Tag Archives: Ireland

Ireland Day 6 & 7: Killarney

A lot of our last 2 days in Ireland were spent in the car driving from site to site. We left Cork after one last meal at the English Market for Killarney, detouring around the Ring of Kerry. I’d love to say how beautiful the scenery was and how much we enjoyed it but the weather was unbelievably horrific. Freezing, rainy and incredibly windy. Like 50-55 mph gusts. We stopped a few times to get out and take in the views, snap a few pictures, etc. but we were forced back into the car pretty quickly.

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When coordinating the trip we had initially planned to stay in Galway one night before leaving so we could see the Cliffs of Moher but, then decided to cut out another hotel stay because 4 hotels in 7 days seemed a bit much. We settled on staying in Killarney 2 nights instead. That decision made for a long day in the car on Thursday driving from Killarney to the Cliffs of Moher and back. We knew it would be a long day but figured the Cliffs are the most “iconic” site in Ireland and we’d regret not seeing them. They were amazing but I can’t even describe how windy it was! At one point coming down from the viewing area the winds were so strong I literally couldn’t stop myself from being pushed down the hill and Ulysses had to “catch” me before I fell over. Even though we never got hit with a hurricane when we lived in Florida I think I now know what it feels like! I really wish it had been a nice day out and not so cloudy and foggy because the views were incredible.P1013132

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Besides castles and cliffs, the thing we saw the most of on our trip was COWS (and sheep). When you see thousands, literally, I guess you’re bound to see this too.

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She was not happy. When we came back from the Cliffs she was actually laying down. Smart girl. This was right next to the parking lot.

After the drive back to Killarney we ended the day with some local sites including Ross Castle and the Gap of Dunloe. The latter being an awesome view only 10 minutes outside downtown Killarney. Pictures don’t do it justice. Pictures actually don’t do many of the places we saw justice.

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All the sheep are spray painted either red or blue. Anyone know why?

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We ended our last night appropriately.

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With an Irish coffee.

Ireland stats:

Scones consumed: 8

Cows & sheep seen: thousands

Rainy days: 7

Favorite new saying: “Cheers, thanks a million!”

Favorite beer: Beamish (I found a stout I like!)

Car “incidents”: 2

Workouts/runs: 0

Pounds gained: ?? Don’t want to know Winking smile

Great trip all around but I’m definitely looking forward to this 3 day weekend at home with temps in the 80’s and 90’s!! And eating something other than carbs for a few meals.

Normal running and “kitchening” to resume now. Smile

Have any of you been to Ireland? What was your favorite part? We all couldn’t pick just one.

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Doreen & the Blarney Castle tree

I hope this video comes across as funny to all you as it was to us. I showed some pictures of this tree at Blarney Castle a couple of posts ago but Adrian caught some footage of Doreen trying to get up on the branch for the picture that is too good not to share. In her defense, the branch does look much lower than it actually is (I tried getting up on it before she attempted) but Doreen just wouldn’t give up! This unfortunately is only the last couple of attempts, there were a few we didn’t catch on camera. Listen at the end to the (German?) lady offering to help Doreen because we were all just standing there laughing at her.

What you didn’t see at the end is Doreen slapping Adrian after her response to the woman because he was filming the whole thing instead of helping her. Priceless.

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Ireland Day 3: Cashel & Blarney Stone

Hello from Cork! We’re staying in Cork for 3 nights and unfortunately there is no internet in our hotel (which is kind of sketchy). McDonalds, or as the Irish call it “Mack-Donalds” can always be trusted for some free wi-fi though. Sad world when you’re dependent on McDonalds huh?

We took advantage of the 2+ hour drive from Dublin to Cork to see some of the sights along the way including the Rock of Cashel and Blarney Castle. The Rock of Cashel sits atop a hill and looks gorgeous from afar. Of course the minute we arrived the skies opened up with a rain/windstorm which was seriously of  tropical storm strength. It. was. cold. It only lasted about 25 minutes though and then the skies cleared again. I guess one good thing about those winds is that they move the storm pretty quickly.

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There will not be a single picture this entire trip where my hair isn’t blowing about like a crazy woman.

