Halcyon Repose


Ireland, The Journal Part 2

by on Oct.07, 2008, under Life

The end of Day five is when I finally started actually taking notes, if the tense changes from past to present, that is why. At some point I should probably go through and standardize all of them.

Day 4
Monday, September 22nd

We left Belfast, and headed toward Derry. We called ahead and found a B&B with a room available, made the trip into Derry, checked in, and then immediately headed out to the Bushmill’s distillery. It was currently undergoing upgrades and it was not currently distilling, but it was still an interesting tour. From there we headed to the coast to the giants causeway. It was a bit of a walk from the carpark, and my knee was acting up from the beginning, but we finally made it there where Joe and I promptly split up to take pictures. I realized really quickly that I need to read up on tips for photographing landscapes, but I did enjoy snatching pictures of the other people there. After taking some pictures we went looking for the wishing chair, but we were unable to find it thanks to the really, horribly, bad map that they give you when you enter.

We headed back to the car, and drove to the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, but we got there about 20 minutes after it closed. I gave Joe the sadface, and then headed to Dunluce Castle, the larger of the castle ruins along the coast, but it was closed as well. That didn’t stop us from getting some pictures of the castle with the setting sun in the background.

After the drive back to Derry, we arrived at late at 9:30pm, which was to late for most of the restaurants in the city. We found a place called The Diamond which was still open. I had the sausage and champs and Joe got their Irish stew. I kinda got the feeling like the place was the Irish version of Denny’s, even if it was a bit more upscale. My meal only tasted ok, but Joe’s was actually really good. For drinks I had an Abbot ale and a Carling. Both were ok, but nothing to write home about.

We then went to The Metro, where we started into the Harp in earnest. We hit it off with a local couple by the name of Laura and Neil, and we spent the rest of the night drinking with them till late in the evening. It was our heaviest night of drinking by far for the trip. As a note. I suffered a small mishap on the way home, I stumbled off the side walk and twisted my ankle pretty badly, I had to limp back to our room and haul myself up the stairs. I was not a happy camper at all.

Day 5
Tuesday, September 23rd

Got up late after the night of drinking, and went to the Settler’s Inn (the sister B&B to where we were staying) for our breakfast. After yet another full Irish breakfast, we went back to the room so Joe could take a nap before we headed out. As expected, my ankle had stiffened up pretty badly, so I voted to pass on exploring Derry (which I already regret), and instead head on out. I’ll have to visit there again I really did like the town.

We jumped in the car and headed for Galway. Along the way we stopped in Sligo and visited Yeat’s Tavern for lunch, and then we stopped by his grave for some pictures. The graveyard and church were both beautiful and all of the morning’s clouds had blown away by that time.

Afterwards, we continued on to Galway, and once there, we searched for a B&B. We found a small one named the Red Gate House and we took a quick nap before heading to dinner. We walked through the street malls on our way to Quays St, and once there we ate at McDonagh’s of Ireland Seafood Restaurant. The bruchetta was amazing and the spicy seafood pasta out of this world.

Next we headed to the Quays bar on Brenden’s recommendation. It was a large three floor bar with an interesting décor. The bar was filled with a lush red finish and it was just starting to fill up with customers. We had a pint of Smithwicks, and then decided to head on down the street to see what else we could find.

A few blocks away was a hopping pub called Tig Coili, which advertised itself as the home of traditional music. The place was packed and old black and white photographs lined the wall. Joe was done drinking for the night but I continued on regardless. As I finished a pint of Smithwicks, a few performers started playing in the corner. Since one of Joe’s goals was to experience some real Irish music, I got another pint and we stayed and listened for awhile.

After leaving Tig Coili, I wanted to drag Joe to at least one more pub before calling it a night. I was looking for a loud crowded pub and right on the square we came across Fibber Magees. There was live music playing a a number of people outside. It ended up being only moderately crowded and the music was actually karaoke, but there was a cool laser light effect on the ceiling, so I decided to stay, got a Carlsburg, and enjoyed all the cute girls the pub had to offer.

