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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Morriscastle

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Throughout my childhood, the road I lived on was swamped with hitchhikers that not only stuck their thumbs up and waited by the banks of the shore but also begged locals to give them lifts.

The popularity of hitchhiking at the time makes complete sense. We were over twenty minutes away from the three nearest towns and a rocky road to the closest village.

As kids our fathers would drive us to the beach, four or five of us hanging on for dear life in the backseat. Hitchhikers would then approach us and plead for a lift to Gorey or Arklow or Ballyfermot or Navan, to which they were always rejected. To be civil our fathers would add a simple “maybe next time”. The hitchhikers would never forget. We’d see them the following week on our beach and they would point at our cars while demanding answers. We’d quickly swerve and head to a different beach instead.

It took a certain type of person to be a hitchhiker. Confident (practically cocky), comfortable and free of all anxiousness. They all had the same haircut. I used to daydream about hitchhiking my way through Ireland, like interrailing but on a local level. I could never hitchhike. Not that I’m some sort of superior being, I just wouldn’t have the charisma. The closest I got was last summer when I fetched lifts to work with several others each morning. Having said that, I knew these people. They were not strangers.

Perhaps I’m being overly paranoid, there is a chance I could meet a potential friend while thumbing a lift to Gorey. All I can say for the moment is that my road now has a path, I have a provisional licence and there’s a bus to town every Monday.

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