Tag Archives: Ireland

Dublin in photos

I have finally begun sorting some photos. Here are a few of my favorites:

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This is a photo looking out of one of the windows inside the James Joyce Centre, into a courtyard that contains the door of No. 7 Eccles St, which he wrote about in Ulysses. When that house was set to be destroyed, some enthusiasts saved it. The house the centre is located in was built in 1784.

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This was our home for three days, along with fourteen other people. It was very quiet, our bunk was to the very far left and cannot be seen in this photo, right by a big window that was left open so the breezes could keep us cool while we slept. The hostel was located just a few doors down from the James Joyce Centre on North Great George’s Street.

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One of the many pubs I admired, and that Dublin is famous for. I loved the bright facades and hand painted signs.

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The Dublin zoo was very interesting, there were so many different animals to see and the habitats had great views. These are a type of rodent called a Mara. They are native to Argentina and Paraguay.

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Here I am at the Jameson Distillery after doing a whiskey sampling. This was first thing in the morning, so Heather and I decided to head right over to the Guinness Storehouse right after and make the most of the day.

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This is a newer section of Dublin castle, rebuilt in after the great fire in sixteen eighty four burned down most of the medieval castle. There is still a section of the medieval castle standing, the Records Tower, built in the thirteenth century (a picture of it is on my Big Realities page).
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A window, showing a glimpse of the Dubh Linn Garden, just outside the castle.
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A street in the Temple Bar area. There were many narrow streets like this one, filled with cafes, restaurants and pubs.

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The Christchurch cathedral, a beautiful sprawling church full of history, was orginally founded in 1022 by Vikings. It broke my heart to hear the the eight hundred year old preserved heart of Laurence O’Toole had been stolen from the cathedral only months prior. We were able to see the tomb of Strongbow though.

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An unforgettable farewell

Yesterday we had to say goodbye to Ireland (my posts are a little behind due to lack of WiFi). We got up early and checked out of our lovely hostel and walked to the train station with our backpacks. When we arrived, it turned out that on Sunday, July 1st only, there was a disruption in the rail service and we would have to take a bus from one of the stations all the way to Belfast. Many passengers were complaining but we didn’t care so long as we made it to Belfast. The train ride was beautiful, passing through the green farmlands. We saw low stone fences corralling sheep, small towns with large churches in the center and crossed several rivers. When we were taken to the buses, Heather and I were very excited to see it was a double decker, and we carried our packs up to the second floor where we watched the driver veer through freeways and roundabouts on the left side of the road.
This is where my story really gets interesting. We arrived in Belfast, which is Northern Ireland and a part of the U.K. I hadn’t thought to switch currency beforehand, relying on finding a place after we arrived. At the train station there was a currency machine but it only switched pounds to euros, I had the opposite problem. This was also the only major travel leg I hadn’t planned out. Heather and I needed to find a ferry to Scotland and then a bus or train to Glasgow. An attendant told me that we would need to take a taxi to the ferries and he didn’t have a definite answer to my currency conversion, suggesting a hotel a few blocks away. Since I didn’t have any of the right money for the taxi and we were going to have to trek for the currency, Heather and I agreed to just walk to the ferries to save money and we would look for somewhere to exchange our cash. Let me reiterate- it may have been my idea but she agreed. We walked, walked and continued walking, carrying all of our gear for this month long journey. Then we kept walking. I started out joking about getting exercise, then joking about hitch hiking, then the joking became half serious. The problem was that we were in the most desolate area I had seen in Ireland. Almost no cars passed us, only a couple bicycles and there were no shops open. After walking what turned out to be FOUR miles, we saw a restaurant open and decided to stop and ask how much further. Heather went in while I stood in the entryway with our packs. She had been in there for quite awhile when an older Irish man almost ran into me as he was exiting. He asked if I was lost and I told him that I hoped we weren’t, we were looking for the ferries. At the same time, Heather came back out and the man asked if we were walking. I told him we were. I didn’t understand why then he asked if we were afraid of dogs but I told him no. Next thing I know and he’s loading us up in his car and telling his wife that he was dropping us off at the ferries. When Heather told him we walked from the train station he looked at us like we were mad. I rode in the backseat with his 4 year old yellow lab; it felt good to have a four legged friend for awhile and it made me think of my own doggies. The man and his wife own the restaurant (The Portside Inn we had walked in and it turned out to be a blessing (or maybe Irish luck) that I had been standing in the entry because Heather was not able to get directions inside. It was also quite a way down the road still!
He dropped us off in front of StenaLine ferries and I got a ticket for a ferry that left in an hour and when the ticket agent asked if I wanted to add the bus/rail service to Glasgow I did not even hesitate. We got a coffee and pastry while we waited. The ferry was like nothing I have ever seen and the only way I can describe it is to compare it to a cruise ship, just smaller and higher tech. There were iPads mounted on the walls for use over the internet, a floor that had a moving fish scene projected on it, a cinema level where we watched part of the new Captain America movie, restaurants and shops as well. We wandered all around the boat, taking pictures and we splurged and bought a little pizza to share for lunch. I also got pictures of a lighthouse on the coast of Scotland.
It was a good thing that we ate on board as there was quite a long bus ride to the train station, over an hour. We joked that if I hadn’t bought the sail-to-rail pass that we would have died walking this stretch of windy road. We arrived in Glasgow at eight forty five and the sight at Glasgow central station was much different than the Irish stations. When the train slowed down in an area covered in graffiti, I teased Heather about it being our stop. I had to eat my words when it was. I looked around at the buildings with broken out windows, garbage on the ground and layers of graffiti and was very pleased that right before the trip I altered our travel plans to only stay one night in Glasgow and head to Edinburgh. Good thing since our hostel is just as dismal as the streets outside.

