We set off bright eyed and bushy tailed for the event of the year, a guy do in the Connemara region of Ireland. Actually, we weren’t allowed to stay in the house we did if we were on a stag do so we said we were employees of the Best Man Benno. We quickly changed that story when we got there and decided we were on the Fat Club Annual retreat and I was the “Slimmer of the Year”.
We got to Bristol Airport in plenty of time but decided it was still Guinness o’clock. Sadly, the authorities at Aer (Cunny) Lingus decided we weren’t going to travel when we thought we were going to. In fact we were over 4 hours late taking off and decided to spend our vouchers on… Guinness. Unfortunately, just as we were about to imbibe further, our flight was called so we ended up with 400 packets of dry roasted peanuts instead!
We landed at Shannon without concern and picked up our mini bus as planned. The drive to our ‘remote’ house ‘just outside Galway’ ran into several hours and we decided to stop off at a supermarket and buy a considerable amount of… Guinness for our stay. We arrived at our little house and started drinking. The lads prepared a great spag bol and we further developed our taste for the black stuff.
Next morning we couldn’t believe the view from our beds! Wow! However, no time for loitering. Off we set to our planned river fishing trip that took us a little short of 2 hours to reach and we met with our hosts, Mark and ‘Stop..’ Jonah. Most of us had no clue of the art of fishing for Trout or Salmon and quickly set about demonstrating this fact. (Some of us even went so far as to demonstrate we were actually quite a tackle menace!). Kev, who did know what he was doing, spent most of the morning trying to keep a way upstream of us but it was all to no avail. We blanked totally despite Mark telling us that the River had been “boiling with fish yesterday” – “awwww….stop!!”
We stopped for lunch and refreshment of the free flowing black stuff in a nearby hostelry and then headed back home for rugby watching and more Guinness. The evening began with yours truly ‘needing’, apparently, to speed drink a spiced rum ‘shot’ that left me feeling kinda drugged as we headed out for a night on the town in Carna, a massive village nearby! We were soon joined by thousands of villagers who weren’t coming to pay their respects to my ‘Fat Club’ win but to a local lass that was heading off to Spain for a year! Anyway, the Disco started and 10.30pm and we danced the night away until they shut and all the fresh fruit including Strawberry’s had gone home.
We carried on when we got in as it would have been rude not to. The following morning we got up late but with such good weather could not resist a few hours of photography. So off we set before the pubs opened. In the afternoon we headed off to the local big town, Clifden, to find a pub. We found one and watched the Welsh beat the Scots before we headed back for evening meal and a drinking game not best understood by our two elder statesmen who thought they could last the entire time topping up with neat Vodka. Needless to say, they didn’t and couldn’t and when we popped outside to stargaze, they wished they had been just a little more cautious…
The journey home was tired but gentle and we rested our weary heads that evening, each in our homes, relaxed and chilled out, knowing we had been party to a very special Fat Club outing!
Ireland and all its Western beauty will definitely be visited again by me over the coming few years. It is truly stunning in many beautiful ways and I can’t wait to photograph it seriously!