Ireland Day 2 (Saturday).

Saturday I woke up (on an air mattress on the living room floor) to Kristine and Jon leaving to go get some food for breakfast.  Shortly thereafter they returned and Kristine prepared an amazing breakfast of gourmet scrambled eggs, toast, scones, etc.  Technically the scones were what we would call a biscuit, but whatever I like biscuits and they were delicious!

After we all ate breakfast and got ready, we walked over to the DART station and seeing that the next train wasn’t coming for 30 minutes, we walked down to the marina for a bit.  It was virtually cloudless and sunny… the marina looked even more pretty than the day before and oddly for a moment I felt like I was in a beach town in California.  Pshh… Ireland is way more beautiful than California!

When we made it down to Dublin, we got off at the Tara Street stop and walked all the way up to the Guinness Storehouse.  Alexander and I realized that the day before we hadn’t realized the Tara Stop was right there, and we had walked all the way back to the Connolly station.  Oh well, the walk was good for us (actually, our feet were killing us by the time we made it back to the train… we walked soo much on Friday!).  Anyway, the walk to the factory was nice.  We saw Christ Church Cathedral which is BEAUTIFUL, Temple Bar (which is a popular touristy area of bars and pubs in Dublin), the gate to the “Dublin Castle” (which apparently is not really a castle) and many other cool buildings.  When we got to the Storehouse, there was this old man standing outside with a very old looking horse pulling an old looking trailer.  It looked like a perfect photo op, which apparently the old man was fully aware of because before he would let us take a picture he wanted 2 euros and to know our opinion of President Bush.  I saved my 2 euros and walked on by.

The Storehouse is very cool inside.  I do not find beer remotely appealing, but Guinness is a pretty big deal in Ireland and the UK and it was interesting to learn more about how beer was made.  Also, the guy who started the Guinness factory back in the 1700s signed a 9,000 year lease on the spot for 45 pounds per month.  Now, in the 1700s that was probably pretty spendy… but I wonder if they still only have to pay 45 pounds per month for that land today? That would be amazing!  At the very top of the Storehouse there is a place called “The Gravity Bar” which is a big glass room that has a 360 view of Dublin from several stories up.  They also give you a free pint of Guinness, and I was pretty much the only person in sight who was holding a coke instead!  I haven’t mentioned this yet, but everyone in the group but Kristine was very tall.  Jamie was 5’11, Oliver was at least 6’2, I’m around 6’4, Alexander is around 6’5 or 6’6, and Jon is about 6’7.  So we got quite a few stares anyway wherever we went, but at one point I stood on a bar that made me a little taller than Jon, and a woman walked by and she looked up at Jon and then looked up at me and got this startled look on her face.  It was so funny!  I liked standing on the bar because it took pressure off certain parts of my feet, but a worker quickly came by and told me I wasn’t allowed to do that and needed to step down. Boo.

After that, we headed back toward the train station but stopped at a place in Temple Bar for what turned out to be a very late lunch/early dinner (it was around 4:30 or 5 by then).  We also stopped for Ice Cream at a Hagen Daz which was a lot cheaper than it was in Paris… phew!  We went back to the flat to relax for awhile and when people woke up from naps, Kristine brought out a chocolate cake lit with 20+ candles (for Ollie’s 28th Birthday) and we all sang happy birthday and ate cake and ice cream for dinner 🙂  Then we watched X Factor because it happened to be on (a british singing reality show a lot like American Idol), and then we all headed back out to Dublin for a night on the town… but my favorite part was at the end when we went to a bagel shop while we were waiting for taxis back to Malahide.  I haven’t had a bagel since I left the states, and it was DELICIOUS!!!

For pictures from Ireland Days 1 & 2 click here and here.

The Land of Ire–Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Sorry I haven’t updated in several days—I’ve been in Ireland and Northern Ireland since Thursday night.  It has been AMAZING!  Full updates (and amazing pictures!) will come later, but by way of a short summary… Alexander and I have been staying with his friends Kristine and John in Malahide, a village right on the ocean and a little north-east of Dublin.  Kristine and John had another couple visiting at the same time (Oliver and Jamie- London natives!), and we’ve all had a great time together hanging out and discovering Malahide and Dublin.  Then, yesterday Alexander and I rented a car, and drove up through Belfast (in Northern Ireland) and around the Coastal Causeway (a road that goes all along the ocean on the North-east coast line of Northern Ireland—AMAZING!) up to the Giants of Causeway (“the eighth wonder of the world”) and then cut back down all the way to Malahide.  It was unbelievable beautiful.  Poor Alexander had to drive the entire time because I’m still not old enough to rent a car, but even he couldn’t stop commenting on how beautiful it was as he did his best to keep his eyes on the road.  We both think it’s probably the coolest thing we’ve ever done (although next time, we’ll actually bring a map, and leave earlier so we’re not driving through the middle of a random country without a map in the dark on the way home ;)).   

 

Anyway, much more to come later—including how we crossed a shaky rope bridge between two cliffs! Amazing!