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Hello Dublin!

This has quite possible been the longest twenty-four hours of my life, but it was well worth it. Yesterday we got up at three thirty am to head to the airport and had three flights total to get here; to Phoenix, then Charlotte and the longest flight crossing the Atlantic. We made sure to force ourselves to stay awake on the first two flights so we could try to sleep on the last. When we arrived in Phoenix we were very happy to be leaving as the forecast for the day was one hundred and eleven degrees! We have been lucky to have great people sitting next to us, on the flight from Phoenix to Charlotte we made friends with a nice lady who was going to her baby sister’s seventy-fifth birthday party. I told Heather to pack us two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in her carry on and she thought I was crazy until we had our first two flights back to back and there was only food for purchase. The PB&Js rescued us! We were made aware of Charlotte’s love for Nascar immediately upon arrival; our plane burned rubber as we landed. Also, the airport had white rocking chairs all over which was interesting. On top of our already long day, our last flight was delayed two hours. We were exhausted by the time we boarded the plane. On the last flight we slept as much as possible (considering we were sitting up in an airplane seat and woken up by the occasional screaming child) but still had to sleep when we got here to help us adjust to the time change. As we flew in I wanted to see Ireland from the sky very badly, unfortunately there were thick clouds covering the city, but after the plane broke through all the grey, the fields were the brightest green I have ever seen.

Dublin is a beautiful city, the sidewalks are lined with tall, brick homes with brightly pained front doors. Our hostel is in one of these buildings, the ceilings inside are so tall that there are two flights of stairs between each floor. With no lift in the place it makes for a lot of exercise. Even though we are in the sixteen bed dorm, everyone has been very quiet and respectful. Heather and I were not the only tired travelers, several others were sleeping today as well. Just a few doors down is the James Joyce museum which we visited earlier. We also found a market where we were able to get bread, salami, cheese and a caramel chocolate bar to share for six euros forty. Not bad since we shared it for lunch and dinner.

Tomorrow we are getting up early to hit the streets, we skipped on the bus passes because everything is within a few miles. Not only are we getting some exercise but also saving some money at the same time. We are headed for the Jameson distillery, the Guinness storehouse and some monuments and museums afterwards. There is a beautiful gothic cathedral we saw on the bus ride in that we want to go see as well. We are also going to see the Dublin Castle on the way back, along with the part of the city called the Viking/Medieval area. We are also searching for my bucket list pub! Photos are coming soon…