St. Patrick's Day in Ireland, Where Else!?
Trip Start Feb 23, 2010
15Trip End Jun 21, 2010
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So we flew out Tuesday morning, arriving in Dublin Tuesday afternoon. We managed to figure out the bus system and get a 3 day bus pass because it turns out that our hotel was pretty much in the boondocks! It was like a half hour bus ride just to get to the city center, but we managed! Alex, Andrea and I went out that night for a little sightseeing and something to eat. We found a pub associated with Temple Bar where I had none other than the classical fish and chips, as well as my first Guinness! I pretty much craved fish and chips the rest of this trip, it was soo delicious! We ended up meeting some guys from America there too. It was just so nice being somewhere that everyone else speaks English again, so it was soo much easier to meet people there.
Wednesday morning (St. Patrick's Day) we got up early and headed to Brooke and Kristen’s apartment (two girls from UNI that are studying in Dublin for the semester) for pancakes and then off to the big St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Basically it felt like the 4th of July in America—only all you could see was green! The streets were absolutely packed! The parade finally started and I was excited because I was expecting some big traditional Irish festival, but I was soo wrong. Besides the two bands of bagpipes that went through, it was basically a parade of talent, I guess you could say. It had nothing to do with St. Patrick, much less Ireland in general. It was just a bunch of random costumes and odd floats. I don’t even know how to describe it, but I took lots of pictures, so you can see for yourself.
That night we met back up with Brooke, Kristen and some of their friends at a traditional Irish pub. Like most all of the other pubs they had live music which was really good. We had a blast but I’ve never seen soo many drunk people in the streets before!! It was insane!
Thursday morning we went to Guinness where I was able to pour my own "perfect pint," I even got a certificate if you don’t believe me! It was neat to tour the brewery and go to the gravity bar where we could over look Dublin while enjoying a free pint of Guinness! We spent the rest of the day walking around doing touristy things then met up with the girls and headed back to their apartment. We went out that night to Whelan’s pub. For those of you that have seen P.S. I Love You, this is the place where part of it was filmed! It was cool just to go and say I’ve been there!
Friday morning we got up bright and early to catch our 3-day Paddywagon tour of Southern Ireland. This was soo much fun! Our tour guide was absolutely hilarious and we met a lot of cool people to hang out with for the weekend. In fact, we met a couple of girls from Minnesota and Wisconsin that we had a blast with! It was soo nice just to be able to talk to someone from “home.”
Anyway, Friday morning we left and made our first stop in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest urban green space. Here we saw the Papal Cross and Aras an Uachtarain (the home of Ireland’s President). We also stopped at Clonmacnoise and then headed to Galway for the night. Galway was a beautiful city and home to where the Claddaugh rings originated. Of course I had to get myself one as a souvenir (You'll see in the picture that it consists of hands, a heart, and a crown. The hands stand for friendship, the heart for love, and the crown for loyalty. If the bottom of the heart is pointed towards your hand/wrist, it means you are taken, if pointed out, toward your fingers, you are "free."). Everyone from the tour met up at a pub that night for supper and some drinks then we danced the night away upstairs to a U2 tribute band. It was a really fun night!
Saturday was filled with absolute beauty as we drove most of the way alongside the Atlantic Ocean! We drove through and walked around the Burren – the only place on earth where Alpine, Arctic and Mediterranean flowers grow side by side! It was also a day of history as our tour guide told us all about the devastating effects of the Potato Famine of 1845-1849. Then we went to the most beautiful place I have ever seen – the Cliffs of Moher! It was a beautiful day and I took lots of pictures, but even so, pictures give no justice to this place. It was just soo magical and amazing. We made a few more small stops that day then headed to Killarney for the night where we enjoyed another traditional Irish pub.
Sunday morning before we left we went for a horse and carriage ride to Killarney’s National Park. It was so beautiful –riding up front, sun was shining, chilly morning breeze but covered in a blanket, seeing a castle alongside a lake and the mountains! So awesome! The rest of the day we headed back towards Dublin, making a long stop at Blarney Castle. It was such a neat castle and then I was able to kiss the Blarney stone at the top—dangling off of a 300 foot ledge being held by a middle-aged Irishman asking me how well I kissed in the morning! It is believed that kissing the stone would give one the gift of eloquent speech and the gift of gab—I’m not sure if it’s taken effect on me yet…haha! Our last stop before Dublin was at the Rock of Castle Dunamase which is found in the “Golden Vale,” Ireland’s finest agricultural land.
That night we stayed in a hostel with the two girls from Minnesota and Wisconsin and went out to eat and listen to some awesome live music before we had to head our separate ways Monday morning. The Paddywagon tour was an awesome experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to go to Ireland! It was such a great way to meet people too—we plan on keeping in touch with these girls and maybe meeting back up again when we get home this summer!
Overall, Ireland was AMAZING! It was great to get out of Poland for a little while and have some nice weather! We came back to beautiful weather here! It was soo nice, especially considering there was snow on the ground last week when we left! We went to the Rynek and it looked totally different since we left! Once the weather gets nice like this all the restaurants get tables and chairs outside and tons of little shops were being set up, it was exciting! I guess now pretty soon they have events going on there every night, all night! I’m really looking forward to the nice weather, everything getting green, and experience the Polish culture!
I took hundreds of pictures this week in Ireland, so it might take me a little while to get them up, but I’ll try my best to do it soon! I promise I will try and update my blog more often as well!
May the sun shine and crops get planted soon! Spring is here!!
Love you all,