Last November, I was fortunate enough to visit my good friend John Smith (seriously, that’s his REAL name) in his native land,
. Here you will find a summary of my Ireland adventures, some travel/destination tips, along with some of my own suggestions that I wish someone would have told me before my voyage! :) If you have any questions you'd like to ask, please don't hesitate- email me; firstname.lastname@example.org Ireland
P.S- Please keep in mind that my trip was in November. All the prices you see here are in Euro, converted to US$. The exchange rate changes almost daily so make sure and check up on it before your trip! I usually use the XE Currency Converter online website, its easy & fast :)
|Look what I found posted on John's fridge :) haha!|
The city bus dropped us off in downtown
Dublin, we walked down to the center of and saw the main O'Connell Bridge and the Spire; the Spire is huge! It was made for the new millennium (although it was built in 2003) and costs 3 million euros to clean it a year. Its 120 meters tall and is the biggest sculpture in the world. To be honest, it wasn't really that exciting and it didn't fit in with the buildings around it. But to the people of Dublin , it’s sort of their own personal landmark. Dublin
After looking around for a bit, we easily spotted one of those double deck tourist buses and we hopped on. I must say, this is a MUST for every Dublin tourist. It's the easiest, most convinent way to travel around the city! The tour started off at the
grounds, where we were told about the almost successful rebellion. On the tour we passed Johnathan Swift's (author of the "Modest Proposal") childhood house on our way to Christ Church Cathedral, which was built in the year 1030. Christ Church Cathedral has the 2nd largest crypt in the world and it is where Strongbow is buried. We also saw where U2 was discovered by Mr. Guinness and the hotel across the street that Bono owns (woo whoo! I LOVE U2!) Dublin Castle
Along the river, we saw the Ha'Penny Bridge. In the older days, people were required to pay a 1 cent fine for crossing the bridge. Soon they built more bridges close to the Ha'Penny Bridge and everyone avoided it so they wouldn't have to pay the fine. If the city were to still charge a penny for crossing the bridge, it would take care of
's debt within a week. Crazy, huh? Along the tour we also went through Ireland Trinity College, where in 1904, it became the first college in to allow women to study. Apparently, there is an old law that says anyone could shoot a bow and arrow at a Catholic inside the college grounds and not be arrested. Ireland never removed the law, so it’s still in place! Later we went to see the outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Jameson Distillery. Finally our tour ended at the Guinness brewery house and we had to visit this famous place :) Trinity College
As a first time traveler to
, everyone (well most people) told me that I had to visit the Guinness Storehouse tour. Well let me tell you this, I did visit and it was a great site and very informative, but I must admit, I was a bit disappointed. Ireland
The tour cost 15 Euros, which works out to about $25 US dollars, and all you do is walk about looking at videos and reading about the history of Guinness. I am sure I could go to there website or Wikipedia and read all of the same things online. But at the same time, it was very interesting having everything come to life before your very eyes.
There are seven floors of an old and renovated brewery and basically a trip through what the process involved in making Guinness. I found this interesting and did learn stuff that I didn’t know such as where Guinness was first brewed back in the day. I will say that the smell in the place is just fantastic the aroma was relaxing. There are quite a few very good displays throughout the building and a lot of history for anyone who cares for the nostalgic side :)haha! And to top it off, especially for the distant traveler and Guinness drinker, you get to pour your own pint of “de black stuff” and try to get the shamrock design in the foam. We headed up to the Gravity Bar (on the top floor, it has a nice view of the city) for a view and some peace/quiet. Cant comment on any food prices, we didn’t eat. All in all I did enjoy my visit, it was a good piece of History- but I wouldn't recommend it.
Another famous place I got to visit was Temple Bar. Temple Bar is a very popular area, especially at night. We wanted to grab a drink at one of the pubs, and maybe sit down to watch a Fútbol (soccer) game, but the place was packed. Also, what I didn't know about
Ireland before was that is extremely expensive! My one cider was seven euros ($10). So instead we just hung out towards the back for a bit, listened to an Irish band playing in the pub, then left. Afterwards we hopped back on the city bus back home to Ireland Dundalk. At this time, we were literally starving so we decided on getting some Chinese food to-go. I don’t know why, but Chinese food in is DELICIOUS! It really is addicting, you must try it if you ever visit. John and his family took very good care of me...feeding me...and I'm slowly porking me up, but I've been walking and talking my calories off. I love my metabolism :) haha! Ireland
The next morning we had plans to go into
Belfast, which is in . If you’re wondering what kind of weather I got, well it was pissing rain some nights and others the sun came out, but it was cold. Everyone made fun of me for being cold...but it was freaking freezing! So instead of heading up North, we decided to take a day to relax and visit some of John’s family. I met the millions of John’s cousins that make up Northern Ireland Dundalk, I exaggerate not! He’s probably related to half the city population.... his family is wicked awesome and his little four year old nephew, also named John, is adorable (he'll be quite the ladies’ man when he grows up). Louise (John’s sister) was kind enough to invite us over for dinner and cook a delicious meal. I swear, in its Thanksgiving everyday; mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, corn… the list goes on! When people ask me, “What’s a typical Irish dish?” I usually respond, “Whatever you have for Thanksgiving dinner, only they have it daily.” Ireland
While in Dandalk I did get to visit “The Eight Wonder of the World”, Magic Hill. We visited at night and I must say it is very intriguing yet, creepy. You park at the bottom of the hill, put your car in neutral and turn it off completely. Your car will literally move up the hill, by itself. John and his cousin, Hami, tried explaining the dynamics about how this happens, but I was too busy screaming, “Holy Jesus! We’re moving! Ahhh! We’re actually climbing the Magic Hill”, so I didn’t pay much attention to what they were saying. Yes, I was a bit too excited, and just so you know I was totally messing about it being the 8th wonder… haha :)
Irish Sea & Corcomroe Abbey
The next morning, we drove out to some see some Irish countryside and let me tell you, it was gorgeous! It was exactly how I pictured
as. We traveled to see Corcomroe Abbey in Ballyvaughan. We took tons of pictures there, because the abbey was so pretty! It dated back to the early 12th century. We then drove into the Burren. This hilly area was once completely under water and is now covered in limestone rock. This is also the area where the first Stone Age people settled. Many fossils, wildlife, plants and of course, sheep are found here. In the Barren there is a 5,000 year old tomb called Poulnabrone dolmen. We had a quick lunch in Kilfenora and passed through the Ireland . Every year the city holds village of Lisdoonvarna Europe's largest singles festival and up to 60,000 people come to the festival.
Sadly, like any trip, my
adventures came to an end. John dropped me off at the airport for my flight back to Roma. There I would meet up with a friend to continue with our traveling. Talk about exhausting, huh? But let me tell you, it was well worth it! Ireland