As you may have gleaned from the past few photo posts, B and I just came back from an amazing European vacation, where we traveled around Ireland and visited London. It was a GREAT trip, even better than I had expected.
Let me start by admitting that Ireland had never been on my list of places to visit. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to visit it – I love traveling and had heard many great things about the country – it was just that I’m not Irish and my list of places to visit have included Asia (yes the whole continent), New Zealand, Belgium, Turkey, the Caribbean, Spain, and so on – but never Ireland. BUT I am SO glad we went. Ireland was beautiful, breathtaking, pastoral, etc. and the people were more than friendly. So what did we do? Here’s an outline of our itinerary, some of my favorites, and some photos for you to enjoy.
Part One: Dublin
Dublin Day One: B and I flew out of Cleveland late Tuesday and arrived in Dublin just in time for breakfast on America’s birthday- July 4! We somehow made it from the airport to our hotel and dropped off our bags. I felt pretty gross and tired from our 7ish hour plane ride and no shower, but the adrenaline and excitement of being in the new country kept me going! We walked around Dublin, starting at St. Stephen’s Green, a beautiful park area right next to our hotel. After that we happened to literally run right into Grafton Street, Dublin’s shopping and music hub – in front of the shops on the cobblestone walkway are tons of musicians putting on performances, trying to make money and get discovered. Have you seen the movie Once? It’s where the two main characters first meet… beautiful!
After some window shopping, we found Trinity College and took a tour of the campus and its library, which meant we got to see the famous Book of Kells and the Long Room. I did sit down at one point in the Long Room and found myself almost passing out – which meant it was time to go, so B and I headed to find his sister Katie, who was in Dublin working for an organization called Friends of the Elderly. We found her, dancing with some elderly people during their Fourth of July celebration, which was pretty amusing to see. Are you picturing this? A bunch of elderly Irish people, dancing with Katie, to some American-style marches, in a room decorated with red, white and blue, and of course, tea and scones.
After meeting up with Katie, we finally headed back to our hotel and were able to freshen up and take a quick power nap. For dinner, we met up with Katie at the Brazen Head – the oldest pub in Ireland! I enjoyed a lamb stew, while B got his fish and chips. After our food and drinks, we headed to Kearney’s for some live music, dancing (including to the song Galway Girl!) and whiskey tasting. Not a bad first day!
Dublin Day Two: B and I slept in and then enjoyed coffee and brunch right off Grafton Street. After brunch we decided to walk as much as we could before our feet fell off to check out some of the other places on our to do list, including: Dublin Castle, the free museum at the castle – the Chester Beatty Library (which I HIGHLY recommend – it was really cool and filled with tons of artifacts!), the Guinness factory, St. Audeon’s and the Kilmainham Gaol. We almost didn’t make it to the old jail – after walking around and around (and of course not asking for directions) we finally made it there JUST as the last tour was going on!
After a long day of walking around and touring, we met up again with B’s sister for drinks and traditional live Irish music at the pub, Cobblestone. Not realizing the place didn’t exactly serve food, B and I grabbed some shawarma on the way back to hotel that evening. I love street food!
Dublin Day Three: B and I slept in again and then decided to take the bus to see UCD, the campus where his sister was living. Well, we actually were going to leave our bags with her while we were in London (Spoiler alert!) but realized then that we wouldn’t be able to get them upon our return to Dublin so our trip wasn’t really necessary. So we returned back to the city center and went shopping! I bought myself a pair of earrings, some post cards I never sent, and continued to peruse stores looking for souvenirs. We then braved the pouring rain and headed to Dawson Lounge, what’s “probably the smallest pub in the world” (as they claim) for a drink before catching our flight to London! (to be continued …)