Dear Michele (and other Ireland junkies ),
I'm considering studying two weeks at Oideas Gael this summer. I know that Glencolmcille is quite small and rather isolated, but just how small and isolated is it ?!?
I'm not worried that there won't be enough to see and do, but I'm a little concerned about housing options. I'm a chubby, mid-50's lady with no desire to share sleeping or bathroom space with someone else (not even if it were Sean Connery or Paul Newman!! ).
Oideas Gael suggests:
So, I guess I'm asking for any info anyone has about the area and if you know of any housing suggestions.
Glencolmcille is very small and isolated. It is a "back of beyond" type place. If you don't have a car (and I'm assuming you won't) you will be spending all your time in a tiny village.
How about the hotel? http://www.glenhotel.com/
As for sharing self-catering, if you had your own bath would that work? I expect you will have to find out more about that, how many rooms are in each unit and how many baths.
I also found this but don't know exactly where it is located: http://www.littleireland.ie/cornerhouse/
Let us know how it goes.
"Ireland Expert" Michele ErdvigClick links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland ItineraryVisit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.
Thanks for the input. I know I need to ask the school about housing and distances and stuff, but thought I'd see what anyone knew about the area first. I've researched on a ton of websites in the past few days, but nothing compares to the experiences of people who have actually been there.
Do you mind if I think "outloud" for a few moments --- sort of weigh the pros and cons? (sorry to bore your readers ....)
1) Spending two weeks in a truly remote area would be a totally new experience for me, and it has its advantages and disadvantages. I think (emphasis on "think") the school has so much going on that I wouldn't get bored, and I've always dreamed of learning a little bit of Irish. On the other hand, it will be really, really isolated .....
The first week is their regular language school so I would be in class from 10 - 1 and 3-5. There are lectures and activities scheduled early each evening followed by, of course, some time at the local pub, sharing some music and practicing Irish with other students.
The second week is the language & culture program where I would study Irish only in the mornings and then the afternoons are spent learning the tin whistle, some set dancing, sean nos singing, hill walking, folklore, history, etc. (sounds pretty cool, now that I write it down ....)
So, I think I would be busy with interesting activities most of the time. However, it is a long time in only one area, without a car ......
2) Sharing the self-catering would work if I had my own room & bath (see, if I were 25 and slim I wouldn't be nearly so picky about this!), and that may be possible. I just need to get more specific information about it.
But part of what I enjoy when travelling is a nice room and a good meal .....
Thanks for the Corner House link --- I think it's pretty close to the school and it looked fine. At a B&B I would at least have a good breakfast (compared to self-catering)!
The Glen Hotel is another possibility, but it is definitely more expensive than the school's options and it's a 3-mile walk each way. The walking part is do-able (although it might really stink when it's pouring rain), but I'd have to think about the cost factor.
Okay,so I haven't really worked out anything. I realize only I can decide, but I welcome thoughts and ideas from all of you folks. Thanks for your patience!
Oh, yeah, just yesterday I sent a check and order in the mail for your new book --- I'm looking forward to perusing it!
I think your trip sounds great. It would be even better if you could visit some nearby areas--maybe you'll get to know some other students who have cars, or possibly make an arrangement to rent a local's car for a few hours once or twice. I bicycled through Donegal a few years ago, and there is some beautiful country and interesting places near Glencolmcille. I remember Ardara (a huge hill climb from Glencolmcille), and slightly further beautiful grounds at a castle garden near Glenveigh National Park. The entire coastline has the grandeur of many different spectacular headlands.
Have a great time.
I spent a couple of days/nights in Glencolmcille 3 years ago. It is an amazing place. Its like going back in time. I stayed at the hotel that Michele mentioned and like you said it is a long walk. It wouldn't surprise me if someone at the hotel was willing to give you a ride each day. I think its that kind of friendly around there. Two of Ireland's best country pubs are there (Roarty's and Biddy's). There is a 3rd pub but I forget the name. Chances are you'll get to experience some great Donegal style fiddling. Sounds like it will be an amazing experience.
Sorry I can't help you with better accommodation ideas but the school probably will.
Thank you, Mark & Andi! It really helps to hear from people who have been in the area. The photos I've found online look amazing --- mountains, huge cliffs, the ocean, etc. It sounds like this is "the real Ireland" everyone claims to be looking for (personally, I think all of Ireland is real, but that's another issue). You've both given me some ideas on questions I want to ask the school.
I'm really leaning towards following through with this if I can work out housing. It would definitely be a new type of adventure for me!
Thanks too, Mark, on your heads up regarding the music. I have read several places that it's a good area for trad music, so that would be great. I noticed that none of the classes start before 10 AM; maybe they figure we'll all be out late at the pubs (all two of them) listening. I was excited to see the inclusion of sean nos singing in the culteral week; I love Joe Heaney's stuff.
I too would have suggested renting a bike, except that from her first post Maggie didn't seem to be the exercising type. Biking in that area is great, but can be hilly and windy. Maybe it's time to get in shape, Maggie!
By the way, I'm in my 50's and still bike touring around the states and Europe. This year planning French Jura and Alsace.
Ohmygosh, even my Internet friends have figured out that I need to get into shape! Yikes!! I feel like I should hide my head (or in this case, my mouse) in shame ......
First, to Andi, I humbly doff my chapeau! I always pictured you as some 25-year-old fitness guru, bravely cycling around the world. I thought it was really cool, but I have to say I admire your adventures even more, knowing that you're not a "kid!"
You're right: Maggie is not the exercising type. Walking is more my style. When my dog was alive we faithfully walked several miles a day regardless of rain, snow, freezing temps, etc. I felt and looked much better, but my commitment was really to her rather than to my own health and fitness. She died almost two years ago and I fell off the walking/exercise wagon. It will be good for me when I finally feel ready for another doggie companion. But yes, gearing up for this summer would be a good incentive!
That said, asking about the availability of bicycles was one of the ideas I got from your post about cycling through the area. Even if I didn't ride it a lot (I'm afraid no 50 KM rides for me!!), it would be useful sometimes. And I think you are all correct that there will be some sharing of rides.
Michele, thanks for the tip on checking about rates at the hotel. I will do so.
Michele, Mark, Andi --- many thanks to all of you for your encouragement and enthusiasm!! It really does help.
I'm waiting to hear back from the school on some questions and have been searching online for the best airfare I can get in July, so will let you know how things develop.
Wha an exciting trip! We spent a few days in Ardara in 2002 and explored the area from there. It is absolutely stunning. My favorite beach was near Glencolmcille--Silver Strand. My partner had a tough time getting me to leave. There are many, many, many stairs leading down to the beach, but if I remember correctly also some little benches that folks used for resting, particularly on the way back up.
I try to use my trips as a motivator to get in slightly better shape (I'm in moderately okay shape, but felt in awe of cyclists in Donegal). I know I'll enjoy the time more if I get less tuckered out on the scenic walks. I've let myself slip a bit in the last few months, so now I have an Ireland calendar on the wall and I record my miles walked, exercises done each day on that calendar. I also make sure I have GOOD shoes to pamper my feet a bit.
Your trip sounds incredible!
Wow! I was reading about the classes and they sound amazing. I would love to take a trip like that someday. Good luck with planning and finding your accommodations.
Oopsy, I like your countdown-to-Ireland-exercise-calendar idea! Guess it's time to pull out my trusty (rusty?) pedometer and get moving. And I'm with you on the good shoes thing!! The right shoes make all the difference.
Annette, if I can get together all the pieces (airline, bus, housing, etc) to pull this off, I'll definitely let you know how it went! And I agree with you from another post --- the planning is part of the fun!!