Friday, June 26, 2009

IRELAND!

Hello friends!!

So I got to Ireland on Friday evening. Got to my hostel & was with a group of 9 American lacrosse students over here for schooling. Yikes! They were party party party, but they were actually pretty nice girls & invited me out to O'Shea's where we watched a live band, had a pint of Guiness & some pretty good conversation. At around 2 am a couple of them came back to the room HAMMERED & giggly tho. Oh the hostel fun. ;)
Keith was due to get in early Saturday morning. That did not happen, he wasn't able to make his flight & so didn't get in until Sunday morning. So Saturday - Michelle wandered around Dublin on her own AGAIN! I am getting a little tired of wandering around cities alone! :) But it was fine, uneventful. I went back to my room, took some goofy pics, read a little, wrote in my journal, and then went out again. When I came back around 6:30 - I met some more Americans ( I had moved rooms b/c I had only planned to be there for the one night), so these nice Americans - who had just spent some time in Greece!, invited me out to go on a hunt for the pub in PS I Love You. Naturally - people & a movie that I loved, I was in! So we went for a walk. Found the pub, but it was blasting out hard rock, not nice Irish folk music. So we went elsewhere for dinner. And then ended up back at O'Shea's. The same band was there & the Irish folk songs were a'blarin! :)
Early Sunday Keith showed up. We hit the road right away! Belfast, we went thru it. Stopped at The Crown Saloon for lunch. Survived all the bombs at The Europa (most bombed hotel in Ireland), just across the street, and The Crown was very ornate!! Took some pics. Then we went thru the Hill of Tara - a pagan burial site that was pretty neat. And then Carrickfergus. It is pretty much the beginning of the  Causeway Coast route, saw the castle from the outside & did a walk along the pier. Then we went on to Larne. Stayed in a B&B called Inverbann. It was nice, had an Irish brekky in the morning.
Monday we did the Causeway Coast drive. We started in Carrick-a-rede, a suspension bridge between the big island & a little tiny one. It was a short bridge compared to Capilano, but the scenery was excellent! After that we stopped at the side of the road to take pics of a sandy beach, and then moved on to Bushmills. To the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery - the oldest whiskey distillery still in operation in..Europe!? Definitley Ireland! Did the tour, took some pics & drank some whiskey :) After that tour we headed to the Giants Causeway. Several natural geological formations on the coast of Northern Ireland. BEAUTIFUL! Definitely one of the most beautiful things we saw...then a short trip to Dunseverick Castle ( one wall in ruin-a waste of time) and then Dunluce - a pretty cool seaside castle ruin. Lots of it still remains. Lastly we went to Limavady. Got a little turned around & lost track of time so no FOOD was open. We stopped in at a Tesco's & had a sandwich. And then met an amazing woman who drove us from place to place until we found an open B&B! Amazing. The B&B was Foyle View - pretty nice place.
Tuesday - We went to Enniskillen (last stop in Northern Ireland) and we went to the Marble Arch Caves b/c I had been told that the caving in Ireland in pretty awesome. It was my first caving experience & I did enjoy it!! :) After that we went thru Tuam & then on the way to the Cliffs of Moher we stopped outside of Burren at the Poulnabrone Dolmen Portal Tomb, a tomb from the Stone or Bronze Age. VERY OLD! VERY COOL! Pics will be posted eventually !! After that we headed for the Cliffs of Moher. Did the cliffs at sunset, wandered into the ' do not go here' area, got some great pics. Had fun! Then stopped at the Moher View B&B. :)
Wednesday - Thru Limerick, checked out the King John castle from the outside & then  a tourist info place. Off to Lough Gur - the biggest stone circle in Ireland. It was INCREDIBLE! I could have spent all day there just breathing. Lots of cool pics, there was an altar where people put money & jewel things. Very moving for me. I loved it. After that we had lunch in Killarny at a pub. Then did the drive around the Ring of Kerry. I think I would miss that. Some coastal views are great, but mostly you're just driving & a fair amount of the scenery is very BC. So meh. We both wouldn't do it again. Then we went out to Blarney. Checked out the town, got a B&B, Tourist Joy, GREAT, and then back into town for a pint or two in the pub.
Thursday(yesterday) morning - went to Blarney Castle, checked it all out, kissed the stone, now I'm so chatty ;) hahahaha Then we went to the Blarney Woolen Mills where I was disapointed with the woollen options & PRICES! Next stop Waterford, home of the Waterford Crystal. We saw the home of - but they stopped manufacturing in January, so no tour. Then we went out Kells, a couple of monastic site from way back 
Kell's Priory, Kilree Tower. Very cool, we could wander them at will. Then to Wicklow. beautiful mountains, tons of coniferous trees - definitely felt like BC - saw a bunch of old religious buildings. St. Kevin's Church, Tower of Glendalough, etc etc. It was really cool. Then off to find a B&B, Silver Sands in Wicklow. It was great.
Today we came into Dublin. We wandered around Trinity College, had an excellent tour guide & saw the Book of Kells & companions, very amazing. The Long Room tour thru their library...OMIGOD. I just wanted to grab one of these 1,000 year old books & lie on the floor smelling it's pages. I learned a lot & was wowed by the beauty & quantity of books in that library. *le sigh* After that we headed to the Guiness Brewery. For a totally different experience!! Very modern, lots of technologically advanced stuff thru the tour, very cool, had quite a bit of Guiness. 3.5 pints. mmm. Loving it! It was great! Now I stopped in here to say hello, before we head off to another pub, and tomorrow I'm back in London for a couple days!!
LOVE YOU!