Ireland

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Somewhere in the west of Ireland

Visiting Ireland in January was one of my more peculiar decisions. Why on earth did I do that? I mean seriously, I could not have picked a worse time to go. The entire country was dark, windy, wet, and cold. But I wasn’t allowed in Europe for another five weeks because of visa restrictions, and the flights to Dublin were only £15. So I just went anyway and a lot of weird things happened.

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Glendalough Valley

Well first of all, the Irish landscape was absolutely beautiful in the wintertime. It wasn’t just endless green like I’d seen in pictures. There were lots of gorgeous shades of red and yellow and gold in the countryside. I was lucky enough to stay with a lovely couchsurfing host, Peter, who lived in the Wicklow mountains, so I got to go on a fabulous hike there during my first full day in Ireland. That was easily the best day I spent in that country. I went out a couple times in Dublin with the couchsurfing community and met some really nice people as well as some utter creeps, one of whom told me he was going to follow me home from the club and jump into bed with me. I ventured out to the west coast as well, but honestly it didn’t impress me that much – I saw a lot of rugged sea cliffs, went into a lot of old cathedrals, and drank a lot of Guinness (obviously). And I was freezing cold the whole time. Very touristy, very boring. But then, like I said, things got weird.

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The coast of Inis Mor

My couchsurfing host got super creepy with me in Galway, so I got on the bus the next morning to stay with another host who lived more or less in the middle of nowhere. This guy was the only one who had responded to my messages, so I just hoped he wouldn’t be a serial killer. He seemed normal enough when he picked me up from the bus station, but then he made it pretty clear that he was a really lonely, sexually frustrated, and incredibly devout Catholic who wanted to religiously convert his couchsurfers. Like, I have nothing against people being Catholic, but this guy told me not to pet his dog too much because “that would be like man serving dog instead of dog serving man, the way God intended”. Uh, okay dude. He told me, far more times than necessary, that sex is “probably our most potent desire as human beings” but that it was also the ultimate sin outside of marriage. He then proceeded to ask really invasive questions about my friends’ sex lives, and told me that he didn’t like going to the beach because “all those uncovered bodies make me have unclean thoughts”. I really needed to know that.

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Glendalough.

He showed me these really ornate priest robes that he kept in a box under his bed, told me not to tell anyone about them, and put on gloves before he took them out of the box because his “hands weren’t holy enough to touch the objects of God”. Then he said that women were especially not supposed to touch the holy objects of God! Makes sense, women being totally inferior and all. And while he was sharing his endless words of wisdom with me, he kept trying to get me drunk. First it was just a glass of fruity red wine (“just because I drink fruity wine doesn’t mean I’m gay, okay?”). Then, a huge glass of straight rum, which I did not want (“I thought Wisconsin girls liked to drink. Why are you refusing my hospitality?”). I thought it was just a bit weird that twenty minutes earlier, this guy had been showing me a 75 minute video of a Catholic mass from 1947 and telling me that Catholicism was the only force preventing the entire universe from destruction.

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Glendalough.
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The cathedral near Kylemore Abbey

The best part was when he told me he had to show me an article he found on the internet, just for educational purposes. Keep in mind he didn’t have wifi in the house, so he had already downloaded this article to his computer. Any guesses as to what it was called? That’s right, “How to seduce naughty couchsurfing girls“! Give it a read – it is the most disgustingly sexist article I’ve ever read in my whole life, and he read the entire thing to me OUT LOUD, word for word (“just so you’re aware of how men think!”). Well, needless to say, I booked it out of there and left the country the next morning, after telling him that his homemade blackberry jam was gross. Bye-bye Ireland!

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Galway at dusk.
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