Ireland Day 01: DUBLIN
Like any international trip my journey started at the airport, specifically at Boston’s Logan International. It is a gamble to take an overnight flight to Europe but I wanted to optimize the amount of time that I had in Dublin on Saturday. Despite a definite lack of sleep there was nothing else to discourage my excitement. On either end of the flight I had a remarkably painless trip through the airport and encountered almost no lines,
It took us only a few minutes to pass through customs, collect our baggage and find our way to the shuttle bus. As we were leaving the airport we saw the sun on the horizon shaded by the morning Dublin fog. That’s when it hit me that we were in Ireland.
I was once told by my Aunt Mia, a woman who loved to travel, that the best way to see a city is via a bus tour. I’ve relied on this advice for every major city that I’ve visited throughout Europe and have never been disappointed. Unfortunately because of our early flight and quick processing through the airport we had a tremendously early start to the day. Never the less we stayed awake long enough to see the city from the beautiful vantage point of bus top.
Given the excess of time we had we made a few stops along the way including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Temple Bar and the Writer’s Museum.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
We made our first stop to this stunning cathedral in Dublin. It possessed a depth of history and a wealth of stained glass. I’m always amazed at the detail of the architecture within these ancient buildings and the dedication and wealth that had to go into designing and building it all those years ago without our modern tools or technology.
Temple Bar is a quirky area and quite popular with the tourists. It is a series of closed streets and alleys used to create a cultural area within Dublin. I’d read in several guides that the book market was something that must be seen and visited but I was quite disappointed with the three stalls that comprised of the book market. I’d be hoping to pick up something there to call a souvenir but it was so bland I gave up after ten minutes of perusing the merchandise.
Dublin Writer’s Museum
This was a last minute decision to see but I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to visit given my love of literature. I particularly wanted to visit to read up and pay homage to three amazing writers: James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, and my favorite writer Oscar Wilde. This museum really opened my eyes to many other authors who are soon to grace my bookshelves and become new favorites.
The Castle was almost completely destroyed during a fire that took place in the 1600s. I found that it was a great disappointment for me when visiting because I was desperately seeking more of a Tower of London vibe and less of a Versailles vibe from the building. I loved the old part of the castle that survived and the walls of the structure.
Dinner in Temple Bar
Despite being exhausted we headed to Temple Bar for an early dinner. We found an Irish restaurant/pub in the Temple Bar neighborhood after specifically going on a hunt for a good traditional Cottage Pie. I felt right at home after ordering a Cottage Pie and Carlsberg. We savored every bite but by the end we were ready to head back to the Hotel and pack it in early for the evening.
As a long time fan of the show I was thrilled to get an opportunity to watch it live on Irish television. We watched the first live show from the hotel room and truly got to appreciate this season’s contestants live.
Ireland Day 02: DUBLIN
We spent the morning exploring our neighborhood and then shopping on Henry Street. I was thrilled to find stores there that I’ve only dreamed of shopping at since I left London. We did a little reconnaissance on these stores so that we would know what we wanted to buy once we returned to Dublin- we didn’t want to have to lug around a tremendous amount of purchases as we were to live a bit of a vagabond lifestyle during the tour.
After a successful outing for shopping, and a few good purchases from River Island and HMV, we returned to the hotel room to drop off our goodies. Then we met my friend Shawn so that we could spend the afternoon with him visiting The Old Jameson Distillery. Shawn married my best friend from college a month before this trip and it just so happened was in Ireland for work.
Together we made our way to the Old Jameson Distillery.
The Old Jameson Distillery
This was a unique experience that provided a instructive tour of the Old Distillery, a history of Jameson and a lesson how the whiskey is made. While we waited for the tour to begin we each tried a different type of Jameson drink off their menu; Chris had his first Irish Coffee of the trip, Shawn tried an Irish style tea, and I enjoyed an Irish Hot Cocoa. I would highly recommend that everyone begin their trip this way to get a true appreciation for the versatility of Jameson Whiskey.
