I was reluctant to go to County Sligo; I hadn’t even heard anything it. My Galway roommates questioned, “What are you going to do there for 5 days?”
I stayed for 10.
I’m finding it hard to reflect on my experiences without my stomach fluttering. Kinda like butterflies, but more fuzzy. Moths? No. That’s gross. Kittens. I’m filled with warm, fuzzy kittens.
It helped that I had a connection or two already set up there, but making friends there was easy.
It’s called Guinness, and it’s genius.
I’ve also been struggling like whoa with writing my Ireland content, because there’s SO MUCH of it. An unbelievable amount. I have scores of stories from Sligo alone, never mind the rest of the country. So first, as a little introduction to this brilliant itty-bitty corner of Ireland, I wanted to share some of my favourite moments with you all. Because they were unexpected, and weird, and wonderful.
That time we had a four-person party in Tubbercurry
Julia and I were hosted in Tubbercurry, a name that will make me giggle for years to come. (See also: Banada. Rhymes with Canada.)
We stayed at Murphy’s Hotel, where we hit it off with the owners, Paul and Sonya. This quick-clicking relationship was the first of many to come, and we had one of those random, ridiculously fun nights out that are never expected but always enjoyed. We wrapped up at Nathy Brennan’s, a museum-like pub run by an elderly brother and sister duo. There was a wood stove blasting heat in the corner. Oh, my heart.
That time all the surfers knew me, in Strandhill
There’s an epic surf scene in Strandhill. In this slightly frigid and northern landscape, the beaches are inviting and the waves are huge. Champion surfers come from here. After the BEST eggs benedict at Shells Café, Julia and I took a stroll along the waterfront and watched a teenager perform crazy stunts. If I knew the first thing about surfing, I’d tell you more. I’m probably breaking some ancient surf code just by telling you this.
Then, as we were walking towards The Strand Pub for a tipple (Guinness, remember?), a guy stopped me in the street and asked me if my name was Candice, because he had heard all about me. Another guy, pulling surf gear out of his jeep, had also heard about me and joined the conversation. I smelled like seaweed from my seaweed bath, but I was totally flattered and slightly overwhelmed.
By the way, Irish surf guys are hot. And every guy in Co Sligo is apparently a surfer. So, ladies…step up.
That time I SUPed and had the greatest day of my life
The time we became BFFs with some bands
The music scene is wild. Despite my massive Tubbercurry hangover, we were urged to go to Tricky’s McGarrigles the next day to see Rackhouse Pilfer play. We enjoyed the band so much we bought their CD. They dedicated a few songs to us, and then invited us out for beers. And now we’re Facebook friends, so it’s legit.
(Unfortunately you can’t see my good buddy Duane here. Sorry, Duane. My photog skillz were lacking after all that Guinness.)
The owner of the pub, Tricky, is the kind of guy who skydives naked into Burning Man. He brought us shots of Baby Guinness, but seeing as how Julia is vegan, I had to drink all her shots as well. It was a good evening.
(A shot of a shot is a great shot.)
We also attended Sunday MASS—Massive Acoustic Sunday Session. On a Sunday. In this tiny town. Everyone was dancing and singing and merry making and I’m pretty sure at some point I saw god.
That time we went to the ultra secret pub
My ONE pet peeve with Ireland is that all the bars shut down so early. So one night, after Julia and I had shared two toilets in the same bathroom stall of Shoot the Crows pub (that’s a story for another time), we asked our new friend Art if there was anywhere else to go.
“Yes,” he said with hesitation. “But it’s top secret, and if you tell anyone, we’ll drown you in the river.”
(Those may or may not have been his exact words.)
I won’t tell you where or how we found this place, but it goes down as one of the strangest evenings of my life. We tagged along with some musicians, and there was a chick named Hannah carrying around a tin of pineapple. Just a tin, no label. Apparently the musicians had met her at the supermarket and invited her out with them. We ended up spiking Hannah’s tin with Bacardi, which might explain why we found her wandering the streets alone at 4 AM as we were headed back to the hotel.
When we got back to the hotel, a bunch of military dudes invited us to their party. So naturally, we did. By the time Julia fell asleep in the stairwell, we knew it was time to call it quits.
That time our cab turned into a party bus
Our driver Seamie was young, and chatty and friendly. As we were talking, he suddenly asked, “Do you like music?” We said yes, who doesn’t? And then Seamie explained that he felt most cabs were filled with depressed farmers heading to the pubs because their crops were destroyed and they needed a drink, and he’d prefer to get people psyched up for the nightlife experience.
And then he flipped a switch and the cab turned into a party bus.
Julia and I were so stunned, it took a few minutes to absorb. Suddenly our cab was transformed into flashing patio lights and loud techno music. By the time we stepped out of the cab and into the bar, all we could was sit and stare at each other and grin. We might have even held hands.
Mission accomplished, Seamie. You totally set us up for a great final night out in Sligo.