Hen Party [not us] enjoying Temple Bar, Dublin
Since first arriving in Ireland I have harbored a morbid curiosity about hen nights. Anyone who has been in Temple Bar on a Friday or Saturday will understand why I say "morbid" - I've seen seemingly normal (save whatever bachelorette-party-indicating feather boa/tutu/penile paraphernalia they bear) groups of women trot by at the beginning of the evening and then a few hours later they'll have transformed into shrieking harpies who will grope anything with a Y chromosome and shed items clothing by the Jaeger Bomb.

So it was with equal parts dread and excitement that I went to face my first Irish hen night this past weekend. In point of fact, my first bachelorette party ever.

I'm sorry to disappoint you all, but the hen I went on was nowhere near the apocalyptic scenes I've seen in my time here - that is to say, it was brilliant. The ladies who planned it have set the bar forever more and I will be comparing future hen nights to this one until there are no more hen nights for me to go to. It was the perfect combination of organized and spontaneous; we always knew what we'd be doing next but everything was loose enough that we could deviate from the plan as the mood struck. Pure fun.

We started out on a motor boat belonging to one of the ladies, where we were met with sparkling rosé and strawberries and our very own sailor hats (side note: I was at first reticent about the matching prop/accessory aspect of the hen, but give me anything nautical and I'm a happy; later, the accessories were fedoras, which I was equally excited by). We sped around Cork Harbor, enjoying the scenery and each other's company, and made our first stop in Cobh, a particularly picturesque town right outside of Cork City. We entered a salty, old-man pub where we had pints and enjoyed a raunchy Q&A with the bride-to-be (answers supplied by the husband-to-be beforehand), much to the amusement of the group of men watching snooker at the next table over. Unlike most hens (I believe), we were beloved by the other patrons and the bartender, the latter of whom invited us behind the bar to take a picture before we left.

Back on the boat and to the next stop, another coastal bar where some of us opted for tea to warm us from the rather brisk sea air (and by "us" I mean the others - I stuck with beer, because I am very tough. Okay, actually I had a shandy.). It was at this point our B2B was presented with an impressively realistic hand-made clay replica of a rather large male…member. Photos were taken, laughs had, and "Pablo", as he was dubbed, was hidden whenever a child was spotted - family restaurant, after all.

Our fearless captain then brought us directly to our hotel (in case you were wondering, luxury motor boat is pretty much the best way to arrive to a hotel). We freshened up and met up with the rest of the group, plus a few additions (including the future mother-in-law ) to wait for our next visitor…a very fit stripper who gave our B2B a pre-dinner lap dance. He offered the full monty, but she declined - we probably should have had drinks BEFORE he came, in retrospect... Bizarrely, he then gave us a bit of his life story…two kids, girlfriend dumped me, blah blah blah. True? Probably not. But then again, you never know.

The rest of the night was food, drinks, and dancing - and here's where I have to give even more props to the wonderful women on this journey, because even though we all agreed the club we were in had crap music, everyone made the best of it and danced till their drinks were done, and we could move on. No sulking, no complaining - it was wonderful to be with a group who's main priority was that the B2B was having a blast.

I only have one complaint about the experience, really, and that has to do with the unpleasant trend of men thinking that because you're girls out on a hen they have permission to be handsy, pervy jerks. When we came up to the hotel (6pm, full daylight, mind you) a guy commented on Dickie, our B2B's blow-up companion for the night. He said it resembled him, and she made a quip about how she hoped not, considering Dickie was essentially a eunuch. His response was to whip it out, there on the street. For our "pleasure" (re: "horror"). Albeit, this guy was on a stag night himself - but how is that acceptable? Just because we were all wearing matching hats? Most people will agree that I'm far from a prude (I, for example, would have cheered on the stripper to go all the way) but come ON. That was pretty gross. Also, he had no reason to be bragging if you get what I'm saying (I'm saying his penis was small.)

That was the most extreme example, but we had guys grabbing our hats, worming their way into our dance circle and never leaving, and loads of similar annoyances. High fives? Fine. Whoops? Go crazy  I don't mean to sound like this behavior ruined the weekend, or even was that surprising, I suppose - just irritating. If there are any guys reading this, if you see a hen night out and about, chances are they're enjoying their girl time and don't need you tagging along. No cocks allowed, as our the flag on our boat proclaime.

All in all it was an amazing weekend and I'm so grateful I was included. A big thank you to all the ladies, and I'll see you at the wedding, where the revelry will continue  I know there will be some who will chime in with "Temple Bar is full of British Hen and Stag nights " so I'm chiming in for you; yes, and they're bad too, but if you think it's only the Brits responsible for the obnoxious behaviour on hens then you are nationalistically deluded.