Republic of Ireland

On our way to Galway we stopped at 2 locations. One being the Giants causeway and the other Londonderry.

There was a massive motorcycle race happening in the area which meant that a lot of the roads were closed due to the high speeds of the race (they go up to 260km) and it also explained the motorcycle crash yesterday. The road closures meant we had to drive along the coast which was about an hour longer however it was very scenic.

Once at giants causeway we had to walk down and around a hill to actually get to it. The Causeway is northern Ireland’s only Unesco World heritage sites. The ancients didn’t think it was a natural feature as the rocks are in hexagonal columns and are closely packed together. The best way to describe the giant causeway is to say it’s like a whole heap of stepping stones and other rock formations. After many scientific tests it was confirmed that the causeway is naturally made and they say it was created by a cooling lava flow about 60million years ago which caused cracks in the rocks which then created the causeway. We explored the creations and carefully stepped across all the rocks (they were very slippery), we could definitely see why people would assume it wasn’t made naturally!

 

Our next stop was Londonderry where we learnt that this town was where the rivalry between the Protestant and the Catholic began. We saw the wall which separated both communities, it was the same concept as the one in Belfast except it was made of stone and it wasn’t as high. We also saw a really cool bridge which was curved, sort of in the shape of an S. Londonderry was our lunch stop so we also managed to find an ice cream shop that did some unusual flavours such as daim bar, skittles and peanut butter & jelly.

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Once in Galway we checked into our hotel before heading into town for a walking tour. We had a few issues with our room we walked in and it stunk like smoke! It turns out the wing our room was in was a smokers wing up until a few weeks ago. Luckily they had another room available so we moved rooms. The hotel had a pool, spa, full gym and a bar/restaurant.

It was pouring with rain but we did a bit of a walking tour around the city to see the main sites. We saw the Spanish steps, Latin quarter, the main cathedral and the lynches castle.

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Lynch’s castle
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Spanish Arches
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Galway cathedral

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Traditional beef and Guinness stew in Galway – delicious!
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9:45pm at night in Galway. The sky is still light!

 

The next day in Galway we went to Aran Islands which was a 45min bus ride then a 40min Ferry ride. The islands were beautiful, there was a small main village on the island which was where the main Aran sweater retailers were. The island had a very rural feel, there were lots of green paddocks and stone fences (yes all there fences are stone!). We decided we would hire bikes as we wanted to go to the other side of the island which was an estimated 2-3 hour walk. We planned to go to the cliffs on the island which was supposedly a 30minute bike ride however it took us over an hour as there were a lot of hills! We also went to the wormhole which involved biking off road through some stoney tracks then walking for awhile across rocks. Unfortunately the water levels were to low to see the full effects of the wormhole but it was still good.

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The worm hole

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We made a quick visit to the cliffs of Moher, typical UK weather meant it was raining so we tried our best not to get blown away in the wind!

Killarney: When we arrived in Killarney it wasn’t raining but unfortunately once we left the hotel it was! We walked into town as it was close to our hotel and went for a wander around. We found an ice cream store called Murphys which was a local place that handmade their ice cream. They have been voted one of the best ice cream places in the world so we had to try it! They had a variety of flavours including alcoholic flavours like gin, Irish coffee and baileys which tasted exactly like the alcohol! The gin was a new flavour and the owner was saying that they put a bit to much gin in it so when he had a bowl of it he felt like he couldn’t drive home. I had baileys and chocolate which was the perfect mix.

 

After the ice cream shop we found an outlet mall so we went in and found a Nike outlet shop that was having a sale. Shaun got some compression gear and shorts, I got some trackpants and flexi trainers.

We found a small local pizza place for dinner and headed back to the hotel, we invited a few of the girls from the tour back to our room and I drunk a bottle of Italian wine I got in Italy with them.

Dublin Day 1: Today was an early start, we had breakfast at 6:45am and we were off to Dublin at 7:45am. Our first stop was in Cork to visit the blarney castle which is famous for the ‘kissing the blarney stone’. Both Shaun and I kissed the Blarney Stone and we looked around the castle & gardens before heading to our next stop.

 

Our next stop was a city called cashel which is famous for the rock of cashel. This was a lunch stop, I finally tried baked potatoes (jacket potato) after seeing them everywhere in the UK!

In the evening we had an Irish dinner and show. The show included a band playing/singing traditional Irish songs and traditional dancers from a variety of world renowned dancing groups. Our group all wore green to the show, Shaun and I didn’t really have the right green so we went to an Irish souvenir shop and bought some tshirts. My tshirt said ‘why walk when you can crawl, Ireland’ and Shaun’s shirt was a st Patricks day one. The show went for about 2 hours, the dancers were amazing especially the male dancers who did a bit of a competition against eachother. After the show we went to a bar that did $5 cocktails, the bar was actually a 3 level bar with the bottom being the normal pub, 2nd level was a cocktail bar then 3rd level was the rooftop terrace bar.

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Dublin Day 2: Today started with a walking tour of Dublin, we walked around alot of the main sights and were told a bit of history about them. The sights we saw included the Dublin spire, Christ church cathedral, Bank of Ireland, the Oconnell statue, old Dublin post office, Dublinia, temple bar, penny bridge, the memorial gardens for the Easter uprising, the wall of fame, Trinity College, Dublin Castle and the tree of gold.

 

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After our walking tour we were off to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour and tasting session. The storehouse was a 7 level building with the bar on the top floor which had 360 views of the city. We learnt about how Guinness is made, saw the history of the brand advertising and we even got taught how to pour the perfect pint (with a certificate to prove it). After pouring our own perfect pint we headed to the bar at the top level for amazing views of the city. Anita managed to do the perfect shamrock in her pint.

After our pint we headed into town again to find lunch and check out the shops. We found a pedestrian street that had shops each side and street performers all down it. There were some really talented street performers including several bands and there were some dancers as well. We explored the shops and had our first taste of bubble tea! For those of you who don’t know what bubble tea is it’s basically cold tea with your choice of flavour then they add bubble lollies to it or jellies. We both got fruit ones which were basically watery with fruit flavours and the jelly like lollies at the bottom but you can also get milk ones. It was a very strange concept but Shaun loved it (I think that was because it involved lollies).

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