Yup, that's right surfin' the Irish way in Lahinch. All day long I was covered in happy bumps- goose bumps of joy. Growing up in Californian surf towns and spending most of my free time between the ages of 5 and 20 at the beach, I'm partial to these types of settings. But I've never seen a surf board juxtaposed against a sheep dotted hillside. Ok, to be more blunt - I've never seen green next to the ocean period. A park with grass up a hill from the beach, yes- but this was different. The whole thing was very different. Yet, familiar. The boards, the girls in bikinis, the kids eating ice cream. Billabong. Quicksilver. O'Neill. All familiar. But on tanless Irish bodies, new. The waves were tiny. The run ended right into a huge pile of rocks. There was no beach at all- only rocks to lay on. And the place was packed. The weather was that of a January day in Cali, the water icy- but all were out to soak it all in. There were surf shops galore. There were lessons offered all over the place. Coffee shops and snack huts were done up like we were in Jamaica. Bob Marley was playing. It was all too fantastic for words.
The part I loved the most was that this entire subculture was created right here in the middle of the Irish countryside. It felt real. The people living this had really embraced it. It did not feel like a horrible wannabee spot gone wrong. To me this place speaks of possibility- of not using limitations for an excuse not to do something. Now granted they told us that the waves increase in winter here, but on this day the waves were breaking at about 1 to 2 feet. And the place was packed. I actually considered learning here since I've always been chicken to learn at home. The waves off of a boat in a lake are bigger than what we saw today, but that was stopping no one. The entire town was built up as a surf town due to the possibility to be able to surf. Not because they had great surf. Not even what we would consider good surf. But because they could surf. I heart Lahinch.