I guess where I left off is as good of a place as any to pick back up so as of Saturday morning we arrived in Dublin, Ireland! (In case you missed the last post, this is a continuation of my trip to Ireland to meet up with my mom for a glorious extended weekend.)
Once in Dublin we quickly checked into our lodging, and made our way to Dublin City Hall for our first (scheduled) event of our time in Dublin, a free city tour! That’s right a 4.5 hour tour of the entire city for FREE! Jennifer and a few others turned me on to a company called Sandemans New Europe Tours which are provided in major cities throughout Europe typically by students, and the only charge is what you feel necessary to tip the guide at the end of the tour. Since the guides are working purely for tip money, this of course increased the quality of the tour by infinite amounts! We were lucky enough to have a tiny, blonde headed, feisty Irish girl by the name of Ursula who was studying Law and Politics at a college in Dublin in so facto the best guide we could have asked for. As I mentioned earlier we spent 4.5 hours learning about the history, culture, religion, traditions, and more of Dublin and Ireland as a whole. All I can say is it was well worth it, and if you ever find yourself in a large city in Europe definitely look the company up! You won’t be sorry.
Since we jam-packed pretty much the entire city in under five hours the rest of
the day was left to strolling the streets of Dublin, and eating at the Pigs Ear, according to my Irish buddy a “must do” in the city. And boy was he right! Granted, Mama and I couldn’t exactly bring ourselves to order the pigs belly or the raw salmon, but the brown bread was of course insanely delicious and they even had ice cream made from it! Did we order it? Duh. After dinner we made our obligatory visit to a few Irish pubs, and ended up watching the Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea football match at the hotel that Bono owns. Apparently when he was young and trying to make a name for himself he recorded a set right across from the hotel and went in for a drink, and they refused to serve him so he vowed when he became rich and famous he would buy the entire place and fire the guy. Needless to say that man no longer works there…
(By the way did you notice how I referred to the Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea game as a football match instead of soccer? Pretty official eh?)
We were somehow fortunate enough to have the sun out and warm weather for our city tour in Dublin, and again on Sunday when we took a bus tour to the West Coast of Ireland to visit the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and much more! I had found the tour online, and of course my planning self booked it ahead of time, and while the tour may have not been completely worth it (our tour guide was something else I tell you!) the places we visited DEFINITELY were!
Picture Ireland. Any movie, book, or television show you have ever seen probably shows the part of Ireland we saw on this tour. The Cliffs of Moher were the most famed attraction and rightly so. You can only get a glimpse at half of their beauty from the pictures, but imagine giant rocky cliffs covered in luscious green Irish grass meeting a crystal blue foaming Atlantic Ocean below. The Cliffs truly were a life affirming experience, I can only thank the Big Man
upstairs for how lucky I am to have seen that in my lifetime. PLUS the beauty didn´t stop there! We also visited a number of castles, and small Irish towns throughout the day (including O´Brien´s tower which just happens to be my mother´s maiden name) as well as making a pit stop at the Burren.
The Burren is pretty much a giant span of Irish country side made up completely of limestone. According to our guide when the glaciers began melting they would melt and then recede and melt again leaving stone deposits sprinkled throughout the Burren and ultimately an entire area covered in beautiful rock. In the middle of the summer, the Burren is covered with small wildflowers peeking through the stone
in all colors of the rainbow.
We also visited an Abbey (the exact name escapes me) that housed the sarcophagus of a big time O´Brien guy. The O´Brien´s were one of the seven royal families in the country´s history which I guess explains why all of us O´Brien women expect to be treated by royalty…it runs in our blood! We ended the day around 8 pm arriving back in Dublin, and after our first (and last) Guiness beer it was time to hit the sack for the early morning departure the following day.
I know a few blogs back I promised I wouldn´t give you a play by play type post
anymore, but the beauty and events of Ireland were simply not expressed in a better manner. I hope you enjoyed reading about one of the trip because it truly was a long time dream come true. Seriously. Ask anyone at school and they will affirm my strange addiction/obsession with Ireland, Irish culture, and Celtic music (Celtic Woman to be exact).
As usual here are again 5 facts that could potentially change your life…
1. Unbeknown to us Ireland is far enough north that it doesn´t actually get dark there until around 9:30 or 10 o´clock!
2. Beauty truly is something that can be found anywhere and everywhere, from a slabs of stone as far as the eye can see to glorious cliffs eagerly greeting the ocean.
3. Dublin Castle is about as far from a castle as you can get. Sure, it has a tower (kind of), but “castle” probably isn´t the best word to use. Now this doesn´t mean it is any less grand! I mean the Queen of England did recently hold her banquet there when she came to visit…
4. Irish taxi drivers (ones that are ACTUALLY from Ireland, not immigrants) LOVE to talk! A cab ride is nothing like those silent ones in NYC or Miami, no these guys want to know your entire life history and how you are enjoying Ireland, and they are truly great!
5. Little Ursula our tour guide might just be a pistol on the Irish political front one day…mark my words!