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I has a virus

by on Oct.06, 2008, under Life

Stupid torrent search engines!!

When searching for torrents for the new BBC show No Heroics, I got fooled by one of the advertisements, which I assumed was actually a torrent link, and ended up being a site that carried a pretty nasty virus. Now instead of working on my photos or updating with more of my journal entries, I get to start reformatting my system.

This sucks.

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Ireland, The Journal Part 1

by on Oct.05, 2008, under Life

Thanks to the glory of the iPhone, I was able to keep some notes during the trip. Since I haven’t gotten to the pictures yet, I figured I could at least clean up the notes a bit, and post them here. Here are the first few days from the trip. I didn’t start actually keeping notes till day 4, so all of first few days were the details I could pull up after the fact.

Day 1
Friday September 19th

We arrived in Dublin after a seven hour flight from Chicago early in the morning, and, after retrieving our luggage, we hopped on the bus to get our rental car. While the price for the car rental itself was completely reasonable, they totally killed us on the insurance fees. Even then, we gladly forked out the five Euros a day for a GPS unit. They wanted even more insurance money for another driver, so we decide I would be the only driver for the trip. After spending a few minutes in the parking lot trying to figure out the gps actually worked, we were off.

Driving on the left was easier than I had feared, it was all the little things about being on the right side of the car that I really started to notice. Things like using the same hand to shift and to activate the turn signal, and the rear view mirror being on the left instead of the right. Of course almost right away we missed a turn in a round about, and Cher (our gps, short for Cherise) sent us down a terrifying one lane road to get back on course. Not only are these roads narrow but they have lots of blind turns and people FLY down them. We only had one encounter, which lead to both cars slamming on brakes and the other car being nice enough to pull over enough for us to get by. Once back on course I realized how much better roundabouts are over red lights. Once you get used to them, and you get the rhythm down, you can definitely move through them fairly quickly.

After quick trip we arrived in Trim, home of Trim Castle, where we found parking and went off to search for lunch. Not much was open in the streets, so we ended up eating at the cafe in the hotel across the street from the castle. Joe and I both ordered fish and chips, and after finishing up the meal, we went across the street to the Trim Castle. The ruins were extensive and the informational panels were interesting. We spent some time about the castle shooting pictures, then we were off in search of a place to stay.

The information office gave us a list of B&Bs and after a few tries, we found one with a room available. The owner gave us directions to a place for dinner a few miles away, so we grabbed our cameras and backpacks and set off. After blowing past it (very bad map) we managed to find the place once we turned around to retrace our steps. We had a nice dinner and a pint of Guinness, and on the way back through town we hit three more pubs for some drinks. We killed time drinking till night fall, at which time they lit up the castle, and we got some night shots. After Then we headed back to our room for the night.

Day 2
Saturday September 20th

We got up early and had our first Irish breakfast. It contained an egg, sunny side up, two sausage links, two strips of bacon (which is not served crispy), half a tomato, and what I assume to be blood sausage (black pudding… black with bits of grain throughout). I started it off with some tea, orange juice and raspberry yogurt, and then dug in when the main course arrived. After eating we packed up and headed north.

The driving was much less stressful than the day before. Partially because of the better roads, and partially due to me being more comfortable while driving. We turned on Cher and told her we wanted to go to the Hill of Tara, and away we went.

The day was clear and we got some decent pictures, unfortunately the mounds on the hill are better photographed from afar. We then headed to Nevan where we tried to go to Ryan’s Bar, a recommended place for lunch in Joe’s guide book, but they did not serve lunch on the weekends. They did recommend the another place, so we went across the street to The Gate and grabbed some food there. Joe and I both had a Shepard’s pie, and i had a bit of tea to caffinate myself for the next leg of the journey.