At the very beginning we were able to volunteer (and I recommend doing so) to be a Whiskey taste tester. After the instructional tour was over a small panel of 8, including myself, were given 3 taste samples of 3 different types of whiskey (Jameson, Scotch, and Bourbon). The entire panel successfully chose the Jameson as the preferred choice and in turn I am now an official Jameson taste tester.
For the second night in a row we made our way to Temple Bar for dinner and a bit of drinking. This time we tried the sister restaurant of the Quays from the night before- the Old Mill. Both provided us with amazing food, atmosphere and drink but I would say that the Quays was my preferred of the two restaurants. And again we all indulged in proper Irish meals- Guinness & Beef stew and Fish & Chips.
Since Chris and I had a concert to catch we left Shawn early to make it in time to see the opening acts at our Kate Nash concert.
Kate Nash @ The Academy
I’ve been a fan of Kate Nash for quite some time now, at the very least since I lived in London. I think she’s amazingly quirky with a good voice and provides interesting songs and performances. Needless to say I was thrilled to see her live. As usual I wasn’t particularly fond of the opening acts but suffered through, or endured them, so that I could rock out with Kate Nash. I was not to be disappointed since she delivered a great concert and played all the songs I consider to be my favorites. I was thrilled to get to see a concert in Dublin!
Ireland Day 03: DUBLIN to KILLARNEY
The last thing you want to due while traveling is haul a suitcasehalfway across town while on a deadline. We avoided that by hiring a taxi to take us to the drop off point for our bus tour of Ireland. One thing I did notice is that, completely by accident, we landed in a hotel that was practically next door to the rival bus company. The start to the trip was uneventful but we loaded our bags onto the bus and found a seat in the far back that allowed us a great view of the road.
I think that the beauty of traveling cross country by coach (bus) is that it allows you to absorb the scenery along the roadside. The things we came across, whether it be on back roads of highways, were amazing. The amount of ruins, castles and churches that were visible from the roadway was mind boggling to me as we passed through Ireland.
Dublin to Abbeyleix
Since we were traveling by coach we made quite a few stops each day in villages all over Ireland. I believe this is one of my favorite aspects of traveling by coach. You can tell a lot about a country by visiting it’s smaller villages rather than relying on the big cities to set the atmosphere and attitude for a country. This is particularly true for Ireland. We stopped in Abbeyleix for the purpose of purchasing a lunch to eat while on route to our next stop but I still found the town to be quaint and really beautiful.
Abbeyleix to the Rock of Cashel
Our second stop for the day was to the Rock of Cashel; which was the historical home of the kings of Munster. This was a brief stop for us but it was worth it to see a castle this close up (and getting a chance to stretch our legs never hurts either). It was this stop that gave me the moment of awe and recognition that I was in Ireland and there would only be more castles and awe inspiring sites during the 7 days of our traveling cross country.
Rock of Cashel to Mitchelstown Caves
We had the brilliant experience to next visit the Mitchelstown Caves. These are limestone caves deep within the ground of County Tipperary. Unfortunately photography was not allowed so I only was able to appreciate the view around and near the caves.
The caves themselves were unlike anything I’d experienced. Geologically they were mind blowing but the experience itself was pretty surreal. The temperature was cool compared to the warm fall temperature outside the caves. Then there were the sites of the drip pillars and the various formations that had been created over a remarkable length of time.
Next we made our way further south to visit Blarney Castle, home of the famous (or infamous) Blarney Stone. My traveling companion, Chris, had been here once before and prepared me for what to expect when I arrived at the Castle for I was determined to kiss the Blarney Stone. I figured it was a once in a life time experience (or ordeal). I psyched myself out going up to kiss the stone but it was something of an ordeal. You have to lay down on your back, inch out over an opening in the castle’s wall, lean backwards and kiss the stone upside down. The experience was worth having but I will not be doing that again.
