then he proceeded to tell me about when he rented some horses for 10$ a day in some mountains in the middle of somewhere... I truly did listen, but i cannot remember the name of those mountains... either way though, he put my story to SHAME. 
Eventually he two hostel working fellas had joined us and they asked all the questions that I didnt want to ask! And after a few dingle-gin and tonics, the stories were absolutely pouring out of him! We even went out for a pint after hanging out at the hostel, then back for tea around 2 am.

I have never been more inspired than anyone in my life! The things he done and seen makes me want to do nothing other than travel!
This morning over coffee he was trying to coach me a little bit with traveling and how to write this very travel blog. He was very excited that I was just starting my adventures and was a canadian around the same age he was when starting out.

Up next for mike, (yes.. I get to call him by his first name...) he is selling the rights to his life to a producer in hollywood, who will eventually be making a movie about his life! He also have plans to move somewhere cheap and warm to write his book.

I wish I can write down all the stories I heard last night and this morning, but there are just WAY TO MANY! I already cant wait for his book to be written and come out!

The most important thing he stressed, is to not turn into a 'country counter'.

Im so glad that I was too tired to move on yesterday:)