Ireland: Day 5

It’s our last full day in Ireland! What shall we do? Go back to Dublin and actually explore Dublin, now that we’re pros at driving on the left side!

Clark wanted to go do the Guinness tour so we went and learned all we needed to know about the beer!

DSC02164 DSC02165 #barley

The highlight for me, a non-alcohol drinker was this! The t statistic that we use everyday as a researcher was developed by William Gosset: the chief brewer of Guinness! It took beer to come up with the t stat! The power of beer.

DSC02170

DSC02178Water is important in beer making.

DSC02189 DSC02190They then had us learn how to drink a Guinness properly.

How you ask? With your mouth.

DSC02192DSC02193

The ad section was pretty fun!

DSC02194DSC02200

The last part of the tour ended at the 7th floor, overlooking Dublin. Clark had fresh Guinness and he seemed to enjoy it very much!

DSC02204 DSC02205 DSC02206 DSC02207all gone

We then headed over to city centre to grab a bite and look at old churches and buildings. The weather cleared up and it was a lovely afternoon!

DSC02227 DSC02229 Old.DSC02234 Every corner looked like this. DSC02216“The Queen of Tarts.” I ate an asparagus, mushroom, and parmesan tart which was delicious. It was so delicious I forgot to take a picture. But look how satisfied I am after my lunch!DSC02238 We walked around the beautiful streets of Grafton and the Temple Bar area and then headed to our next castle: Dunboyne Castle in Co. Meath!

Ireland Day 4

We woke up to overcast/slight rain but decided to head 2.5 hours south to Galway. Since we had arrived at 9pm the previous night we didn’t know what our castle actually looked like until we headed out in the morning and saw the front of the castle.

DSC02148DSC02136DSC02135

The castle was decorated with lots of fancy paintings.

So we drove down the Galway and by the time we arrived we were STARVING.

We walked into the first place we saw as soon as we parked – and we were lucky! All of our dishes were delicious. Clark said his salmon (freshly caught that day) was the best salmon.

DSC02083

I had seafood chowder and a smoked salmon salad- yummy!

We then walked around Galway and by this time it was just sprinkling (but very windy). You can’t win with Ireland’s weather!

DSC02097Streets of Galway.

We then decided to hop into a pie shop (“The Pie Maker”) that was marked in our guide book as a must stop.

DSC02088Very cool decorationsDSC02092 Our pie did not get a chance for a photo shoot as we inhaled it within minutes. Her name was Banoffee Pie – and she was so beautiful and delicious in our bellies.

We then walked around and *accidentally* walked into a candy shoppe.

DSC02111While I was panicking over making decisions on which candy to choose, Clark goes up to the counter and says ” strawberry bon bons and strawberry licorice please.” My decision took 10 minutes while his took less than 10 seconds!

DSC02101We searched around for something marked on our guidebook map as “The Spanish Arch.” Little did we know we were walking underneath it! We weren’t very impressed. But I posed eagerly for the photo as this meant we can get back into the warm car and head back to our castle.

We headed back to our castle and ate dinner in the Drawing room there. So apparently, three times per week, there’s a German tourbus that brings a bunch of Germans to this particular castle. There’s a 17year old harpist/penny whistle-player that plays for an hour for the Germans.

DSC02115I learned that he likes German cars. 

How do I know this about the boy, you ask? While we were eating and listening, a German woman came up to me and handed me a laminated info sheet about the boy. I looked at her quizzically and she said ” It is about the boy. But…it is in German.” I said “Ohh… this is not very helpful for me then. Thank you though!” and then she proceeded to hover over my left shoulder and translate the handout, sentence by sentence. If I were the lady, I would have given me the 2 sentence synopsis of that sheet – or actually, just said “OK” and passed the sheet to the German person sitting next to me. Clark and I couldn’t figure out why she insisted on translating it all to me. It was an awkward situation in which I smiled and nodded and added some “Ohhhs” and hoped that she would walk away. I ruminated over this for quite some time and decided she must be his fan and wanted to spread the joy of his music to the ignorant non-German speaking American. After she left, Clark leans in and says “What’s that about?” and all I remembered was ” She said…the harpist likes German cars.”

Clark and I listened and ate our dinner quietly (me: coriander curry, clark: steak) why we listened to this young many play beautiful melodies that made you think you were in a fairytale land.

We then ended our night exploring the castle.