Quite frankly it was a terrifying but rewarding experience.
As always I fell in love with the castle itself and the architecture that had been achieved back in the 15th century.
Our last stop for the day was the beautiful town of Killarney, in Country Kerry. We spent the evening at Neptune’s Hostel which was below my standards for hostel living but it was only for a night so I sucked it up and moved on.
The town itself was quite quaint and absolutely picturesque. It simply belonged on a postcard. I could see why Killarney was a big tourist destination.
First we chose to explore the town a bit, which ended up in my finding the closest Penny’s for a short shopping excursion. The weather had been unseasonably warm and sunny for the first day of our trip and after a glimpse at the weather report for the next few days I realized that my wardrobe simply did not provide me with enough ‘warm weather’ options. Shopping was the only solution, of course. We grabbed dinner at a local restaurant and eventually ended up at the pub for a few pints, though we were unfortunately did not end up meeting many locals that night. And we finally ended up in a backroom ‘disco’ (dance club) before calling it a night.
Ireland Day 04: KILLARNEY to ENNIS
While travelling the tiny, winding roads of a coastal drive the biggest fear is getting into a collision.
We were travelling along one of these winding beautiful coastal roads when a Land Rover veered into our lane and clipped the front corner of our bus. I had an unfortunate seat to see the entire thing and it was certainly terrifying. Thankfully our bus driver was a skilled veteran and handled the situation calmly. The police and ambulance came along to get the woman out of her totaled car. That is not an experience I’d ever like to experience again but it is caution to any who would drive themselves on those coastal roads to be cautious and aware of their surroundings.
Killarney to the Dingle Penninsula
Having spent an overnight in Killarney we could not leave this part of Ireland without at least catching a glimpse of Killarney National Park. And what a sight it made first thing in the morning with a lingering haze over the valley. This was the first chance I really had received to test the capabilities of my panoramic camera; it was well worth the wait.
We followed a coastal road, winding and beautiful, on our way to Dingle. I had found a seat at the very back of the bus for this day and admittedly spent much of the drive facing the wrong direction. I found the best view was offered to me by gazing out the back picture window and was blown away when each turn presented me with yet another breathtaking view.
During one of the few times I sat forward I was gazing out my driver’s side window when I noticed something odd; a car was travelling down the curvy road in our lane. Before I knew it she swerved at the very last minute and connected only with the side of our bus. Even so that meant little damage to us but her car was beyond totaled with the front axle broken and a wheel pulled completely off. Worse yet was that she was stuck in her car with no way out. In the end we were cleared by the police to continue on our way and later learned that she had sustained only minor injuries; and no one on our bus was injured in the slightest.
Slea Head Drive
Despite the accident we were cleared to complete our morning’s excursion in our damaged bus; an excursion that would continue our trail along some of Ireland’s incredible and winding coastal roads. We were set to take on the Slea Head Drive.
I would not have missed this ride for any reason; and if you’re travelling to Ireland I highly suggest you enjoy it as well! The winding roads were on the ledges of hills, on the edges of cliffs, and brought with it a fair amount of legend and lore. I was also forced, for the 2nd time thus far on the trip, to confront my fear of heights but walking up to the edge of a fifty foot cliff.
We saw Bee Hive Huts on private property; I made my 3 euro donation and snapped photos of the huts even if there was no one there to check that I paid because they were a remarkable sight. We made a stop off at a beach that was begging me to jump in the water since the sun was shining and the waves were calm. Then we came to a sight that included a cliff with a cave that was completely inaccessible; but history tells us thats where the last Irish chieftain hide with the rebels.
