So our trip to Ireland was the least organised of all our trips so far. We basically bought the flights about 2 weeks before leaving and only sorted out the hire car and accomodation the day before leaving !! But it all worked out and we had a lovely relaxing time away.
On the tuesday evening straight after work we got a flight through to Dublin, picked up the hire car and set off to find the hotel. And after a few circles of the temple bar area we finally spotted the hotel and then had to start trying to find parking ...and finally settle on a parking garage nearby that did turn out to be the right place as the hotel provided a discount for that particular one. After check in we basically went up to the room and crashed as it was now 1am - but not without a little tv watching since we are Tv-less at home.
Wednesday consisted of a Hop on Hop off bus tour of Dublin with use stopping and doing the tourist thing at the guinness factory (started in 1759 and still there), the Kilmainham goal (very interesting place and learnt loads about irish history), and the Jamison whiskey distillery (ok so this one was more for Callum - but it was still very cool) We then headed back to the temple bar area and settled down in the Bull and Castle for dinner of a HUGE steak and deep fryed mars bar from desert (more known as a Scottish thing tho) We then rolled back to the hotel and finished off the day by lying there holding our stomachs from the over indulgence of food and watching tv again :)
Thursday started off nice and slow and we head off and found the most stunning little shop called the Queen of Tarts for breakfast which was so yummy! Def a reamendattion to anyone going to Dublin. We then walked down to the end of the road to Trinity college (stopping off first to buy a memory card for the camera since its one had been left at home rendering us pictureless for the first day) In Trinity college we saw the book of Kells and the exhibition. Afterwards we headed down the shopping roads and then back to the car.
Once in the car we headed off North to the Passage tombs. This is truely an amazing experience. The Tomb we went to was the largest in the area and was built in 3000 BC - just think that is 5000 years ago ! Insane to think. We got a guided tours and went inside which was very strange - it is a long narrow passage way to a small 'room' with the 3 little niches on the sides that held the carved stone basins that used to hold remains. There were also tons of beautiful stone carving inside the tomb. It then has earth and stones piled on top of it - about 3m deep. And on the winter solstice the sun rises and shines up the passage way and into the tomb. They tried to recreate it with light bulbs which meant that we were in the small tomb with 25 people (it is pretty tight) and in pitch black darkness for sometime.
After that we headed back to Dublin for Dinner and found and lovely italian restruant and had our selves some pizza and wine.
Friday - we said goodbye to Dublin after breakfast in an american styled diner and headed off down the coast to Cork. We took some nice little back roads along the way and got to see ruins from the roadside and then finally stopped in Duncannon for a little walk on the blue flag status beach and have a look at the fort (which was very impressive for a fort - like a little village itself)
We then headed off to try find out way back to the main route and found a car ferry that crossed the river making our journey even shorter. Plus is was just so cool to drive the car onto a ferry to cross a body of water - its the kind of thing you see in the movies all the time but have never done. Was so cool ! We then headed through waterford which is *surprise surprise* where waterford crystal comes from and onto a small little town with a pretty (but polluted) harbour for lunch/dinner. We found a pub called the moorings on the harbour front that was populated with locals speaking a incompreshable form of english with such a think irish accent. We had a very difficult time understanding the waiter/barman - was very funny.
Finally we made it to Cork at about 19:30 and after doing circles of the city we found our way to the B&B - they do love their one way roads in Ireland. We then crashed once again after a lovely day.
Saturday - We found ourselves a bus tour of the city and learnt alot about the city in the medeviel times and the fact that the city centre was originally 14 islands and now is one big land mass with the river still running underneath it. Was very weird to think about it. We then went for a wonder around town - it is very small. And then around lunch time we head back to the B&B to grab the car and head to Blarney Castle outside of Cork.
Blarney Castle was AWESOME. It was a large home and it has been left in whatever condition it has landed up in - it hasnt been rebuilt or gussyed up to look like it used to. you have to use your imagination to see what it was like. You get to roam the castle exploring all the little places and rooms and staircases etc. as you work your way up to the blarney stone. We even went climbing up pitch black staircases in caves to try and discover the prisons and secret passage ways of the castle. We finally got to the top of the castle to kiss the Blarney stone...so yes we have now kissed the Blarney Stone, which let me tell you was seriously scary for me as you sit on the stone edge of the top of the castle and then get held over backward to kiss the stone by a guy that sits there and hold people all day long. It was even more scary for me since i'm so short that my butt had to go right over the edge of the stone that you sit on!
After the castle and the obligatory picture buying experience we were back in Cork wondering what to do with our last evening. This is were my ever handy blackberry came into its own as I searched the web and found out what shows were on in Cork. We settled on the Irish comedy musical improbable frequency. So we set off on the normal 10 min walk into the city centre from the B&B in a light drizzle which proceeded to to an out right downpour of rain which made walking even slower as we got more and more drenched. Thank heavens for my longer coat which stopped the top half of my jean from getting soaking wet and the umbrella that kept my head dry otherwise the rest of me was completely and utterly WET. Callum was even worse and the wringing out of his coat was hysterical and amazing all rolled into one. We finally got to the Opera house and got tickets for the show and then tackled the idea of dinner. That landed up being at the closest resturant we could see so that we were not in the rain any more then we needed to be.
The musical was great - i think alot of the Irish jokes went over our heads - but it was still funny and they took the piss out of themselves and the British. It was also a little rocky horroresque in the sci fi/fantasy sense which was great.
Sunday morning dawned as a beautiful sunny morning (albeit cold) much to our distaste ! especially since all we have time for was packing the bags and driving to the airport and getting on the plane. This all went smoothly even with the hour delay of the plane. But it hardly affected us as we were just too chilled out. Then of course once back in London having to taking the tube home which takes as long as the flight.
Luckily I had taken Monday off work as well so got an extra day to do absolutely nothing which was great !! And on Sunday night Paul and Alice had us round to their place for dinner - pasta and whiskey was the theme. And after a long day is was great to have someone else cooking dinner.
Well that is it - finally all written down - this has taken an entire day of broken up intervals of typing and a fire drill as well to get it complete.
Below is the link to the photos, they are not all uploaded there yet as i'm waiting for the ones off the other camera but should be there soon. Have a lookie see....