DSC02120

DSC02124Clark saw this room and said “We’re definitely coming here to renew our vows in 5 years.” Umm..Clark…More like 25 years…

 

Ireland: Day 3

We left our lovely castle, Lough Eske castle, to set forth on our next exploration.

DSC01980 It was hecka swank. Clark got super excited that the shower rained from the middle of the ceiling.

We set off to Slieve League Cliffs off of Donegal – the tallest cliffs in all of Europe!

DSC01981These were the types of road signage we had to deal with ( again, like Alice in Wonderland).

But before we got to the cliffs, we stopped by Tee Lin – a super adorable coffee shop/ visitor center run by a sweet family.

DSC01997 “Clark, stand there and look cute.”

So once our mortal bodies were sufficiently satisfied with sustenance (ie we at scones) we headed out to the cliffs – and boy, they were BEAUTIFUL!!!!! It was an incredibly breathtaking moment for us.

DSC02013DSC02007DSC02018

What’s really neat is that as you hike up the mountain, one side is the gorgeous cliffs, and the other side is a beautiful, pastoral, town:

DSC02027 We called this village ” Settlers of Catan.”

DSC02040 This is how strong the wind was. I leaned into the wind and it carried me. It felt so free!

After a day of hiking we went to a fancy (DELICIOUS) French restaurant in Sligo called Montmarte. We had a lovely conversation with the French waiter who was charming and cracking jokes left and right.

DSC02060 Clark ordered a cheese plate and they brought him beautiful artwork!

We finished a beautiful meal (which would have been double the price in the USA) and then headed to Kilronan Castle for the night!

Ireland: Day 2

We woke up at 7am,  hit the snooze button, at 9am, hit the snooze button, and finally ACTUALLY forced ourselves to work against the evils of jetlag exhaustion at 10am.

I’m not going to lie. We’re extremely exhausted. But Belfast awaits! So we hopped into our rental car, said goodbye to Cabra Castle, and journeyed north to Belfast.

or more like, TRIED to and failed.

We have never felt more appreciative of America’s clear road signage. Unless you’re on a highway, there’s no signage in Ireland. It’s like the intersection in Alice in Wonderland. You’ll come to a T intersection and all you will see is ” <—– Rossnowlagh ” and another saying ” —-> Londonderry” but if you haven’t a clue where you are, and aren’t familiar with those two random towns, you were lost before, and you’re even more lost now!’

So after an hour of who knows where we drove through, we decided to go back to Cabra Castle, Clark agreed to “ask for directions.” Which meant Clark used the lobby wifi to load up the directions on his phone….which ended up being EXTREMELY helpful.

So after 15 minutes of heading out of town, I realized I was starving. We went into this cute town, and realized people park however they want to. Again, Alice in Wonderland style.

DSC01933

2 hours later, we successfully arrived in Belfast. It was a very cool European city.

DSC01937 DSC01941 DSC01942Clark was overstimulated at St. George’s Market. So we had to leave. It was pretty chaotic because apparently we came on a Bank Holiday weekend. whatever that meant.

We then went to the Titanic museum and learned SO MUCH about the Titanic and how it was built in Belfast by so many different types of workers. The exhibit ended with a “ride” which was a little weird. We didn’t take a photo because we were too busy trying to figure out what the heck we were standing in line for and whether or not “a ride” meant something different in Ireland. It was like the slowest and most educational version of Peter Pan’s ride at Disneyland – less magic, more riding through the air and learning about how they hand-made rivets on the Titanic.

DSC01957 This is the clock mechanism the Titanic workers used to document their work hours.

DSC01968  The ride was up high to simulate working on the ship building..or something

DSC01969While waiting in line I pulled out the map and realized we still had over 2 hours to drive to get to tonight’s castle. Belfast is on the eastern coast of Ireland. Donegal (location of our castle) is on the west coast of Ireland. There’s no way of getting out of this 2 hour trek!

So, two hours+ later we succesfully got to our second night’s castle, Lough Eske Castle in Donegal. We’ll take pictures in the morning of the castle.

IMG_20150530_221603587  We ate dinner at the hotel bar and was pleasantly surprised when they said there was live music starting at 10pm. COOL! is what we thought.

