Monday, August 07, 2006

 

Ireland (almost everywhere in Ireland - 26–30 July)

Hi all,

Well it was time for my next adventure, and that was Ireland. I flew out of London at 0930, landing in Dublin just after 1100, after a slight delay. I was met there by a friend of mine Tracy. Tracy is also friends with Disco (aka Yeti, AD, Dunlop, The Hoff), oh yeah, Tracy is Irish. There was to be the beginning of a massive road trip.

We spent our first day in Dublin. After dropping off my bags at her friend Rosita’s house, it was in to Dublin for lunch and of course, a few beers. However we had to work up a bit of an appetite, so we visited Trinity College, which is where they keep the Book of Kells. The artistry in the book is amazing, having been written so many years ago. There were four books on display. Upstairs was the oldest library I have ever seen. There was also a copy of the Proclamation of Independence of Ireland. It was very interesting reading. There were only 250 written and signed.

After that it was off to lunch and a few beers of course. We then made our way to the Guinness Storehouse, via another bar for a quick top up. This was a tour of the brewery. It was very interesting, much like the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. At the end you go up to the sky bar or a pint of Guinness. The bar is fantastic. It’s a big round bar with an amazing view of Dublin and the mountains. It is a fantastic place to have a beer and get some great photo’s. It was great.

We then went for dinner at a place called La Med. The food was great. I highly recommend it. If anyone is in Dublin I would definitely go there. We went to another bar after dinner before retiring for the night. It was a great day, lots to see and drink.

Day two we kicked off by heading to Wicklow for Tracy to go to an interview. We then went to Glendalough. Glendalough is home to one of the few remaining moscs in Ireland since the early 1100’s. The building of the mosc was amazing. The entry to the mosc was built out of rocks, using no mortar. The wall has been standing for hundreds of years and still to this day hasn’t fallen. We then walked for around half an hour to a lake near by. We sat by the water watching a kid throwing rocks in the water, just hoping he would miss aim and throw the rock at his brother or sister. Unfortunately he didn’t, although he did get his brother wet, it provided a good laugh. The lake is great, it would be perfect for skiing and also just for picnics. After this relaxation it was off to Waterford. I have to say there wasn’t much happening there, but we did find a nice Chinese restaurant for dinner.

The next day we left for Cork, well actually, that was the plan, until lunch time. After failing to find breakfast in a town called Tramore, which is on the west coast, we decided to go for lunch in a small country town called Dungarven. It’s a really nice town. After lunch it was off to Ardagh, a town located near Newcastle West. It was a really last minute decision. The drive took around 3 hours, as we had do travel to the other side of the country. The landscape on the way was amazing, especially in the county of Cork. We went over to visit Martina, a friend of Tracy’s. We had a fantastic home cooked meal, actually it was the only home cooked meal of the trip. It was great. Not to mention the many bottles of wine. It was a big night.

Saturday, it was off to Cork. By the way, Cork is both a county and a city. I doubt it would be much smaller than Dublin. On our way over, we made our way to Ballybunnion. It’s a small town on the west coast. It was excellent. The beach was fantastic and the water wasn’t even cold, mind you I was wanting a jumper, for the first time on my holiday, it was cold outside. It was great.

It was then on to Cork, via Killarny. We stopped off along the way to visit Tracy’s sister Karen and her boyfriend John. They are both really nice. After the short visit it was off to Tracy’s in Cork and then out for the night. We went out to a bar in the city. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name, but it was really cool. It had a downstairs bar, with a nightclub above it. The nightclub was 2 levels, a good place. Once again, a few beers consumed and a great night had by all. Unfortunately it was my last night in Ireland. I really enjoyed it.

My last day in Ireland was very relaxing. We went out for breakfast and then a tad of shopping. We later out for a coffee with Tracy’s friend Rosita, who was kind enough to let us stay in Dublin. The two of us headed out for dinner and had a look around the city. It was my last chance to look around. I saw the tallest building in Ireland. It was 15 stories high, and I am sorry to say, one of the most average looking buildings I have ever seen. It’s on a road called “The Straight Road”. I can understand why it would take pride of place in Cork. This little visit ended up being the last place to see before it was off to the airport and back to London.

It was great to catch up with Tracy, meet some of her family and friends and see some of the fantastic countryside of Ireland. I had a ball there.

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