I know this is a little late, and is going to seem a bit strange amidst all of these Korean posts, but I really want to show off the rest of my trip in Ireland. I’m sorry if I miss anything! I had a wonderfully witty post written on the plane to Korea, but when I landed and went to refresh it, the whole thing disappeared ㅠㅠ
My whole time in Ireland was really wonderful. The people were really nice where ever we went, though our accents were often mistaken for American and no one knew where Saskatchewan is (I think I’m going to come up with a fake province to start telling people where I come from). I also got my far share of shock-and-horror eyes from tiny children…as to why? I’m not really sure, but it may have had something to do with the fuschia and deep red lipsticks I wore around.
I had a really good time visiting Steven (Gasp! Did I just give away S.’s secret identity? Noooooo!), and we saw so much in the two short weeks I was there. Our first jaunt out of Limerick was to go off to Cork. We also made a little side trip that day to go to Blarney Castle. If you’re planning a trip there, don’t believe what the ‘estimated time’ calculators say. It does not take an hour and a half to get from Cork to Blarney. It’s maybe a twenty minute bus ride once you’re in Cork and you can buy the tickets from the large bus terminal.
We stayed mainly situated in the shopping center in Cork. All I can say is that that my two favourite things about Cork was how cheap and cute things were from Pennys, and how many and cheap Haribo candies are here!!!! After my short trip to Germany in 2011, I came home with a fondness of Haribo gummies and Milka chocolate. Neither are very common in Saskatchewan, so the very common site of both made my heart a flutter. I totally did not pack away three packages of both into my carry on… definitely not…. ^^ We walked through the English Market and had pretty good bratwurst for lunch. We both made a purchase in a vintage shop off of the market. I got a really wonderfully coloured scarf and Steven got a tie.
Blarney Castle best known feature is The Blarney Stone. It’s set up high in a castle that you have to climb precarious tight winding stairs to reach. You pay €2 to lay down on your back and have them lower you down to kiss it. Now, I don’t have a problem with heights if I can’t fall off of it. Planes and tall buildings = a-okay. Rickidy rope bridges and cliff sides = not. This was a bit of mixed feeling act for me. On one had I was fairly confident that there had to be some sever building conditions that were in place that they had to keep maintained to keep the castle opened…on the other, the only thing keeping me from slipping through the grating was the hands of a gentleman who had been sitting up there all day and certainly didn’t look pleased to be roused from his rest. Happily though, I kissed the stone and made it out alive. Another bonus of kissing the stone is that I now should have ‘the gift of eloquence’…here’s hoping!!
We actually spent more time walking around the grounds of Blarney Castle than in the castle itself. One reason for this? They had a poison garden. What’s not to love about that? Fun fact, they included tea in their toxic garden. “The cup that cheers but not inebriates.”
On our ride home from Cork we had a bit of a misadventure. We got to the Limerick Junction and found that the next train wasn’t going to be there for another hour and half *sigh* Thankfully, for some strange reason I had lugged around my tablet all day. Finally it had a purpose! I had preloaded episodes of Community on it for my plane ride. We spent the wait watching those episodes. There are worse ways to be delayed ^^
After Cork we toured around a little bit of Limerick. We walked through the University of Limerick, the downtown area, and the Medieval part of the city. I had no idea that Limerick played such a large part in the battles against Britain! It was really nice to see the mix of the old castle walls and other buildings from that time meshed together with modern buildings. Limerick also has a really nice walkway along the river.
My last bit in Ireland was spent in Dublin. Now here is another interesting city that we only touched the tip of. It’s nice city with lots to do. First off, I have never been in such a large hostel room!!! It looked like a wealthy person’s room stripped of it’s fixings. Even the door was huge! They could have easily fit seven people in it instead of just two. Tip to travellers, if you’re ever at the hostel Mount Eccles Court, pay the extra €1.5 per person/night to get the private bathroom!!! It also comes with a kitchenette and an entertaining area ^^
We lucked out on our travel plans for Dublin too. One of Steven’s classes were cancelled so we could leave on one of the morning trains instead of the afternoon. This meant we got in to Dublin around 2pm, giving us the full day to explore! We pretty much spent the whole day walking around seeing nifty things. Steven made the mistake of taking me into this indoor shopping center called Powerscourt where one entire side was vintage jewellery…how I wanted it all!!!
We stopped by a pub in the Temple Bar area called the Auld Dubliner for a little while. I know…me in a pub, right? However, my knee was acting up pretty badly from having to stand on the train the entire hour and half ride from Limerick Junction to Dublin and I was starting to limp pretty bad by 5pm. The pub was pretty cool and they had a live performer called Brian Brody playing, who according to the comments on Youtube, is one of the best pub singers in Dublin. I thought he was fantastic. He sang “Mary Mack” so fast! Check it out:
I would have totally bought a CD if he had any there.
