Halcyon Repose

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 d├ęcor 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.

1 comment for this entry:
  1. Mandy

    Thanks for the updates!! Glad you got to see “cute girls”. Sigh.

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