Dingle for Lunch
Our lunch break in Dingle was cut short thanks to the morning’s accident but we made good use of the time by visiting a local pub called McCarthy’s. Incidentally I’d read a book called “McCarthy’s Pub” not long before making the journey to Ireland and it made me chuckle to recall the author’s pilgrimage to Ireland in search of his ancestor’s pubs. I also heard of Fungi the Dolphin and the tales that surround his legend in Dingle. Unfortunately we were forced to transfer buses since our’s had been damaged in the accident and I lost the beautiful back picture window to use as my personal portal to Ireland.
Dingle to Ennis
The ride from Dingle to Ennis was uneventful but presented me with a chance to stare in awe at the beauty of the Irish country side. I continued to be surprise at the ancient structures that would, from time to time, randomly appear alongside the roadway. And I was continually charmed by the villages we drove through and the landscape that so many poets have written about.
Overnight in Ennis
Though it was a quiet Tuesday night in Ennis I have to admit that this was one of my favorite towns that we visited. It was quaint and had a brilliant atmosphere to it that I particularly enjoyed the next morning.
We stayed at the Rowan Tree Hostel which our guide, Kevin, assured us was the nicest hostel in Ireland. By the finish of the trip I had to agree with him especially considering that I stayed in the newly renovated wing of the hostel.
The hostel even arranged for us to have Irish dancing lessons with a local gentleman. He was an adorable older man who proved to have amazing patiences with us as we attempted, and often failed, to learn the steps to several dances and variations he sought to teach us. We learned the “Seige of Ennis” and several others but had a grand old time making fools of ourselves.
For dinner we found a charming Italian restaurant that was cute and out of the way; but we weren’t the only ones from our tour to find our ways there and before long the group dominated the tiny establishment.
Our pub night was held at Cruises and was one of the highlight nights of our trip. We shared pints while watching the Ireland football team take on Serbia and end in a draw. I also had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of an American couple, who bravely invited us to sit with them at their table, who were on their honeymoon. And before the night was out I’d befriended 2 local gentlemen who were a wee bit too friendly but harmless and above all else entertaining.
Ireland Day 05: ENNIS to GALWAY
Given the change of buses I chose to change my seating arrangement and took a seat upfront. This allowed for some of the most stunning views of Ireland and some terrific photo opportunities.
Over the course of the morning I felt like I had the traditional Irish tour; involving some of Ireland’s most famous and well photographed locations.
These were places that if they had not already been featured in television or movies should be for their sheer stark beauty. The Cliffs of Moher, as seen in the Princess Bride, were as inspiring in person as they had been on the golden screen.
Ennis to The Burren
I began the day early to take a stroll about Ennis in the midst of the morning fog. The town was eerily quiet in the early morning hours; all the shops were closed and the traffic was non existent. I had quickly fallen in love with this beautifully quaint Irish town and wanted just a few more minutes to see it in the morning haze. Then I began the journey of the day by sitting at the front of the bus for a new perspective as we traveled through Ireland’s incredibly beautiful and starkly barren landscape.
The fog cleared quickly as we got underway and the sun shone through long enough to get us into the Burren and to visit the Poulnabrone (the Portal Tomb). This stone structure dated back to the neolithic times in Ireland’s history and carried with it a trace of Gaelic mythology and sense of wonder that the ancient inhabitants of Ireland could build something on this magnitude without the aid of modern tools. As we stood admiring the Poulnabrone and the Burren landscape I watched as the fog rolled across the lunar landscape and enveloped us.
This was a pure Irish experience; to be standing on Ireland’s lunar landscape, gazing at the eerie portal tomb, and to be enveloped by the Irish mist and fog was a truly haunting experience.
To continue that experience we boarded the bus once again and followed a twisting, winding and dizzying road through the Burren to get to our next destination: a Faerie Ring. We walked around the outside of this piece of Irish mythology and carefully avoided entering the center of the ring; for fear of bad luck. Since our trip already had it’s series of bad luck encounters we all agreed that we did not want to risk angering the Irish faeries simply for a photo opportunity or on a dare. The fog lent itself to completing an incredibly eerie, haunting and authentic visit to the faerie ring.