For supper we went to this really nice tapas place called The Port House….which made me utterly nauseous 😦 Not that it wasn’t delicious! It was fantastic food!! I wish I could have taken pictures, but it was too dark. The only problem was that it was a dark lit restaurant filled with candles. And flickering lights lead me to migraines. And one of my precursors to a migraine is nausea. Thankfully after we left the restaurant and I was breathing fresh air again it all went away. Guess ambience isn’t in my future. *sad face*
The next day I stole one of S. shirts because I forgot to pull out another one from my bag (my heavy suitcase was stored away. I wasn’t about to carry it up and down six flights of stairs. So instead of digging through it, I stole one of his. He said it looked like we were doing ‘couple look’ to which I added my glasses and really made us match ^^
On Saturday we went to Trinity College and went to see the Book of Kell’s. They didn’t allow us to take pictures of it, but it was still really neat to see. The exhibition is really well done and informative. I really liked the short videos showing people traditionally binding the books, mixing inks, and doing the calligraphy. I also have no idea how they managed to do the letter work in the book!
They also had a small exhibition in the Long Room about Irish artists and illustrators from 1830-1930. My favourite was Harry Clarke. His work could have been pulled out of any modern gothic manga piece. So detailed and almost eerie.
After Trinity College we went to Merrion Square,where there was a statue of Steven’s favourite poet/playwrite, and my favourite quotist (I’m not overtly fond of poems but even I fall in love with his sarcastic witty quotes pulled from his work). The Oscar Wilde Memorial statue was a wonder. It had a different type of stone for each different part of it. The Wikipedia page states that the materials are granite, green nephrite jade, white nepherite jade, and thulite. Now, I am fine with that descriptions of everything except the granite. Any geo worth their salt should cringe at that definition. Granite is never, nor can it ever be black. More likely than not the dark coloured rocks are actually gabbro (what most black granite is) which, like granite, is plutonic igneous rock. I know all about ‘commercial granite’, but it still bothers me. GAH… Alright, geo rant of the day done.
My favourite thing about travelling is definitely the eating. I love food. Simple as that. And as much as I like trying new foods, I also have to confess, I do love me a well done burger. Both Steven and I agreed that these ones were delicious we would definitely eat there again. To make this message even more validating, Steven hates burgers. He doesn’t like ground beef, he refuses to eat the bun, he doesn’t like toppings, and never wants to go for burgers when I do back at home. And even he admitted that these were awesome.
We went to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (highly highly recommended) and he got the Greek Lamb Burger while I was the first person to order the Bah-Humburger (a new Christmas dish). Thankfully Steven was up for sharing so we both split our burgers in half and switched. At a place like this the sides are all extra. We got an order of the rosemary fries and the panko coated onion rings.
Both were good, but one order would have been enough for both of us. And if you’re going to pick one, go with the fries. They were fantastic!! …Well, I’m sure I’ve talked enough about the burger place, back to the touring!
We also saw this statue of Molly Malone. She’s sort of a icon in Dublin history, but any explanation I even try to give wouldn’t do it justice. I recommend looking her up here. After that we walked into more of the ‘artsy’ area in Cow’s Lane. They had vintage shops and little outside booths down this one strip. My favourite was filled with vintage umbrellas and other wonderfulness. I bought another vintage silk scarf at this one….I’m starting to suspect that I have a scarf problem. Down the block from there we came across this art store called Jam Art Factory which had this awesome print in the window.
One of the last things we did before heading off for supper was see St. Patricks Cathedral. It was really nice from the outside, but it would have cost us €10 to go in, so we decided against it. On the way back to the center of town however we came across a fascinating sight!
As we walked back to the center of town I managed to get this nice shot of the famous Ha’penney Bridge. The water was absurdly still, so it came out rather nice.
We ended up having supper at a nice restaurant recommended by Steven’s friend Susan called The Winding Stair. You literally walked up a set of winding stairs to get in. It was a very nice, albeit a bit crowded, but that only added to the charm. They had a two course meal set for €24 where you got to pick an appetizer and main course called ‘the pre-theatre menu’. I had a phyllo pastry filled with goats cheese and topped with a sweet red pepper relish and Steven had the game pigeon. For the main course I had Irish Potato Locket, which was kind of a potato pancake with blue cheese sauce and spinach. It also came with large portobello mushrooms which I passed on to Steven who had delicious pork ribs. The menu’s description was much fancier than mine, but I can’t pull up their November’s menu. An example of a dish off of their December menu is: David Sexton’s free roaming rolled turkey with chestnut and sausage stuffing, James McGeough’s kassler, roasted spuds, brussels sprouts and cranberry and cinnamon relish. Fancy, no? My ‘gift of eloquence’ must not be working yet, because I would have probably went on to call that ‘turkey with stuffing, brussel sprouts and cinnamon cranberry sauce’ ^^
After that, our trip in Dublin was over. The next day we got on the shuttle and it was off to the airport. I managed to make it through baggage check in without paying the overweight fees again (yay!). But didn’t manage to get a single good picture of me in the airport (boo!). I was really excited to be leaving for Korea, but was a bit sad to leave as well. Ireland was a beautiful country. I would definitely go back some day to see The Ring of Kerry and the Aran Islands. I also wouldn’t be opposed to spending more time in Belfast.
Now…back to Korea!