I had just returned from an exhausting shoot in Japan working nights until 6am, and then days as well. The film I had spent most of my free time on was finally finished. I was mentally and physically exhausted, out of juice and jetlagged. Basically, I was in desperate need for a break before my mind completely shut down.
I had forgotten about the Easter bank holiday. Who remembers these things anyway? People who live normal lives with schedules and families and can take advantage of the extra days off. Not really my personal lifestyle, but I decided to fit in and to make the time even more worth it I managed to tag on 2 days in lieu to the front of it. I could have almost a full week off but I had a deadline with my film and whether I could go away was all down do whether I could finish that in time.
Ireland had always been high-up on my places of interest around Europe, even more so when I found out how cheap ryanair flights were from Bristol. For the past year I had spent so many weekends exploring areas around Bristol and the UK, it had slipped my mind how easy it is to go on a weekend trip to another country – and how much I take that for granted. I’d been to many places in western Europe, but for some reason I had never made it across to Ireland. Why?
Flights booked, car booked and accommodation booked (I desperately wanted a single room but last-minute bookings on a low budget over a bank holiday means you have to take what you get, so hostels it was). And within an hour I was in Ireland, driving along the Irish windy countryside roads. I wanted to see some nature, and just calm down and get away for a bit – so I went to the Cliffs of Moher. One hint of advice, it’s not much of a private getaway unless you do a bit more hiking. I took my camera with me, of course, but that was more of a pastime than an objective.
So what did I do in my 4 days of exploration and down-time?
I brought joy to a german couple by helping them spot some puffins in the distance (they literally couldn’t contain their excitement), I changed an 18-year-old’s prospect on life by saying a few encouraging things to her (her words, not mine), I picked up my first hitch-hikers (I had always wanted to return the favour), I almost saw two lambs jumping off 100m-high cliffs, I hiked across Inis Oirr (the smallest of the Aran islands) and I saw a sea lion and a dolphin chilling out.