Hey hey, from the Feltwell Dorms.
It is hard to believe Saturday we will be at the Birmingham Christmas Market, in eight days Patrick will be here, 12 days until Rome, and 22 days I will be crossing the Pond to head “home”. Time flies when you are having fun, ain’t that the truth?
Although, today I became very anxious on the ride to school. Anxious to be with my husband, anxious to find a job, anxious to see if I enjoy the real world.
However, while I am still in make-believe, princess land, let me tell you about Ireland.
Holy mess. Dublin, Ireland stole my heart. I have never been to a more relaxed and laid back while traveling. Which is much appreciate, considering I left my passport at my mentor teacher’s house. You see, her husband and she was leaving for Copenhagen that morning from the Stanstead Airport and offered for us to ride with them so we didn’t have to pay for a taxi. I got out of the car at Stanstead and immediately realized I forgot my purse with my passport. £166 ($275.00) and 2 hours later, I had my passport and was back at the airport, ready to go. Fortunately, we were at the airport very early, so I had time to make it back. So much for saving money with a free ride.
We flew in Saturday morning and immediately started our adventure. We picked up our Dublin passes from the airport office; which I highly recommend. A free bus ride from the airport to the City Centre is included. So, we hoped on the bus and off we went!
Once we got to the City Centre we had an photo op with a leprechaun! Then, we needed nourishment to push us through the day. We stopped at Bewley’s for free coffee and cake thanks to the Dublin Pass. We ordered a few appetizers before our free cake and coffee. Fantastic food and service. My Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake and espresso hot chocolate was tasty.
Next, we headed to Christ Church Cathedral. It has been in Dublin since c. 1030. It is always a treat to go inside Cathedrals.
Walking about a mile over, we scurried to the Guiness Storehouse. Let’s be honest, I have never been a Guiness girl, but when you get a free pint of beer, you take the tour. It was interesting to learn about the barley and hops used in the beer. The Guiness Storehouse in Dublin was where Guiness began. It is a part of Dublin. I learned how to pour the perfect Guiness as well. It’s super hard- only experts can handle it. You have to have your Guiness glass at a perfect 45º. Pull the handle all the way towards you until the beer reaches the top of the gold harp on the Guiness glass. Your beer then needs to sit for a long, excruciating 90 seconds before you can top it off. We ended our tour at the top in the Gravity Bar overlooking Dublin.
We then took a carriage ride back to the City Centre. We found the intersection where we needed to be to meet our ride for the Merry Ploughboy dinner and Irish music show. This was probably one of the best nights I have had in my time abroad. With our Dublin Passes we received two bottles of wine with the purchase of our tickets. We were served bread as soon as we walked in. For starters, I had seafood chowder, then lamb shank with veggies and potatoes, and for dessert we had apple pie with coffee. There were three Irish musicians who sang traditional Irish songs. Although we only knew My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean- “bring back, bring back, bring back my Bonnie to me”, we sang like champs! Erin and I were pulled up by the Irish dancers to practice our rhythm and skill. That was interesting. It was an intimate setting, with only about 50 people at most in the room. The waitresses knew who we were we walked in room. They knew where we were from, where we were staying, and ready to meet our needs. This is a must in Dublin.
We stayed at the Louie Fitzgerald Hotel, a little bit outside of Dublin. We all had our own bed and two showers to share. Pure bliss after sneaking five people in a small London hotel a few weeks back.
Sunday morning we met Hilltop Treks for our EIGHT hour tour of the Wicklow mountains. Gorgeous. Our first stop was at Powerscourt House and Gardens. Totally would take your breath away. It is a gardner’s paradise.
Then, it was time for our horseback riding adventure! Let me tell you, I didn’t realize you needed to skill to ride a horse. I thought we were just going to jump on and go! Nope, we had an hour training class including how to tell your horse “wooooaaahhh” to the correct way to trot along with your horse. My horse’s name was Ned. He had a mohawk, legit. We had an hour to trot and stroll through the Wicklow Mountains by horseback. We were able to see the Bray Sea (I think that is the name). It was picturesque. Many of us agreed we felt like the mishap in It Takes Two with Mary-Kate and Ashley while we were trotting- frightening. After horseback riding we drove all through the Wicklow Mountains. We saw the PS I Love You bridge, scenery from Braveheart and the A&E show, Vikings.
Sunday evening we wanted more music. We went to The Arlington Hotel to check out their show. We got there early and grabbed seats in the pub area that could still view the stage so we didn’t have to pay for the dinner and show (£33). After a beer and fish and chips, we were ready for more Irish song and dance. Fail. It was terribly cheesy. You could tell the actors were performing for their paycheck, not because it is their culture. Thank goodness we didn’t have to pay for anything, but our food.
Monday we woke up bright and early for the Kilmainham Jail. The Kilmainham Jail was one of the first reformed jails in Ireland. By reformed I mean it went from criminals being crammed in one room to silence and seclusion. There was more history than I could stuff into my brain at the jail. Our tour guide truly knew the jail and wasn’t just read facts off a script.
Other places we visited were The Temple Bar, Liffey River, Trinity College, and saw the St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
We ended our trip by roaming the Dublin streets and getting a little lost. Ehh, it was a great trip though!
Oh, and my new favorite song is Wake Me Up by Avicii. I love the jam session in the middle of the song. Check it out.
Hopefully the Mr. will be posting soon! He will have to tell you more about his second article being published in the Journal of Plant Nutrition. As always, I am proud wife.