Monday, March 17, 2014

Dream Vacation - Day 3

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

One of Robert's "must do's" on this trip was to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in Dublin, so early this morning we headed south from Belfast and drove the 2 hours trek back down to Dublin to celebrate.  As we drove down Thomas explained to me the rules of the roads here in Ireland and the UK. I am going to be driving once I'm up in Scotland/England and roundabouts really confused me. But after he explained how to approach them and which lane to be in depends on which exit you are trying to leave at they started to make more sense.

Because it was early morning yesterday when we arrived in Dublin and drove up to Belfast it was still dark and we didn't get to see much of the countryside but on the say down back to Dublin it was much lighter so you could see the beautiful and very green countryside.

We got to Dublin and park at the mother's house of a friend of Thomas'. Once parked we made our way to where the parade was going to pass by. There were a lot of people there already. I grabbed some Euro as I knew I would need the money while in Ireland and I wasn't sure if my visa card would be able to be used since I didn't have a pin.

We walked around the "Promenade" type shopping area for an hour or so. Thomas already had a St. Paddy's Day hat and I wanted to join in the fun so after searching high and low I found the prefect hat.. with attached beard. Robert, who initially wasn't going to get any kind of hat wound up buying an Irish beanie cap.. so all three of us were ready to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

We then headed to the parade route and it was packed.. people lined both sides of the street. We searched for a spot but couldn't find one. After a half hour of trying to see over peoples heads we called it quits and decided to go grab some lunch.

When we first got there we should have claimed our spot but we waited to long, so we couldn't enjoy the parade as planned.

Lunch was amazing, paid about 12 euros and got a ton of yummy (and really bad for you) kind of food. Also got a huge piece of chocolate cake.

After lunch we walked around the city and went sightseeing. There were a few places that I wanted to see while in Dublin. Our first stop was Trinity Collage, there we saw the Book of Kell. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book, created by Celtic monks ca. 800 AD. But my favorite part of Trinity Collage is what they call The Old Library. The Library of Trinity College is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 4.5 million printed volumes and significant quantities of manuscripts (including the Book of Kells), maps and music. It's simply one of the most incredible beautiful libraries that I have seen.

Next we did the Guinness Storehouse brewery tour. I'm not a huge fan of beer but the past few months I've been slowly learning how to appreciate it more. Learning how beer is made was interesting. After the tour there were several stations where you could get samples of various Guinness beers. The first one was a sample of Guinness Stout, this was paired with lox, cream cheese on a piece of bread. I've learned that I'm not a huge fan of dark beers so this was just okay. The second sample was their Foreign Stout and this was paired with a mini Quail Egg. Again it's a dark beer and not a favorite.

We ended our tour up at the Gravity Bar, it's the entire top floor of the Guinness Storehouse with a 360 degree view of Dublin, It was packed with people but it was St Paddy's Day and everyone was in a party mood. Here we got an entire pint of Guinness Draught. This I was looking forward to as it's the freshest you'll ever get of Guinness. And I have to say though it's a dark beer it was very tasty.

After Guinness we headed to the oldest pub in Ireland dating back to 1198 The Brazen Head Pub. The place was packed and so hot that it steamed up my glasses. We didn't stay long.

Next Thomas' wanted to take us to Temple Street. He said it was a very popular area, lots of bars and people. Well I don't know if it was extra busy because of St. Paddy's Day or what but I have never seen anything like it before. It's one stretch of cobble stone road that runs a few blocks and it was packed.. and I mean wall to wall people. It was crazy. We walked/pushed our way through the crowds to get to Temple Bar (the center point of this area). As I mentioned it was packed. There was no way we were going to stop there for a drink. We made our way to the other side of the area. I video taped the entire experience and man drunk people are funny when they are being video tapped. Also I wouldn't have wanted to be a pretty girl in this crowd, we walked behind a young girl and the attention she got, I'm sure she was grabbed multiple times. As I walked behind her I felt like if anything would go to far I'd have to step in to rescue her.

After Temple Street we made our way back to the car and drove south for 45 minutes to the city of Wiklow. This was the closest city to Dublin I could find a hostel with some available beds.

Made it to the hostel fairly easy and unloaded our stuff, we then walked to a local fish and chips place. This is where I had my first official fish and chips (and defiantly not my last).

This would be my first hostel experience. It was a mix room with twelve beds. It was split into six beds per segmented rooms. It had two bathrooms but they were inside the room with us. For the most part this hostel wasn't bad. The beds were  somewhat comfortable and it had a security box that would could use for our valuables. Luckily for me I brought ear plugs as I'm a light sleeper and the other "roommates" were going in an out of the room and bathroom all night.

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