Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Ireland - August 2006

It was so windy here my hair looks like a mushroom top!

Headed to Ireland with Kyla for 5 days before she took off on her tour around Europe. Had a lovely time and the weather was so nice! We really lucked out with this trip.  We were limited for time and wanted to see as much as we could so we decided to rent a car to give ourselves more flexibility, especially after Mull where we had trouble getting places using public transport. Was weird driving on the left side of the road, and a manual too! But I just took my time and we got through the trip with no major incidents :)  Shifting was ok as long as I was concentrating on what I was doing, definitely wasn’t automatic like it is back at home, but I wouldn’t say it was difficult either. I think the hardest thing about driving on the other side of the road was staying in my lane. It was weird being on the other side of the car, felt like Tony should’ve been driving. Took me a little while to adjust to keeping the car in my lane, as I kept veering too far to the left as I am used to being on the left side not the right side of the lane. Tony was good at keeping me in check though :)  hehehe  Only had a few Canadian moments where I found myself turning onto the wrong side of the road, into where oncoming traffic would’ve been. Luckily there was no traffic any of the times that happened and I was able to correct our position before running into a car :P


We arrived in Ireland and as we stepped off the plane at like 3pm we found everyone was drinking in the airport already as they waited for their flights in the waiting areas. Hahahah, so they were right, Ireland is worse than Scotland for their drinking! Haha  Spent that first day in Dublin and walked around city center. Everyone in Ireland wears green! It was great. Later we went to the Guinness Storehouse. I have to say I don’t like beer at all but I was glad Kyla and Tony convinced me to go cause the self-guided tour was really good. It was interesting and you worked you way up the factory, able to taste-test Guinness, and then ended up on top of the building in a bar with a nice view of Dublin and were given a complimentary pint of Guinness each! Nice. Actually tasted not too bad, for beer that is… apparently the Guinness in Dublin is supposed to taste better than in Canada.


Next morning we stopped off in Phoenix Park, which is the largest city park in Europe, covering 1760 acres. The park is mostly open grassland but also has the Dublin zoo in it. We peered into the zoo from the outside while the guards looked at us suspiciously. We saw chimps!!!! Including a baby one!!! Was so excited about that, Tony and Kyla had to drag me away as I looked over my shoulder :P  The habitat looked nice too… similar to the one we visited in Bristol. They were on what looked like an island and the area was huge, they had trees and a tree fort and bushes….  Looked very nice, as far as a zoo goes.  As we were driving out of the park and trying to find the road that would connect us to the motorway we saw a field full of deer, there were so many!!! Had to stop of course and take a look at them. Drove that day south along the coast to Cork. The coast was beautiful, blue water, white sandy beaches, green hills…what more could you ask for!


The next day we drove North West around the Ring of Kerry and Killarney National Park. It was a beautiful drive, many nice viewpoints. Stopped in a town along the way that was having a festival there and got to see kids performing, playing Irish music, doing Irish dancing, and singing. They were very talented! Ate lunch on a beach and spotted dolphins jumping and playing in the water. They weren’t super close but you could definitely see their entire bodies coming out of the water and could see their fins and tails. They were fun to watch! Trying to find our hostel just south of Galway we took a turn-off when we saw a small sign on the side of the highway labelled Kinvara, the place near where we were staying. Decided to follow it and ended up on a tiny little gravel/dirt road, only wide enough for 1 car, with trees and bushes on either side. There were signs to begin with so we figured we were on the right track then the signs disappeared and we got very lost. Must have spent a good hour or two in there driving around trying to figure out where we were. Found a map eventually indicating that we were right in the middle of the area and gave us a general idea of where we were supposed to go from here. The area we were in was beautiful though, very nice landscape. As we were getting closer to exiting there were vast limestone rock fields and the mountains were grey too because they were covered in limestone. It was very pretty. Ran into a nice man whose opening line was “I stopped cause I thought you were a friend of mine, but now that you are here you have changed” hahaha  we joked around with him a bit and he told us about the area we were in and told us which roads to follow to get out and get to Kinvara… I don’t think we should’ve followed that highway road sign, it was small for a reason!  Found our hostel eventually, it was in the country, by a beach, and had cows in the backyard. That night ate dinner on a beach while catching the end of the sunset.


Next morning we got up early and went to the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland, which are over 700feet high and 8km long. Then we drove back to Dublin. That night went out to a bar in Temple Bar.


Spent the last week trying to finish essays and Tony’s been catching up with work.


Tony’s sister, Frances, arrived in Glasgow last night and she will be visiting for just over 2 weeks. On Friday we are heading on an 11 day trip around Scotland! More on that later….



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