Saturday, April 16, 2011

Surfing in Ireland

This blog post is for my lovely Aunt Lou Ann, who may or may not have been hit by a tornado yesterday. Hopefully not! Thanks for the little push to write something. :)

Sooo...Ireland. I think that's where we left off last time. Sunday after the wedding, a bunch of us out-of-town guests headed for Sligo, a beach town on the west coast of Ireland. A few of us planned to surf. Most planned to pick up pebbles or fly kites or count seagulls, or something safe and sensible in the month of March. Personally I was nervous about surfing. I'm not a strong swimmer, and my local beaches here are craggy and rough, with sneaky currents that drag unsuspecting swimmers out to sea. And that's in the summer! Swimming in the ocean in March seems downright stupid. But apparently Ireland is a bit safer than certain Oregon beaches, and I have always vaguely wanted to learn to surf. I was prepared to give it a try with an instructor nearby and Dom, who I know is a certified and capable lifeguard. Still, the surf conditions were a bit iffy. Was it windy when we set out for the coast that day? It sure was. We were told to get there early because the waves would certainly be too big for surfing by early afternoon. Was it raining when we left? Yes, but you know--you'd be wet surfing anyway. Did it SLEET and SNOW! on the way to the beach? maybe. But we were undeterred.

Or, I should say, the others were undeterred. Diana and I realized not five minutes down the road that we had a flat tire on our rental car. We pulled into a gas station to change it, and I knew I would miss my surfing lesson. Awww, shucks, I thought. It was such a perfect day to learn to surf!! On the up side, however, I hadn't had opportunity to practice changing tires in a long time, and I was pretty pleased to be the only person in the car who knew how. Good luck to any girl who tries to change a tire in Ireland, however. If our experience is any indication, she's very likely to find that a flat tire is a magnet for kind Irish men who will take over so quickly and have the job done and the tools put away before she can even tell them that she wants to do it by herself!

By the time we got to Sligo, the non-surfers we knew were completely drenched and running through the sleet for their cars (literally running). The very small group of surfers were nearly a mile up the beach. So Diana and I parked, pulled up our hoods, and ran (also literally) to the nearest restaurant with a fireplace. While we ate, a couple families came in with guitars and flutes and a keyboard and sang Irish songs. One surfer (the only girl who braved the weather!) from our group came in early. "With the wet suit and the hood and everything, it really wasn't cold," she reported. I think she's just extra tough, because the guys' version 45 min. later was that it was "SO UNBELIEVABLY COLD!"

I don't think I missed much.

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