Tuesday, 26 March 2013

a weekend in the emerald isle

On the morning of 23 February Sophie and I got up at some horrendous hour of the morning to make our way to the airport for a weekend in Ireland.

It was especially strange to me to be going to another country for just one night, with only a small carry on backpack!

Teeny backpack for another country!

We boarded our Ryanair flight, which was surprisingly empty, and in about an hour we were in Ireland where I was one of only two people who had to go through the non EU immigration line and get another stamp in my passport. I'll be very sad in 6 months time when I need to get a new passport and have to give up this one because I just want to keep filling it. I'm up to 7 visas, and I haven't even counted the stamps!

We took the Aircoach into Dublin and checked into Abigail's Hostel all before 10.30am, which meant they let us join in for the free breakfast even though we were only staying the one night. This included cereal, toast, boiled eggs, yoghurt and fruit, which we fully loaded up on in true backpacker style!

After that we took to the streets of Dublin. We went to Trinity College, and I saw the Book of Kells, which you can read more about here. We then looked around some shops (Forever 21! Where I found the elusive shoes I have been looking for for my sisters wedding in Kansas in July!) and had afternoon tea at the famous Bewley's Grafton Street Cafe.

Inside Trinity College

Sneaky picture in the library

Trinity College Grounds

We spent the afternoon and early evening exploring  the Guinness Storehouse, which I would say is one of the most well designed attractions I have ever been to. Highly recommended! Especially the "Pour a perfect pint" class and included Guinness which we drank as the "sun" went down over Dublin.

Guinness Storehouse

Learning to pour the perfect pint

Certified Perfect Pint Pourers

Finished my first pint ever of Guinness

That night we met up with John, a friend I made while out doing karaoke in Saigon in December. I love when you can meet people again that you met travelling! We also met up with one of Sophie's old workmates from New Zealand, who is actually from Canada but now lives in Dublin. I am constantly reminded of what a small world this is if you just move around a little.

Girly cocktails time!

The next  day we had decided to hire a car and get out to see the Irish countryside. We really had no idea where we were going but Sophie was an excellent driver and we made it down the coast to Wicklow, where we had a delicious lunch and  then headed inland to Glendalough.

The coast of Wicklow with old castle ruins in the background

Had to have some fun running around the coast

Sophie with part of the Castle Ruins

Delicious lunch at The Coffee Shop in Wicklow

Driving up in the Wicklow hils

We stopped to see the snow...I naturally nearly fell over trying to climb!

At Glendalough there is an Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century. Part of it is now in ruins. It is also near two naturally formed lakes known as the lower and upper lake. 

Part of the old Monastry

Me at the Lower Lake

The Upper Lake

Had a bit of a snow fight...

Irish countryside under snow

We made it back to the airport in plenty of time to catch our night flight and we were back home in Edinburgh by around 11. Ireland is definitely an awesome weekend away and we fully intend to go back again and see some more of the country. A highly successful first trip out of the UK! Many more to come...

Tired child at the end of the weekend

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