After being in the US for two months, I went back to Krakow for approximately 9 days before heading off on another journey, this time to Donegal (north-west Ireland) for a few days, and then England for a little over a week (it’s my great-aunt’s 91st birthday!). Getting to Donegal from Krakow was a bit of a schlep, since Ryanair has a monopoly on budget flights into Dublin and most of Ireland. Sadly, I was forced to break my “I will never, ever fly Ryanair!” vow – but it really wasn’t that bad (aside from the fact that they charge you for everything, like most budget airlines, and spent most of the 30 minute trip trying to sell you everything from cigarettes to food. No thanks.) So, I ended up flying Easy Jet from Krakow to Liverpool, Ryanair from Liverpool to Dublin, and then another airline called Flybe from Dublin to Carrickfinn (Donegal’s airport, and also where I was headed). On top of that, there was too much fog to land in Donegal the first day, so after circling for about 90 minutes, we went back to Dublin! I made some lovely “plane friends” – there were only about 10 passengers, most of them older people with +1s who had been in Dublin for doctors’ appointments, so they were entertained to find a lone American on a rarely-trafficked route.
Anyway, my friends live in Carrickfinn, which is right on the coast in the Donegal Gaeltacht, so nearly everyone speaks Irish. It’s a fairly rural area, but very beautiful, and I slept very soundly after the city+construction noise of Krakow. It’s also a hotbed of Irish music, which is great if you’re me. Donegal music is fairly distinctive, and it has a lot of Scottish influence, both in choice of tunes (like highlands and strathspeys), plus in the style in which tunes are played. I was lucky enough to get to go to an all-Irish cabaret, where one of the guest acts was an Irish-ska band (in addition to, you know, the regular guy from Zimbabwe doing his take on Irish step-dancing while singing in Irish, which was just great). But I digress. Without further ado – picture time!