There are many wonders in the world. A rainbow, the murmur of starlings, the birth of a baby. But have you ever seen a half-crazy bunch of girls from Listowel going on vacation? This is something truly divine.
You see, for the first time in over two years, I’m off on a girls getaway. These trips are unique experiences reserved for men, children, parents and HR departments. The booking was made in January when the evenings were long and testing positive for Covid felt like an odd rite of passage. Since then, five women in their 20s have kept DHL running across the North Kerry area while local beauticians were booked and employed.
To be honest, we haven’t shut up about it. It’s all we can talk about. We seem to think that everyone knows and cares about our antics. It’s unbearable.
When a sales lady asked me last weekend, “Do they have petrol or diesel?” I thought she said, “Do you have any plans for the week?”
I went on to talk at length about my trip, the great deal we got, and my problems with airborne sinus pressure. At the end of my chatter she looked incredibly bored and replied with a blank expression, “So you don’t have petrol or diesel?”
I drowned in embarrassment and fled, but within minutes my mind was brought back to the girls’ escape location. My friend Aoife had asked if we knew who would bring a spare bottle of tan and the hair straightener. The logistics of the trip had to be discussed – my humiliation could wait. An Irish girls trip needs to be perfectly planned.
Not dramatic, but we had a lot to do in preparation. When Cheltenham was held the week we left we thought we were the bookies of the future, studying form all the time, basing our livelihood on accumulators and saying ‘she’s a fine mare’ at random intervals so everyone knew what we were about languages.
Our Cheltenham winnings would be our pocket money, we said. While this strategy didn’t work out the way we’d hoped, it gave us hope for the endless possibilities that awaited us. We expected big money because we also dreamed of big memories.
Then some serious decisions had to be made about the outfits, makeup, hair, nails and the best spot in the airport for a pre-flight drink.
In these types of trips, each friend is assigned a specific task. Julieann is the planner in our group, Aoife the entertainment, Niamh the foodie, Lauren the map, Foley the DJ. I am the prosecco pourer.
We are a dysfunctional budget tour operator and we love it. We’re not currently taking bookings, but if you come back to us in a few months with a good price, we might think differently.
Yet amidst the glittering madness there is a sadness. It’s hard not to think about everything that’s happening in the world. There is a fear of letting go completely, being aware of the horrors elsewhere. None of us take for granted the incredible privilege of doing what we do and having such light and bright thoughts in our heads. It is a present. It lets you enjoy those moments even more.
I remember crying to my mum during one of the lockdowns in 2020 because I missed my friends. I thought it would be years before we got a chance to be young and stupid again. Our present aching eagerness to get away is just a symptom of that longing.
To be fair, we’re not getting any younger either. Very soon rings are put on fingers and texts asking “Who will bring the tan?” become “What time is the baptism?”. While these escapes are certainly not going away, they are becoming rarer. And so we take what we can get.
The tan and the clothes and the sickening enthusiasm may seem frivolous, but it’s everything we’ve wished for in the past two years.
All we ever wanted was to be together again, drinking overpriced cocktails, telling and making up stories and convincing ourselves at 2am in a foreign pub that we are some of the best singers in Ireland.
I know there are more out there who have wished for the same. So over the next few days, if you see a throng of over-excited girls heading off to places over there, wave and nod to them.
Please wish them well and hold up your glass to say cheers to the girls and to the getaways.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/raise-a-glass-to-the-welcome-return-of-gals-getaways-41463772.html Raise a glass to the welcome return of girls’ getaways