One of my favorite adventures this year was my stay on the west coast of Ireland, near the town of Castletown-Bearhaven. It’s one of those places where time seemed to have stopped, where things are still as they used to be a century ago.
I was residing in a house in a tiny little harbor on the coast. Every morning at 6am, a few local fishermen took their small rowing boats to go fishing for Mackerel. A few hours later, they’d be back, standing knee-deep in the fish while batting off the hungry seagulls with their rowing oars.
Me and my brother were keen to do some fishing ourselves, so after the fishermen were done unloading their catch, we went up to one of them. We asked if we could pay him to take us out to sea for a few hours. His answer: “I’ll take you out but I won’t take your money; you can pay me by enjoying yourselves.”
Shortly after we were on our way, enjoying the spectacular views of the rocky cliffs around us. The advantage of having a local fisherman on board proved essential as we were soon catching two or three fish at the same time! Mackerel, Pollock, bass and even Cod ended up in our buckets. By the time we headed back, we had more fish than we could eat.
The South-West coast of Ireland is extremely sparsely populated and offers plenty of hiking opportunities. Endless green fields, rocky hills and lakes cover the area and often times you can walk for hours without meeting a single living soul.
In the evenings, families gather in one of the local pubs to play music, watch sports and enjoy a pint of Guinness. Being an obvious stranger, it doesn’t took long before one of the locals started sharing local rumors and ancient tales about the surrounding areas. The fishermen that have perished on the sea, the accidents in the local mines and the achievements or the local sports teams seem to be the most popular topics.
The combination of the friendly people, the natural beauty and the well preserved culture make Ireland one of my favourite destinations. There is only one downside: the weather. Make sure to bring some warm outdoor clothing because you can be sure it will be rainy, cold and windy. But trust me, it’s worth it.