It has been a while since I wrote. We just got caught up in our many blessings. That means that I haven’t gotten to tell you about our adventure. 🙂
At the end of March we went to Dublin. It was the most fun we have had on holiday! It was a whirlwind trip and an amazingly gorgeous experience.
We decided to take the train through England and Wales and then a ferry to Dublin Port rather than flying. I thought that we might as well see all the sights we possibly could on the way to the true sights! It turned out to be extremely fun part of the trip. We started out here in York at 11 and headed off towards Wales. The weather was perfectly foggy and cool as we rode to Manchester. Our trains ran perfectly on time. The second train ended in Chester and we got a light lunch while we waited for our last train to Holyhead Port.
Right as we crossed into Wales from England the sun came out. It was glorious! One side the shiny ocean, the other side fields with little lambs and distant snowcapped mountains. Life was good.
We arrived at Holyhead Port and stood in line to get on the ferry. After a little wait we boarded the ferry. It was so much bigger than I was expecting. We grabbed seats by the window and waited for the crossing. After a few minutes we were off. We went to the top deck and watched the sea. It was incredibly windy, I was almost whisked away!
After 90 minutes of wind and a lovely sunset we arrived in Dublin Port and got on the bus to Dublin City Centre. We got off the bus and entered the rainy world of Dublin. And so the Dublin adventure began.
We checked into our lovely hotel, Riverhouse Hotel, in Temple Bar. It was a cozy little room overlooking a cobblestone street. It was around 9:30 so instead of going out to dinner, we grabbed meat and cheese and had a picnic in our room.
Happy Day 1.
In the morning we went down to the dinning room and I got to have my first Irish Brown bread. After the tasty breakfast we set out on a self guided walking tour.
As we walked out of the hotel we realized that not only was the weather perfect, we also timed our trip to the week of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Our tour started at St.Patrick’s Cathedral, and meandered through St Stephen’s Green, then we wandered towards Trinity College. The history we got to see in St Stephen’s Green was incredible. Part of the Easter Rising was fought there and the garden had a beautiful layout and I found my new dream house 🙂
We got to Trinity College and went to see the Book of Kells. What an thing! It was breathtaking to see something so old and so lovely. The colors were incredible and the process was so interesting. The exhibit ended in the Long Room. When we walked out into that library I was blown away. The the smell of the old books washed over me and made me so happy. I was so glad we got to see it.
By this time we were hungry so we found a pub called The Duke. I enjoyed a half pint of cider and a sandwich and John got a his favorite thing: lamb stew.
Feeling refreshed, we set off again. We went to Grafton Street and watched some street performers while walking up and down a really fun place. At this point we wanted to go back to St. Stephen’s Green because we had enjoyed it so much, so we head back that direction. As we walk toward the park we saw a beautiful building. We head into St Stephen’s Shopping Center and see this:
As we walk around inside we found an art exhibit with paintings portraying the Easter Rising.
For dinner we found a little hole in the wall pizza place called DiFontaine’s. After and nice little Skype visit with Joanne and Tom, our second day was complete.
Day three started with a hearty breakfast at The Norseman, and my first Irish Coffee. Mmmm.
Next, we made our way to Dublin Castle. We got to see the medieval section that they have excavated and the”new” section built in the 18oos.
The tour was very interesting and I really enjoyed learning more about Dublin’s history. Sadly, the organ was out of order and couldn’t be played. The only part of the original castle that still stands now is the circular tower in the top picture. The rest of the medieval castle is underground.
The most interesting thing I learned on the tour was that when Ireland first declared it’s independence, they wanted to use the Boru Harp as the seal. Guinness had already copyrighted the harp as their logo so it was off limits. Instead of giving up, the Irish Government just flipped the harp around. So now when you see a Guinness logo and an Irish coin the harps are perfect mirror images.
From the Castle we went to see Christ Church Cathedral and then had tea and dessert at a little bistro across the the street.
While we were in the bistro it rained a smidgen but by the time we came out it was sunny and pleasant again. Pictured above is our Guinness Chocolate Mousse. Delicious.
