European Adventure 2011 – Ireland

How is it possible that I completely forgot to post about the last stop on our European Adventure!?!

As I have mentioned in my other posts…first we traveled to England, then we took a day trip to Paris, and now finally we ended in Ireland!

So 7 days after we left for Europe we said bye to London and hopped a plane for Ireland. It was an afternoon flight, and when booking it, pretty cheap. Unfortunately even at $35 they add taxes and fees and stuff which makes it close to $100 in the end. Once we arrived in Dublin we decided to take a bus to the hotel. I had assumed it would be pretty easy and not very crowded for the middle of the day. Well our flight was delayed so we didn’t arrive until mid-afternoon which put us on the bus around rush-hour. 7 ladies from the U.S. and their giant suitcases on a bus full of Irish commuters…it was interesting.

We finally got to the hotel about an hour later. We had decided to stay at The Camden Court Hotel. It had really great reviews, but was a little bit away from the bar area. I am a SUPER light sleeper so knowing the bars are open late and very loud I didn’t mind the distance.

The hotel was kind of above a bar and we were starving so we headed downstairs for food. The bar was The Bleeding Horseย and the food was delicious. After lunch we went upstairs and unpacked. A little later we walked up to the Temple Bar area of town to check out the bars and restaurants. We wandered around the stores and stuff until we found a restaurant without a long wait. I really don’t remember where we ate, but I remember all the food being great! After that we went to a few bars in the area to see the Irish bands play.

The next day my friend Kierstin originally wanted to go to Dingle Bay. After trying to figure out logistics like trains and rental cars we realized the distance and time to get there was too crazy so we didn’t go. Supposedly there are dolphins though :(

Instead my mom, sister and myself booked another day trip toย County Wicklow.

Our first stop was Avoca where we toured a castle.

Ireland 2011 - Avoca

You couldn’t take pictures inside, but there was an entire gallery of giant portraits that was awesome.

After the tour we went into town and got lunch. I also had to get beer! I got a Smithwick’s and Cheryl got a Guinness.

Ireland 2011

Next we got on a bus and toured the country in Wicklow. It is known as the “Gardens of Ireland” and even though the weather was crappy it was still gorgeous.

Ireland 2011 - Wicklow

We stopped in Glendalough and the mountains and countryside were breathtaking.

Ireland 2011 - Glendalough

Ireland 2011 - Glendalough

Ireland 2011 - Glendalough

A lot of famous people have houses in the area, which we didn’t see, but it was interesting to learn. The whole country of Ireland is just so pristine and beautiful.

After the tour we went downstairs to the bar at the hotel to meet up with everyone and get some drinks. Guinness for everyone!

Ireland 2011

The next day when we woke up it was POURING out, but we didn’t let that stop us! We got tickets for a tour bus (and sat inside) and learned about Dublin. The tour bus went to a few of the places we wanted to visit. It was easier than taxis or walking in the rain.

Ireland 2011

Our first stop was the Guinness Storehouse!

Ireland 2011 - Guinness

We walked through the self-guided tour. It wasn’t really a great brewery tour. Probably because it is so popular it’s hard to have actual tours. Also everyone really only goes for the free Guinness at the end. You have to travel up to the top of the brewery and the day we went it was packed.

Ireland 2011 - Guinness

We still got our free (room temperature) Guinness, but there was no clover in it :(

Ireland 2011 - Guinness

We all had a great time with our free beer!

Ireland 2011 - Guinness

After Guinness we split up. Some people (like my mom, Kierstin and myself) wanted to go to the Jameson Distillery. Everyone else went to the Kilmainham Gaol (jail).

Ireland 2011 - Kilmainham Gaol

At Jameson we got there just in time for some of the final tours of the day. We got our tickets then waited for the tour to start. While we were waiting we had some drinks. I had an Irish Coffee and Kier and my mom had hot Whiskey something or other. They both loved it.

Ireland 2011 - Jameson

I was pretty excited about the tour. I have been to a lot of breweries in my day, but never a distillery! The tour was cool and very informative. We learned a lot about the different flavors and colors. At the end we had a tasting session. Kier was chosen as one of the 3 participants and she even got a certificate for her knowledge.

Ireland 2011 - Jameson

That night we all met back up for dinner and then headed out for a little bit on our last night there.

Ireland 2011

Our flight was very early the next morning. We got to the airport around 5:00am, but when we got there they said we might miss our flight. Unbeknownst to us we had to go through U.S. Customs IN Ireland. We were supposed to be there even earlier for our flight (2 hours wasn’t enough) so we raced through the airport. We got through security then had to go through security/customs again.

Finally we were able to grab some food before we had to board our flight (an hour early) and show our passports again. It was crazy, but luckily we made it. Weird thing was that everyone else going to Philly didn’t have to do it. Must have been a New York area thing?

All in all the entire 10 day trip was beyond compare and will be an amazing memory for years to come. I was glad I was able to go with Cheryl and my mom, but also share the experience with some of my best friends.

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