I asked Jake if there was one place he wanted to go before we moved back home where would it be and he said Ireland. So we decided to look into going after our trip back home in April. We bought tickets about 2 days before we flew home in April and thought we would plan the rest of the trip once we were back in Stockholm. We had 6 days between our trip to the states and our Ireland trip. You could say we did some quick planning but everything worked out and we had a great time in Ireland.
We flew out on Thursday, May 8th at 8:35 am. We decided to pack in backpacks again but we also brought a duffle bag since we knew we would have a car and it would be easy to just throw that in the trunk. We flew to Oslo and then to Dublin. We arrived in Dublin at 12:15 and picked up our rental car from Budget. Renting a car was a little stressful because we couldn't decide if we wanted to add on extra coverage to the car. We decided to add it just to be safe and I am glad we did. The roads in Ireland are narrow and I would have been so much more stressed out had we not had that extra coverage. The car was a manual, automatics are a lot more expensive, which was great because we both used to drive sticks and I've actually missed driving a stick. The only problem was that they drive on the left side of the road which also means the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car. It took a little getting used to but it wasn't too bad. I'm also really thankful we got one of the smallest rental cars because like I said the roads are narrow!
At the end of the tour we saw the Book of Kells, which is a 1200 year old illuminated (illustrated) manuscript of the gospels. The Old Library was beautiful but the books were organized in an interesting way. They weren't in alphabetical order and they didn't use the Dewey Decimal System either. They were arranged by size. The biggest books were on the bottom shelves and the books got smaller as they reached the ceiling. Our tour guide said it made it nearly impossible to find a book. You had to know the dimensions in order to know where to start looking. (I thought of you, Becky Henderson, when I heard about that.)
Jake found a neat dinner and folktale night at a place called the Brazen Head. We went there for dinner at 7:00. As we were driving around downtown Dublin trying to figure out where to park, and still trying to make sure I was driving in the correct lane, I stopped and pulled over on a street. Then I pulled back into the street only to stop again. I noticed a taxi behind me and I just hoped he would drive around me since we still didn't know where to go. He pulled around me but then stopped by my car and rolled down his window. I was sure he was going to yell at me but I rolled down my window anyway and he said "Are ya lost? Where ya goin'?" I couldn't believe it. We told him we were trying to park and that we were going to the Brazen Head. He told me to make a couple of left hand turns and park on the street I was on because there was free parking after 7:00. We were both shocked and thankful for how kind he was. He even had a customer in the back seat of his car. So we made a few left turns and parked on that street.
The night was pretty good. The speaker was a little dry especially compared to our college tour guide but the information was good and he was funny. We learned about the potato famine, fairies and heard a few stories. Jake and I both had stew with lamb for dinner. We sat next to some people who lived in Dublin which was a nice treat since I thought dinner would be for mostly tourists.
We stayed the night about 30 minutes outside of Dublin because the next day we were driving quite a ways and we wanted a head start. We've been using the website booking.com to find hotels and it has been great so far. We stayed at the Glenview Hotel and Leisure Club. We got there pretty late so we couldn't see the mountains when we arrived but the next morning they were beautiful.
Our first stop of the day was Glendalough which is in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Jake was the first to drive which was good because the roads were narrow! For part of our drive there wasn't even a center line because there wasn't enough room for two cars to pass each other but thankfully there wasn't much traffic on the road.
|It was a little bit windy but so beautiful!|
We drove from Kilkenny to the Blarney Castle. We didn't have as much time at the castle as we would have liked but we made it in enough time to see it before it closed. The park was beautiful and practically empty. I'm guessing during summer this place is really busy.
Remember when we went to London and I couldn't stop taking picture of the Tower Bridge? Well that was Jake with the Blarney Castle. He just loved it!
We headed to the main street in Killarney to grab some food. We ate dinner at Macs and it was great! I had Irish Cottage Pie and oh my goodness, it was awesome! After I ordered I realized I wasn't that hungry but once I took a bite I was so thankful I ordered it. It was comfort in a bowl! Macs also had homemade ice cream which was supposed to be really good. I tried cookies galore and mint chocolate chip. The cookies galore was amazing!
After dinner we went to an Irish pub to listen to some music.
We had a great first two days in Ireland. Click here to read about our last two days in Ireland and here to read the questions and answers on our trip to Ireland.