Hey, it’s Grace again, ready to tell you all about our marvellous experience in one of my new favourite towns, Doolin. As you left things with Oli we were preparing for our first performance in Doolin, somewhere that I can now call one of my favourite towns I’ve been to, EVER! (I will unashamedly love Doolin forever!!)
We arrived in Doolin on a very windy Friday afternoon to find that our performance field was inhabited by none other than one of the cutest donkeys I’ve ever seen. Despite the (in my opinion) wholly unnecessary signs warning you that could only pet the donkey at your own risk, we discovered that he had a very itchy neck and really did not like having his nose stroked! The donkey, let’s call him Eric, did not actually stay in the field with us, as after a conversation with the Aliee River Hostel staff who were kindly hosting us, Eric was removed into another field. This, it turns out was actually quite a big disappointment for many people who were staying in Doolin. As we set up the tent that evening, every other comment we heard from passers-by seemed to be lamenting the loss of Eric. We later found a picture of Eric in the tourist information centre, making us feel slightly bad for forcing the removal of a local celebrity from his field.
Yet more flyering – but so much more …
Well aware that, although fab, the Doolin Folk Festival which was happening the same weekend as our performances would cause us to have to compete for audience members for our shows, we set about flyering as soon as we arrived. Oli had some important calls to make and emails to send as he is our Artistic Director and all that. So, we split into two teams to tackle the flyering. Adam and Rowan taking the left side of the town. While Ana, Hanna, and I took the right. Now, I have mixed feelings about flyering. Having no previous flyering experience before this tour I was unsure of how to approach it. At times it can be lovely as it gives you the chance to meet some really lovely, and interesting people. At others, however, it is one of the most utterly soul-destroying activities as person after person tells you they are not interested in something that you have put your heart and soul into. I’m pleased to say that Doolin provided the former, rather than the latter kind of people. Every single shop, B&B, and café we went into happily accepted our flyers, chatted with us about the show, and all said they would tell their customers to come and see it. I have never met a group of more lovely, welcoming people, and a little piece of my heart will always be in Doolin with all of those incredibly kind people.
My heart will also remain in Doolin because of its A-MAZE-ING chocolate shop, aptly named ‘The Doolin Chocolate Shop’. When Ana, Hanna, and I entered the chocolate shop to see if they would take some flyers, and we were in heaven!! They even had a VEGAN peanut butter chocolate slice!! Now if there are two things in my life that I love more than anything (apart from theatre of course) it’s peanut butter and chocolate, so I had not been so happy in a very, very long time. I mean I didn’t need confirmation that I loved Doolin, but the chocolate shop definitely sealed the deal!
Once we had successfully filled every shop with our beautiful flyers, we went back to Eric’s field to set up our tent. As we have now had lots of practice at erecting our exceptionally easy to put-up tent from the brilliant Bell Tent Boutique, our tent sponsors for this tour, we got it up in no time! We then, however, saw the beautifully clear sky cloud over. Now our Bell Tent can withstand many, many weather conditions, but our van cannot and so a damp tent along with 6 very damp actors can only spell a very, very bad smell. Therefore, fearing a Roundstone part 2 kind of event, we checked the weather, and then decided to take the tent down.
You always meet the nicest people in hostels!
Thanks to Aliee River Hostel we had access to A REAL KITCHEN!!! Team cook had not been so excited for an extremely long time! We cooked a lovely stir fry, a fab curry, and nice big pot of pasta for us all. As we discovered pretty early on, Doolin may be beautiful, have lovely cafes, pubs, and chocolate shops, but it is not the best for basic amenities. The nearest grocery shop was not within easy walking distance. So, a special shout out must go to chef Savage for making a delicious pasta dish by, ‘heating up a couple of tins of things’ (kind of quote from Oli).
But the highlight of being able to use the hostel facilities must have been the people that we met in the bathroom area. After a day and the majority of the night at the Doolin Folk Festival, as you can imagine the majority of the hostels’ residences were very jolly by midnight. We heard lots of fun stories, got given some very sage advice (eating is cheating, and you can sleep when you’re dead), and even enjoyed a good old dance with a particularly talented Irish dancer, let’s call him Gavin.
The kindness, fun, and enthusiasm of everyone we had met during our time in Doolin was epitomised in our audiences. We would like to particularly thank Michelle West and Paul Reardon of Paul Reardon Photography for being exceptionally generous and wonderful audience members!
AND we went on a boat trip …
After some fab performances over the weekend, we thought we’d treat ourselves on our day off on Monday. So, while Adam and Rowan decided to take a well-deserved lie in, Ana, Hanna, Oli, and I took a boat trip to the Cliff of Moher. As we were reliably informed by the captain, the winds were light, but the swell was strong. This meant that we had a rather choppy boat ride, but Han had been saying that she wanted to go to a theme park, so that’s basically the same thing as a rollercoaster, right?? The cliffs were beautiful, and although we couldn’t see everything because it was rather foggy, the scenery was still exceptionally beautiful!
When we got back from the boat trip, we said goodbye to the hostel and headed on the road again. After a short stay in Castle Gregory at the beautiful Green Acres campsite, today we arrived in Killorglin. This town is beautiful, creative, and community-orientated town, and we are really looking forward to performing in and exploring this wonderful place!