Sun + sun + sun + a bit of clouds/sun + a threat of rain (on the very last day) can basically sum up the weather we had when Em and I spent 6-ish days in Ireland two weeks ago (April 3rd to 8th). It was the tail end of out lovely 10 day Easter Break and we were glad to go and get away from our lives of Chinese food and the television fantastic-ness that is Suits.
Let me first just state that Em and I are apparently horrible tourists, never doing enough research for a place before we go. We just tend to show up and be like “hit me!”. Although this time we were a tad bit more prepared with the Trip Advisor Iphone app to guide us someways.
We stayed in the hostel Sky Backpackers – The Liffey, which was nice enough, and the location if great, right next to O’Donnell St which has a bunch of restaurants and stores, it’s 10 minutes from two malls, some movie theatres, Temple Bar and Trinity – basically walking distance to most major Dublin attractions. The downside? The frustratingly squeaky floors and and the giant sun roof (is that what you call a giant window in a ceiling?). I slept on the top bunk and between 7:42 and 7:45 every morning I was awake because there was so much sun.
|Sinead O’Connor in the hostel|
We didn’t do much the first night we arrived in the city. When we got off the shuttle from the airport, we were right outside the movie theatre where Tom Cruise was for the Dublin premiere of his new movie Oblivion. Unfortunately we missed him by about 3 hours, what a shame.
The next morning we started with a “free” walking tour (you know I love those things), and it was good. We actually ended up seeing most of the places we had wanted to – places like Trinity College, Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, Temple Bar, the Dublin usual. The Dublinia Gardens and another location that slips my mind were unfortunately closed when we went. From our tour guide we heard about a tour to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher in West Ireland the next morning so we bought tickets for that.
We spent the rest of the afternoon with some awesome Brazilians who are studying in Italy. Let it be said that Brazilians are great fun people and I vow to one day visit that country!
We went to the Natural History Museum where we saw some dead hedgehogs and creepy rabbits, St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, that park where the Oscar Wilde statue is, and we watched the sun start to set over the lake in St Stephen’s Green the Park. It was so beautiful and people were lounging about, soaking up this rare fabled Irish sun while watching swans try to mate.
|St. Patrick’s Cathedral|
We went to bed early because we had to be up before the crack of dawn to get on a bus to head out west. The tour group we were with put us on an express commuter coach to the city of Galway and there we were picked u by our tour bus complete with authentic Irish tour guide who drove us to our destinations.
The first stop was the Connelly Family Farm where we gotto see a traditional working Irish family farm, climb the rocky “mountains”, see the sea, and breathe in the fresh air on a clear sunny day. We ended the farm portion as all things should be ended, with cake. Award winning ckesto be precise. I had the peach and white chocolate cheesecake and it was delicous and scrumptious and tasty and all things good in the world.
|Em, Me and a girl named Jen on the “mountain”. Canadians unite!|
From there we drove through some small towns and villages, seeing ruins of castles and churches, farms and hills. Gorgeous. We went up a really windy hill, aptly named Corkscrew Hill. I found it marvelously windy, but it did not agree with Em at all. Most of the bus ride didn’t.
Eventually we reached the stunning Cliffs of Moher. Our bus driver kept telling us how fortunate we ere to have clear skies for the farm and no rain or fog for the cliffs.
|The Cliffs of Moher|
After almost two hours there we made our way to the town of Doolin to have lunch. I had a seafood chowder, because, well, we were by the sea and I love chowder.
We headed back to Galway, traveling along the coast, looking at the Arran Islands on the other side of the bay and pausing to see some castle ruins. The whole time I thought the bus driver was saying the “Iron Islands”, à la Game of Thrones.
In Galway we said goodbye to our great tour guide/bus driver and had an hour and a half free to explore the centre before we took a bus back to Dublin. And by explore I mean do souvenir shopping (postcards, pins, magnets, the works). We then sat in square admiring flags and people watching, waiting to head back.
That’s the end of Part #1, Part #2 soon!