After filling up our stomachs, we headed off to Newgrange. We had some problems finding the place due to a lack of directions in the guidebook, and growing pains with Cher. Once we finally found the site, we discovered that the visitor’s center was across the river and required a 25 minute drive to the nearest crossing and back. By the time we finally found the place we only had enough time to visit one site, so we decided on Newgrange of course.

You can tell a lot of care was taken in the restoration of the site. The mound itself was impressive, and the engineering necessary to build it originally was almost incomprehensible.

From Newgrange it was time to head to Belfast. We called ahead and found a room at the Marine Guesthouse. We arrived just in time for dinner, so after checking in, we were given directions AWAY from the center of town for food, but we did manage to find a nice pizza place, and hit up a few pubs on the way back to the room.

Day 3
Sunday September 21st

Today was our walking tour of Belfast. We got up, had an Irish Breakfast, and then headed out into the Streets. We quickly realized that the city as still asleep since it was Sunday morning, so we went back to the room and did some reading for a few hours.

Around eleven we ventured out again, taking pictures as we walked into the city. Unfortunately the Ulster museum was closed for renovations, so we walked by a number of churches and eventually by the city hall. We stopped by the Crown Liquor Salon for lunch, a tourist trap of immense proportions but the décor make it a must see for all visitors.

We walked around a bit more, and eventually headed toward the Ulster Museum’s botanical garden. My original intent to just shot some shots for my mom, but I started really enjoying taking macro shots of all the flowers.

Next we went to the Queens University to walk around and take some pictures, and then back to the room. After cleaning up we went down the street to a small Indian restaurant, which had some great nan and tikka marsala, and I got a pint bottle of Cobra to start off the night.

We hit up Ye Old Eglatine Inn, and the The Botanical Inn (the Bot), which was totally rocking. We assume that it was due to the Man U game earlier that say (which we forgot about damnit), but there were plenty of cute girls all over the bar, so it was not a total loss. After a few drinks there we headed back for the night.

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by on Sep.29, 2008, under Life

Made it to Dublin today and found a place to stay. We will probably be here the rest of the trip, seeing what the city has to offer.

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Wicklow Mountains

by on Sep.28, 2008, under Life

We arrived in the Glendalough and discovered that apparently this place is as poplular for the locals as the beach is for labor day. After spending a good long time looking for a place to stay, Joe finally found us a brand new bread and breakfast to stay the night in.

We’ll retire early for the night and explore the valley early tomorrow before having a late breakfast in the morning then heading on to Dublin.

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by on Sep.26, 2008, under Life

Joe and I arrived in Cork last night, and today we met up with Alex and traveled around the Ring of Kerry. The coastline was amazing, the mountains breathtaking, and the roads exciting. It was a bit too hazy for my taste, but we still managed to get some good photos

We are currently camped out in a bar, leeching on their free wifi, while Alex keeps telling us what nerds we are.

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Day 2

by on Sep.20, 2008, under Life

Joe and I spent the day visiting the Hills of Tara and Newgrange. Both were amazing, and we both snapped many, many pictures. We did spent one and a half hours looking for the Newgrange visitors center, but we eventually found it in the end.

We arrived in Belfast this evening and we just gotsome dinner. Hopefully we can find some decent pubs tonight.

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The pub is crawling

by on Sep.19, 2008, under Life

Joe and I are currently in Trim, chilling in a few bars, waiting for the sun to set so we can get some pictures of the castle all lit up.

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Doctor Horrible’s

by on Jul.15, 2008, under Life

I would tell everyone to drop everything they are doing to go see this now, but the site is having some issues. That being said, check it out, click the Act I link, and if the site is down, keep trying, it is worth the wait.


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Kenny’s Bday

by on Jul.13, 2008, under Life

We all headed to the beach today to celebrate Kenny’s bday. Poor Kenny had to get there at 10:30am to score us a fire pit, and he got a little toasty for his efforts.

A lot of the images get cut off in the slideshow, head over to the photo page for the full size pics.

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