So it was this duo called Eklipse. We sat right next to them and listend to their music as Clark inhaled his burger and “chips” and I had a yummy Donegal seafood chowder and calamari. And then they started to sing. It was kind of bizarre, sitting here in Ireland, listening to a group sing covers to Adele, Sixpence Nonethericher, Goo goo dolls, Lorde, etc. It was as though I had asked them to sing my karaoke set-list. Overall, I enjoyed it, but Clark had had enough and was ready to leave upon finishing his burger and Donegal blonde beer.

DSC01972Goodnight!

Ireland: Day 1

Wahooo! Clarky and I FINALLY get to travel abroad together! The Irish haven’t a clue what’s to come!

We arrived in Dublin on Friday morning and spent an hour getting lost trying to get into the “City Centre.”

It all started out well, as we left the airport parking lot.

IMG_20150529_154557060 (1)

However, the situation turned grim really fast. For the first time, I saw Clarky panicking how to drive a vehicle- he couldn’t figure out how to put the car in reverse (He did not figure it out until Day 2). As if driving in a the left lane wasnt weird enough, he also chose a manual, where apparently the gears are reversed!?

Finding our way to the center of Dublin was definitely a trying situation for us newlyweds. (but we made it)

We got there and BOY WHAT A CITY it was! Parking was AWFUL…BUT…. the PEOPLE WERE GREAT!!! The Irish are SO SO friendly! I feel like I’ve become BFFs with every store clerk in Dublin.

DSC01842 DSC01841

We first went and had lunch at the Green Hen. Clark had a delicious French beer he’s never heard of and we couldn’t pronounce.

DSC01841

We then went shopping and pretty much lost it when I found a Cath Kidston store! Japanese magazines are always raving about this brand but I’ve never actually seen the store. Everything was so cute- I wanted to buy it all!

DSC01878

I struggled to ONLY purchase this backpack and a super cute watch that makes me happy everytime I look at it.

DSC01876

We finished our time in Dublin with a nice stroll.

DSC01875DSC01870

We then headed over to Bru Na Boinne – built over 5000 years ago during the Stone Age era. It was discovered in 1699 by a guy who was looking for rock. Imagine being the guy who accidentally stumbled upon a massive prehistoric religious burial site!

DSC01900

DSC01906 DSC01905 DSC01881 DSC01887

Oh yeah, and then finally, exhausted, we got to our castle for the evening.

DSC01931 IMG_20150530_100920557 (1) IMG_20150530_101236768 (1)

The castle was guarded by Irish Wolfhounds. These puppies were so  sweet!

 

Ireland: Day 1

Wahooo! Clarky and I FINALLY get to travel abroad together! The Irish haven’t a clue what’s to come!

We arrived in Dublin on Friday morning and spent an hour getting lost trying to get into the “City Centre.”

It all started out well, as we left the airport parking lot.

IMG_20150529_154557060

However, the situation turned grim really fast. For the first time, I saw Clarky panicking how to drive a vehicle- he couldn’t figure out how to put the car in reverse (He did not figure it out until Day 2). As if driving in a the left lane wasnt weird enough, he also chose a manual, where apparently the gears are reversed!?

Finding our way to the center of Dublin was definitely a trying situation for us newlyweds. (but we made it)

We got there and BOY WHAT A CITY it was! Parking was AWFUL…BUT…. the PEOPLE WERE GREAT!!! The Irish are SO SO friendly! I feel like I’ve become BFFs with every store clerk in Dublin.

DSC01842 DSC01841 We first went and had lunch at the Green Hen. Clark had a delicious French beer he’s never heard of and we couldn’t pronounce.

We then went shopping and pretty much lost it when I found a Cath Kidston store! Japanese magazines are always raving about this brand but I’ve never actually seen the store. Everything was so cute- I wanted to buy it all!

DSC01875 DSC01869

DSC01878 DSC01876 I struggled to ONLY purchase this backpack and a super cute watch that makes me happy everytime I look at it.

We then headed over to Bru Na Boinne – built over 5000 years ago during the Stone Age era. It was discovered in 1699 by a guy who was looking for rock. Imagine being the guy who accidentally stumbled upon a massive prehistoric religious burial site!

DSC01881 DSC01893 DSC01895 DSC01904

 

Oh yeah, and then finally, exhausted, we got to our castle for the evening.

DSC01931 IMG_20150530_100920557 IMG_20150530_101236768 The castle was guarded by Irish Wolfhounds. These puppies were so  sweet!