The Cliffs of Moher to Lahinch
The fog cleared up just in time for us to arrive at the Cliffs of Moher. A light haze remained in the air as we stood along the edge and photographed this magifnicent sight but it did nothing to diminish the awe inspiring beauty of this Irish landmark. I replayed the scene from the Princess Bride nearly a dozen times in my head as I gazed out upon them. We explored the Tower and the available edges to get remarkable views down to the ocean. Along the route from the Cliffs to Lahinch we came across the “Last Erection of O’Brien”; and heard a little lore about that particular statue.
For lunch we visited the surf town of Lahinch where we found a local pub to dine at and then took our remaining time to visit the village and the ocean at our leisure. By the time we got back to the bus we weren’t terribly surprised to see that it had been replaced yet again; and now we were on bus number 4 (thanks to a faulty microphone on number three).
Lahinch to Kinvara; along the Coastal Road
From Lahinch we traveled along the Coastal Road for amazing views and stunning photo opportunities. We stopped along the way for a photo break along a set of cliffs that were impressively tall to me but did not come close to what we had seen at the Cliffs of Moher. I conquered my fear of heights long enough to get pictures taken for proof of that victory.
The Coastal Road is a trip that I recommend to anyone who is traveling to Ireland. In fact I would recommend a visit to all the morning stops of Day 5 because this was purely Ireland and some of the most breathtaking scenery you could see.
As we traveled along the Coastal Road the fog that had receeded long enough for us to appreciate the Cliffs of Moher and Lahinch returned to blanket the second half of our travels on the Coastal Road. It was truly eerie to be driving along this road and see nothing but gray ahead of you and to either side of you. It was a harrowing and beautiful experience. Another thing I noticed along this route was the subtle change of the trees; all of which were bent inland. It was a sign that the wind, water and ocean air had won the battles in this part of Ireland and contributed to the otherworldly feel of this landscape.
Kinvara to Galway
We took a short break in the town of Kinvara; long enough to become introduced to an adorable coffee shop along the water. The stay was not long before we were back on the bus and complete the remainder of the leg between Kinvara and Galway.
Our overnight stop for that night, and the following, was in Galway at the Kinlay House hostel (highly recommended). After settling ourselves into our rooms and breaking up into small groups, my roommates and I decided to go on an exploration of Galway and simply get lost.
The city proved to be as beautiful as we could have expected and we found a beautiful waterway to explore. As we participated in this exploration it was becoming increasingly clear that the unusual warmth we had been experiencing for the length of the trip was shortly coming to an end. A cold descended upon us in Galway and cut our explorations short; forcing us to find shelter in a pub that came highly recommended (the King’s Head).
It was there that we enjoyed a free beer with our meal and I experienced Wainright’s for the very first time; while tasty it would not be my preference but I do recommend it. After dinner we explored the area for a bit before taking off to meet the rest of our group for live music at the Spanish Arch. The band was called Alale and they were remarkable.
Ireland Day 06: Inis Mor
The entire sixth day of my trip was spent exploring the island of Inis Mor off the coast of Galway. Inis Mor is the largest of the Aran Islands and presented a beautiful look into the day to day lives of a quiet Irish island.
We arrived via ferry and were given several options as it pertained to touring the island; renting a bike to pedal our way around, hiring a local cab to give us a ride around, or simply walking. Initially I wanted to rent the bike but as we arrived on the island the weather had taken a true turn for the worse and it was quite a frigid day. Instead we opted to take a hired cab from the port and tour the island in that manner.
At the end of the day I was pleased with this decision because it gave us heaps more stories to tell and a really interesting perspective on the island since we were being guided by a local.
It also gave me a clear view on where the stereotypes of American tourists derive from; for we were joined in our cab by an American couple and an Australian.
