I apologize this post is long and detailed, but a lot happened in just a few days.
This past weekend was incredible. I can't express in words how lovely Ireland is but I'll try to do my best by sharing the highlights of my trip. I went with two fun girls named Maddie and Madelin. Our flight got delayed (of course) so we left Scotland around 9 pm. I thankfully got a window seat for the 50 minute flight and witnessed the most spectacular sunset I've ever seen. I learned some really devastating news about a tragedy back at home last week, and so I felt pretty unsettled the rest of the week. However, while watching this serene sunset, I really poured my heart out to God and felt at peace. "Wait" by M83 was playing in my earbuds, and the entire sky just looked like it was praising its Creator. I think that may have been one of the most tranquil moments of my life.
In the morning we set off on our tour in a bus that fit about 20 people. Our tour guide was a 17 year old Irish guy. For 2 hours we drove across Ireland (because our tour was for the west) and I slept on and off. First we stopped in this quaint little town called Cong. Population: 175. For 3 euro we got a short walking tour from a family-run business. A cute, nervous 10 year old boy with braces was our tour guide. The tiny town was adorable and we got lunch from this place called The Quiet Man Cafe. Cong was used for the filming of an old movie called "The Quiet Man," which now I feel like I'm required to watch.
Sunday. was. marvelous. The morning was a little rough because we ended up having a new person added to our tour, which messed up the number of seats we had on the bus. The guy in charge split our group in half, dropped my group off on some random street, and told us a new bus would come get us in 10 minutes. Welp 30 minutes goes by and we literally started thinking, "Ireland is where we are going to die." But FINALLY the new bus came and we joined another group. It was so interesting meeting people from all over the world on just one bus. Sitting there, I could hear 3 different languages being spoken all around me simultaneously. I sat by this friendly, attractive guy named Mario from Spain who had been living in Ireland the past 3 years. We talked a lot throughout the day and he told me about Spain, while I told him about North Carolina. The cutest part was that he was traveling with 2 old ladies -- family members that wanted to see his new country of residence. I also met a woman from Italy, a mother and son from Malaysia, a guy from India, 2 women from Spain, and a couple of backpackers from America. It was a very interesting mix that I thoroughly enjoyed.
We continued our drive along the Wild Atlantic Way. Oh man, I thought the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC was the most beautiful road I've ever been on but this one topped it. Everything is so much prettier here than in America. I never wanna go back. The scenery was phenomenal -- water to our right, jagged mountains to our left, and a curvy road ahead. Handmade rock walls (created during the potato famine) lined the roads and pastures. We briefly stopped at a site called the Mini Cliffs.