Throughout my trip I've been told again and again that the best way to see Ireland is by car. So, after a bit of deliberation, I decide to heed this advice, and once out of the ferry I pick up the last rental car at the station. It turns out to be really a great car, a Nissan Micra, and I have to agree, it's the way to go. On the way out of the ferry terminal I zip past a couple hitchhikers holding up a sign to Cork. Figuring the company couldn't hurt I hit the breaks and slide to a halt, and they quickly climb in.
One of the pair I actually saw wandering around Cherbourg the previous night, and the other I didn't recognize but apparently was an Irish lad returning home after a long stint overseas. We three headed off the narrow roads, toward Cork, the Irish lad's home town.
When we get there, he's so kind as to offer us lunch with his family, which turns into a free couch on which to sleep, and even free use of his apartment in town the next night. All in all, that paid off very well... [more]