Our adventure continued on O’Connell Street. That street is home to the General Post Office (GPO) that was the headquarters of the rebels during the Easter Rising. The GPO was completely ruined from artillery fire at the end of the 6 day rising, but it has been rebuilt and it is a really neat building.
Since our feet were tired 🙂 we went to a movie at the Savoy and enjoyed the luxury of popcorn while watching Batman vs. Superman. Absolutely hilarious movie… Highly recommend it when you are on vacation and have nothing else to do…. otherwise you can probably skip it. haha
After the movie we went in search of live music and food. This search brought us to The Old Storehouse in Temple Bar. It was tasty.
And so ended the third fun day!
For our fourth and final full day in Dublin we decided to venture to Kilmainham Gaol (jail). It was about 2 miles from our hotel in Temple Bar, so we set off after breakfast and had a very pretty walk down backstreets and shady roads. We arrived around 11am and were trying to decided where the entrance was, when a man and his son came up to us and offered us their tickets to the 1:30 tour. We said “Yes Please!” and had tickets in hand only to realize the time and then have to find a way to fritter an hour an a half. This proved no problem as the Irish National Museum of Modern Art was just across the street.
We never even made it inside the museum because the grounds were so beautiful.
After a lovely walk, we moseyed back to the jail. While we were waiting to get in, we over heard that the tours had been sold out since early that morning. If we hadn’t been given tickets by those kind men, we wouldn’t have been able to go at all. It was such a surprise.
The jail was a very sad and strangely beautiful place to tour. It had housed all of the political prisoners after the Easter Rising and it was also where they were executed. During the famine it was full to overflowing with people who had been arrested for begging. Begging was made illegal and so people did it on purpose. In prison they were at least fed once a day and had a roof. Even with horrendous conditions, it was better than nothing.
It turns out that the architect that designed the St Stephen’s Shopping Center also designed the jail. You can kind of see it in the ceiling.
After the jail, we went to the War Memorial Gardens. It was fun to go to a park that was completely untouristy. It was just full of people walking their dogs and playing with their kids.
Our final stop on our walking tour was The Brazen Head. It is the oldest pub in Dublin. Founded in 1198, it has been in the same place since the Vikings landed in
Dublin and built their settlement. We got dessert and a pint. I think we both wished we could have found the little spot earlier in our trip because it was just adorable and the dessert was the best we had on our trip.
Our last night in Dublin was a quiet one, we just had another picnic in the room and fell fast asleep.
Day 5: A day of travel.
We had breakfast at the hotel and gathered our things. A sweet lady checked us out saying, “Your breakfasts here will be on the house, because anyone from Spring, Texas in a friend of mine.” It turned out that her best friend from college and the friend’s husband own Molly’s Pub which is based in Spring. Our trip was blessed. Three breakfast free and a free tour! Wow!
We took off for the bus that would take us to the ferry port. 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave, the bus was canceled because the ferry was canceled due to weather. We panicked a little, but decided to go to the ferry anyway and see if they could put us on the next ferry out. We jumped in a cab and headed toward the port. Fortunately our cab driver knew more about the ferry schedule than the people who were supposed to know about it. We got transferred to another ferry line that had a bigger boat that could cross when the waves were 9ft high. After much waiting and sitting and eating lunch, we boarded an even bigger ferry. It was HUGE. John and I found the movie theater and sat in there, thinking it would make the trip go quickly. Because the boat was bigger than the first one we rode, the trip was around 3 1/2 hours instead of 90 mins. This gave us a whole bunch of time to get sea sick… and we did… Bright side is we discovered Cookies’n’Cream Kit Kats.
By the time we landed we had missed all the trains we had scheduled. We were a little worried that we would be stuck in Holyhead for the night, but as we exited security there was a lady saying run for the train! We ran! Jumped on the train! and waited for the conductor so that we could buy new tickets. When he came by we explained our situation and he didn’t charge us for the ride. We took the same route home to York as we took getting to Dublin. At Chester, the train didn’t leave on time because there was no conductor… and then at Manchester the train wouldn’t start at first. They fixed it and we were off. The train did stop in the middle of nowhere briefly but they got it going again and we got home safe and sound a 1:30am instead of 9pm, the original ETA.
It was an adventure alright. It was tons of fun. The best vacation ever.