our first – and probably last – visit to limerick

If we learned one thing during our first weeks in Europe, it was to determine where the heck your accommodation is in relation to anything you might want to see, before booking a room. We had been having good luck so far, not only in finding affordable places to stay, but also managing to get good locations. Our luck ran out in Limerick.

The very kind tour bus driver who took us from the Cliffs of Moher to Limerick was very concerned that everyone on his bus make it directly to their final destinations. This made sense, as all of them except us were seniors, mainly from America. The other two Canadians on the bus, two women from the west coast, had not yet booked a room for the night. The lovely driver found them a good hotel, and even went into the hotel with them to negotiate a good price on a room. The other American bus passengers were astounded at the kindness of the driver  – he didn’t just want to leave them on the streets of Limerick with their bags and nowhere to stay. Apparently, he didn’t want to do this to us either, because, even with passengers still on the bus, he drove us straight to the door of our hotel.

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Hostels were hard to find in Limerick. Either they were full, or we were too far out of the tourist season, or there perhaps weren’t very many. Whatever the reason, we had used a discount hotel booking site to secure a room in an actual hotel, with an actual bed, and a real shower. Amazing. Downside: it was so far out of Limerick, even the bus driver was a bit shocked. He took us anyway though – we never had anything but absolutely helpful bus drivers – and helped us with our backpacks, and he and the Americans waved at us as they drove off. We were in the middle of nowhere. There was no grocery store, no cafe, and we were very glad we had some snacks left in our food bag, stale as they may be.

The next morning we packed up our bags, and set off on foot – because that’s what Canadians do, apparently – into Limerick. It was indeed a long way out, but not impossible. We found a new hotel, also on a budget site, for very little money, and even though the woman at the desk clearly thought we were crazy, she let us have our room.

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Although a very nice little river runs through Limerick, and if you cross the bridge there is a bit of a shaded walkway that’s sometimes attractive, and some very chic looking neighbourhoods, the city itself was a bit grimy (sorry, Limerick) and left something to be desired. Sure, we may have been a little late in the season, and the people were friendly, but we weren’t feeling the love. After a quiet night in the hotel, we grabbed a pricey breakfast at a cafe filled with middle-aged people, all in suits. Having had no success finding either the library or a bookstore, we determined this was not a place we would like to stay, and got back on the bus.

Bus driver: Where you going?

Us: To Dingle!

Bus driver: Really?

Us: Yes!

Bus driver: But why…?

Us: We’re Canadian!

Bus driver: Righto…

And off we went. It was a very long drive.

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