The Aran Islands are known for their thousands of miles of limestone walls that criss cross the landscape. As we were traveling across the island we were able to see that they were endless. While myself and my companions gazed upon them with awe and considered them to be beautiful the American woman spoke up: “You have a lot of these walls but I’m not that impressed,” she said. “You know what we have a lot of in Georgia? Red clay.”
I kept my mouth shut.
Later we visited the Seven Churches and the very same American woman pouted and sat in the van declaring: “I’m tired of seeing ruins. Is that all there is on this island? Ruins and walls?” I began to wonder if she knew anything of the country she had chosen to visit.
Our tour of Inis Mor took us to visit Don Aonghasa, a 2,500 year old fort sitting on the edge of a 300 foot cliff which presented us with incredible views and yet another opportunity to conquer my fear of heights. We visited the Seven Churches (Na Seacht d’Teampaill); though I swear I counted eight. We saw the Seal Colony for which I put my binoculars to good use (and even offered them to the American woman who declared that they were inferior to the ones she had at home). We visited the main town, who had their power disconnected for the day while they were replacing lines; which made for a truly interesting shopping experience in the dark.
The night brought us back to Galway where I indulged in a shopping spree at my favorite store, New Look, and had dinner from the local convenience store. Surprisingly that was one of the best meals I had on the trip. All in all it was a fun day with quite a few revelations about my country women.
Ireland Day 07: Galway to Enniskillen
We left Galway to experience the beauty of the Connemara; another of Ireland’s iconic landscapes.
Later in the afternoon we would cross over into the United Kingdom as our tour took us to Northern Ireland. Although we made the cross that afternoon it wasn’t until the following day that I could sense any difference between the two portions of Ireland.
The day allowed for an encompassing journey of Ireland’s beautiful landscape and countryside and allowed us to explore some of Ireland’s history. We learned about such icons as Grace O’Malley but as we traveled deeper into the Connemara a larger lesson concerning the Famine.
I grew up near Boston so the topic wasn’t new to me; many of the Irish who left during that era came to my city and state to settle. I thought I had a decent understanding of what had occurred but I learned a lot more than I anticipated on this trip. Our tour guide told us that 8 million people had lived in Ireland prior to the Famine but at the end only 6 million remained; it is estimated that 1 million died and 1 million fled.
The drive through Connemara reminded me of the Scottish landscape with all it’s majestic mountains and valleys but there was more growth. We stopped in the town of Leenane for Irish coffee and an impressive view. The next stop, as we progressed through the Connemara, was in Westport for a lunch break. I got myself lost in this city and explored for the hour we there. It was a really quaint city that I enjoyed exploring.
County Sligo to Enniskillen
Next we made our way through County Sligo and stopped over to see the resting place of famous poet W.B. Yeats in the shadow of Ben Boulben. Ironically enough Yeats chose this area as his resting place because it was out of the way and that would deter fans from visiting it. I found it to be underwhelming but that was what he would have wanted; in it’s own way it was perfect.
Along the road to Enniskillen we stopped at a waterfall to stretch our legs and for a photo opportunity. It was a small park off a backroad. It was so perfect for photo opportunities that as we left the park we came across a groom and his bridal party. And as we boarded the bus we caught a glimpse of the bride.
We spent the night in Enniskillen (instead of Derry due to crowding at the hostel) which allowed us to explore the smaller town and mingle with the locals. We went out drinking at the pubs that evening in a large group and got to experience the mating rituals of cougars (hint: they go after drunk younger men).
Ireland Day 08: Enniskillen to Belfast
The time spent in Northern Ireland was split between touring the old and the new of the country. It was an interesting way to experience and see this part of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The depth of the history is what impressed me about this area of the country.
I’ve continually said during my travels that actually seeing a land and the impact of history is an incredibly different way of learning about history. It brings it to life.
In particular the touring of Derry brought the recent history and troubles of the Irish people to life. It certainly gave me an entirely new perspective on it as we received tours from a local, and honored, tour guide.
