Monday, July 31, 2017

Ireland - Day Three!

Day three in Ireland could definitely be subtitled, "TRAFFIC!" We slept in, checked out of our hotel, and headed to the Dublin City Centre for some exploring in the city!

This is what most of our day looked like!

We had tickets for a hop on/hop off bus tour, but we had such a hard time finding the office, that we finally decided to just park in a parking garage downtown and start walking! The sights of Dublin were beautiful - like this Christ Church Cathedral!

There were fresh flowers EVERYWHERE in Ireland!

Dublin Castle

We would turn our heads fast (to make sure we weren't about to get trampled!) when we heard the clop-clop sound of the horse carriages coming - those things were fast!

Ireland's oldest pub!

The inside of a random church we walked past!

Temple Bar, which apparently is something Dublin is pretty known for!

Lunch, anyone? (no thanks! I prefer to eat my Tex-Mex in Texas!)

The main thing we (Blu) wanted to see was St. Patrick's Cathedral! He loved it and spent forever in there reading about all the dead people. Exciting stuff.

This is my face while Blu is walking around looking at things...

He keeps me laughing! (and everyone else around us...)

It was pretty though, and Blu loved how the stain glassed windows told stories!

The pulpit - a little different than what we use at New Day!

I did enjoy leaving our Hitchhiker Snail (do you see the packet?!) in the St. Patrick's Cathedral for someone else to find!!

A rock found at St. Patrick's Well (where Jonathan Swift baptized early converts)

When Blu was finally done looking at everything, we headed for lunch! There were tons of sidewalk cafes, so we chose "Bite of Life" and had a delicious lunch!

Homemade Dutch Apple Pie with fresh cream for the win!

Gluten free olive and brie quiche, with quinoa and spinach salad - I was happy!

We had a little time left, so we made our way (through 90 minutes of traffic...) to the little village of Howth. You'd have to google it to see where it is, but it's a little peninsula that juts out of the East coast of Ireland. We headed to "The Summit" to see the view!

It was beautiful, and we got there just before a storm rolled in!

And then it started pouring!! We ran back to the car - it was COLD!

We popped into Gaffney's Inn for a little snack...

And instead I was SOOO excited to finally get my seafood chowder and soda bread meal I'd been looking for!!!

It was so quaint!

Finally, it was time to head to the airport. We missed a turn somewhere, and the 15 minute trip soon turned into us cutting it close to getting there in time to drop off our rental car, get through security, etc. We realized we were downtown again, at 5pm, surrounded by traffic and people. We tried to ask people for help, but it seems most people downtown ride buses and weren't quite sure how to direct us. Blu finally stopped a bus driver, and he gave us great directions. He told us to keep the river on our right, and we'll go into a big tunnel and come out almost straight at the airport. We were doubtful, but we followed his directions, paid $12 to go through the tunnel, drove THREE MILES through the tunnel (it felt like forever!) and finally came out near the airport! We were so relieved and ready to drop off the car and call it a day!

After a quick flight to London and breezing through baggage and our hotel shuttle bus, we are relaxing at the Doubletree Hotel (thank you Delta miles!) and ready to head to bed for our flight to the USA tomorrow! We have had a great, relaxing 3 days together and can't wait to see our babies in Texas!

Ireland - Day Two

We had a blast in Ireland on Day Two! This day could also be captioned, "Finding Food in Ireland!" :)

I got up early (5:45!!!!), and we left the hotel around 8:30am. Well, apparently, nothing in Ireland is open (for breakfast) at 8:30am. See these deserted (adorable!) streets outside our hotel!

We headed on down the road, passed a McDonald's, which I refused, but eventually came to another McDonald's, so I gave in... Blu was HAPPY!

I was not...

And then 10 minutes later, we found this!

The interstates here are huge, with lots of roundabouts. Because we are used to driving on the left side of the road and using roundabouts, we found it to be a VERY easy drive up to Belfast! (Arriving in Northern Ireland = switch from Euro to pound and from km to mph!)

This ball is a Belfast landmark - it was pretty at night on the way out!

We parked in downtown and walked the streets of Belfast. It had a very small town feel, not like a capitol city at all! Here is a Titanic Memorial at City Hall.

Our first stop was St. George's Sunday craft/artisan market! It was inside this building and FILLED with food stands, shops, etc! I got away with looking at every single both and only buying a bag of "Black Velvet" Irish coffee beans for my Mama!

We then headed to the Belfast Tea & Coffee Company for some lunch!

Beef stew for me and a Firebug Panini for Blu!

We checked out a cheap souvenir shop and found some things for our kids!

So picturesque!

We then headed to the Titanic Belfast exhibit. The Titanic was built in Belfast and first launched from there. I know a LOT about the Titanic from reading, but my favorite part was getting to board the SS Nomadic. This was the small boat that tendered passengers from France out to the Titanic, since it was too big to come to port! It was amazing to walk on the boat that Titanic passengers were on!

Here is a pic of the Nomadic taking passengers to the Titanic on April 11, 1912!

First class for me!

So fun :)

Blu LOVES museums, but we are so different! I read EVERY word about passengers, decor, the sinking, etc. Blu read EVERY word about history, construction, the shipyard, etc.! There was also a Shipyard Ride inside the museum that takes you through what it was like to work in shipyard!

The outside of the museum - we spent 2 1/2 hours inside!

The sun doesn't set until almost 10 pm here, so at this point, we decided to drive north another hour to the tip of the Northern Ireland coast to see The Giant's Causeway. It is a World Heritage Site of natural beauty caused by volcanic fissures in the earth and lava coming out - it was beautiful!

The natural hexagonal steps were amazing!!

Blu loved exploring all the rocks! (I sat on a big rock and waited. ;)

Can you find the camel??

It was absolutely gorgeous!

So I didn't really think about wearing my tennis shoes...oops. I was definitely the only one walking the Giant's Causeway in Shoprite sandals! :)

We took the long way home around the scenic coastal route - beautiful!

Around 8:30pm, we realized we were getting hungry and it was getting late. From there, it was absolutely a fiasco to find something to eat! We stopped in every little "village", but there was always some reason we couldn't eat there. (Keep in mind, I wanted an authentic Irish meal of some kind!) Either they had just stopped serving, there were no tables available, they only took cash, they ran out of food, or some other reason was given! We literally walked into at least 7 different restaurants!!! Finally, we started to panic that we wouldn't get anything, and at 9:30 in a little town called Carnlough, someone pointed us here. Not quite the Irish authenticity I was hoping for!!

It did have shrimp in it though, so we pulled along the coast and ate with a view of the beach! (It was freezing so I refused to get out of the car!!)

We ended our night with a gorgeous sunset on the North Channel and drove the rest of the way to our hotel - in the pitch black night, with drizzling rain, and got home at midnight. How's that for adventure??