The Jig Is Up, a Travelogue of Ireland

Essay

by Eileen Budd

DEPARTURE TO IRELAND
Got on plane with boyfriend, Jim. Wanted to cuddle and put my head on his chest relishing first trip together. Jim scoped out a row of empty seats, stretched out, and slept until landing.
 
Day 1
Got in rental car. Jim drove; I gave directions. Two miles (or is that kilometers?) outside of airport, had our first fight when Jim scraped tires against left curb eight times. Saw some sheep. Cried, "Oh, look, aren't they cute?" Came to first roundabout. Had our second fight.

First stop, tourist shop at Cliffs of Moher. Jim bought three souvenirs before even seeing cliffs. Jim mad at me for not making reservations at B & B for the evening. Jim went to edge of cliffs to take picture. Contemplated quick push. Decided against it. Didn't want to drive on left side of road by myself.

Next stop, The Burren. Took photo of Jim next to bunch of old rocks. Got back in car. Very tired but got second wind as we drove into Galway. Found a room at a B & B after only 13 calls. Our first romantic night in Ireland! Went to bathroom to brush teeth. Jim asleep when I came out.
 
Day 2

Went downstairs anticipating big Irish breakfast. Owner of B & B opened bathroom door in his underwear. Lost appetite. Spent day on quaint Inishmore. Except for souvenir shops, restaurants, guided tours, dolphin sightseeing trips, and woman who sold handmade sweaters at base of ancient hilltop ruin, island untouched by crass commercialism. Took trip in pony cart with "Jack" (the pony), with gastrointestinal problems. Windy day. Unfortunately, sat downwind of Jack. Went to hilltop ruin. Jim walked 20 feet in front of me. Had another fight. Driver "upped" fee 10 pounds after learning we bought handmade sweaters from woman at base of ancient hilltop ruin. Saw more sheep. Why is wool so expensive when there are all these sheep?
 
Day 3
Stopped at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Went into recreations of typical 19th century cottages. Authentic, 100% pure, Irish vinyl covering crudely made tables. What year was vinyl invented? Jim rushed me out of park before I could finish seeing what I wanted. Went into an Irish stew. Bought souvenir pottery with sheep motif to appease myself. Back on road. Passed several hundred thousand sheep. Couldn't sleep that night at B & B. Jim snored loudly as I watched him twitch in his sleep. Mused over whether a sleeping person would suffocate if tufts of wool were stuffed up his nose.
 
Day 4
Traveled along perimeter of Dingle Peninsula. Witnessed two sheep "getting it on." Took photo. Stopped to see Beehive Huts. Climbed up slippery, muddy slope. Jim walked 25 feet in front of me. Fell down slope and got mud on new khakis and handmade sweater bought at base of ancient hilltop ruin. Had fight. Set out for Ring of Kerry. Spent two hours at tourist spot while Jim bought trinkets. Fought over time wasted shopping. Wondered if jagged shards of Waterford crystal can pierce a human heart. Took photos of sheep clinging to sides of mountains. Took photos of sheep grazing on side of road. Took photos of sheep looking at us taking photos of them. Refused to look over side of mountain to sheer drop below. Screamed at freakin' sheep to get out of middle of road. Had lamb chops for dinner.
 
Day 6
Kissed Blarney Stone even though warned that locals "relieve" themselves on it when tourists aren't around. Jim walked 50 feet in front of me to car. Rushed to get to Kilkenny before nightfall. Watched Gremlins 2 at B & B so we didn't have to talk to each other.
 
Day 7
Headed to Dublin. Gave bad directions and ended up on wrong end of one way street. Got blamed for everything that went or could have gone wrong on trip. Told Jim I hated him. Apparently, the feeling was mutual.
 
Departure to New York
No empty seats on plane so Jim stuck next to me. Jim announced shortly after takeoff, "Guess we won't be travelling together anytime soon." Note to self: In the future, avoid break-up with person just prior to taking off on a six hour flight with same person.
 
Home
Unpacked. Where did I leave the handmade sweater bought at the base of ancient hilltop ruin? Shoved muddied khakis into washing machine, wishing I could similarly cleanse my brain of memories. Found pottery with sheep motif in shattered pieces. Put in box and mailed to Jim with note, “Forgot to give this to you.”

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