We made the trip from Enniskillen to Derry where we spent the morning. We received a walking tour from a local guide, Martin McCrossen, who proved to be an amazing storyteller and purveyor of history. This city was incredibly rich in history; both modern and ancient. Martin brought the events to life but presented them in a way that allowed for hope for peace. I loved that the ancient city wall was still standing in this ancient town.
One of the most iconic and ancient locations in Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway. I found it to be unusual and breathtaking with the hexagonal pillars of stone creating what honestly looked like a stairway heading towards Scotland. I had never seen anything like it and I loved how the Irish had tied in lore and legend.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
I have never been forced to face my fear of heights so many times in the matter of a week; but I found the strength and courage to face yet another breathtaking and harrowing height. This time it was crossing a sturdily made rope bridge to cross from mainland to a tiny island best used for fishing by the locals.
To be honest the experience was not as terrifying as I had expected it would be; and in retrospect that was probably due to the fact that it was over water. And heights over water have a lesser effect on me for some reason.
Once over the bridge and on the island we were serenaded by our travelling companion’s bagpipes and treated to a great show.
We spent the night in Belfast; despite the charm of the city I was surprised at how uncomfortable I felt while in it. This was one of the first times in my traveling experience where I was left discomforted by the city I was in. We did find an amazing restaurant for dinner, Teatro, and made a night of it. The next morning I had a chance to explore my feelings of discomfort and I think I discovered the reason why.
Ireland Day 09: Belfast to Dublin
The morning was spent travelling the city of Belfast, particular the areas of unrest and near the peace wall, as a part of a Black Cab tour.
This tour was significantly different from the walking tour from Derry; and the city itself painted a different picture than we had seen in peaceful Derry.
First we visited the Protestant/Loyalist neighborhood where we were shown a series of murals created by the locals. Those murals depicted various aspects of their history and loyalty; going so far back as to show the origination of the Protestant’s claim on Ireland. Then we visited the Catholic/Republican neighborhood and their memorial garden for all their slain brethren.
We stopped to visit the “peace” wall and sign our thoughts. Overall the feeling in Belfast was one of tension and discomfort.
After leaving Belfast we traveled the road towards Dublin, making a few small pit-stops along the way. The most memorable being our stop over at Monasterboice.
We visited an old monastery featuring a set of large Celtic crosses; each depicting a Christian story. This was the Christian’s attempt to use the Celt’s own traditions to depict their stories. I was definitely in awe of the size of this structures and their juxtaposition among the rest of the Christian graveyard.
All good journeys must come to an end and we parted ways with our new friends in Dublin to return to our hotel and begin, once again, our own tour of the city. Several of our friends from the trip were also planning to stay in Dublin just a little longer and we made plans to visit Temple Bar later that evening for one last hurrah.
Ireland Day 10: Dublin
The last remaining day in Ireland was to be spent in Dublin and we had arranged to meet several of the friends we’d made on our trip at the Guinness Storehouse that morning.
I’ve been to a few breweries in my time but nothing prepared me for what I found at the Guinness Storehouse. I was incredibly impressed by the setup and presentation of the entire museum. The experience took us through the process of how Guinness is created from the selection of hops to the water and finally to the final creation. We had a taste testing of the Guinness and then proceeded through the museum portion before heading to the Gravity Bar; which had the best aerial views of Dublin.
We found our way back towards the center of the city and stopped at Rick’s Burger for lunch. Then we proceeded to enjoy a shopping spree; shopping until my arms hurt evening though my friends helped me carry the bulk of my bags!
Ghost Bus Tour
I’ll be the first to admit that I love cliche tourist traps and I have to tell you that the Ghost Bus Tour of Dublin is exactly that; however there are some truly fun moments of visiting Dublin in the dark that makes it worth every over the top gimmick. There are certain areas of Dublin you’d never be able to see in the dark without the aid of your theatrical tour guide.