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The best part about the Rock of Cashel was the view from where it sits. You can barely see it here but, it extends for miles and all you see is green. Green trees, green grass, green farms. Everything is sooo green. We keep joking that the plants here are on steroids. Even though the weather is pretty cold, the rain must do them wonders because they are just massive compared to the same plants in the states.

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Please ignore the hair and ridiculous face but look at that view!

After Cashel, we headed back to the car and on our way to Blarney Castle. Surprisingly, we made it there without getting lost once. A little side note-there are NO street signs in Ireland. We were cheap and thought we didn’t need the GPS we’d make do with our print outs from google maps. Not a good idea. Hardly any street is labeled and if it is, it’s on the side of a building and so small you can’t read it until you’re past it. Combine that with driving on the other side of the road and shifting with your left hand and it makes for an interesting car ride.

We grabbed some lunch at a local pub in Blarney and then headed up to the castle.

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Adrian and Doreen did indeed kiss the stone. It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows Ulysses that he didn’t. I just wasn’t down with it either. The guy that assists you was literally using a tissue to wipe off women’s lipstick on the stone from previous people. No thanks. I think it’s cooler to say “I’ve been to the Blarney stone and not kissed it” anyway. Winking smile

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Adrian kissing the stone. I’d put Doreen’s in but the picture didn’t come out nearly as good and it’s mostly her chest. I think she’d appreciate it not being posted.

The castle and the grounds were absolutely gorgeous. I wish we had more time to walk around but it was already 4pm when we entered so after climbing through the castle there wasn’t much time left to explore the acres and acres of grounds before they closed.

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How cool is that tree?

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We spent today in the city of Cork. We actually had a local tour guide who is the uncle of a friend take us around. He was great! We walked the entire city for 6+ hours and he explained all the history and significance of many of the sights. While it’s fun to explore a city on your own you really do miss a lot of the actual history without someone knowledgeable to explain it all. We had a great time learning all about Cork’s history and following the steps of the Queen who was just here last week through many of the sights. It’s kind of funny to be visiting all these places in between the Queen’s visit and President Obama’s visit. It’s been all over the news here, in fact, we just watched his speech in Dublin take place at the exact site we were 2 days ago. This post is long enough for now though, so I’ll save our day in Cork for the next one.

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Dublin Day 2

After a fish and chips induced 5 hour coma we actually made it back out at 10:30pm last night. The weird part…it was still light outside. I had no idea Ireland was like Alaska and stays light that late. It really messes you up. We also wrongly assumed that Ireland, being a European country and all would be like Spain, France and Italy and serve dinner really late by American standards so we went out for a drink before finding a place to eat only to find out every restaurant was closing for the night. Fail. We had 2 choices, Indian Curry House or Ray’s Pizza. After the fish and chips sitting like rocks in our stomachs we choose the safer option of pizza. It was really good pizza but it didn’t really scream “Irish”.P1012895

Lesson learned, eat earlier.

After pizza we wandered around a bit until we found a bar called Harry’s that was a great time. The bar tender, who was amazing and super nice, is actually moving to NYC to take a job there, small world. He hooked us up throughout the night and suggested some sort of espresso martini for Doreen. Amazing.P1012900

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These pictures are horrible with the flash but it was basically pitch black inside.

We also all had a round of “baby Guinness”. I think they were Kahlua and Baileys. Cute and tasty.

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And that’s the most drinking I’ve done in one night in ages. Not sure if I should be happy & proud or ashamed of that?

We ended the night around 3am, still a little out of it with the time change. It was a late start this morning but I’m hoping sleeping until 11am got us all sorted out with the missed sleep from the day before. We decided to take a day trip to Bray, about 30 minutes by train from Dublin to hike up a mountain and explore the seaside town.

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That mountain behind their heads is what we climbed up.

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Ulysses finally found something with his name on it. We always look for his name on key chains and mugs in souvenir type shops just to see if they ever have it (they don’t) so finding this place which I think was a B&B was funny.

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It was windy. The hair only gets worse from here on out.

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The view facing Bray from the top. It was about a 1.3 mile hike up. Makes me feel better about not having run for 4 days now. Winking smile I actually did bring a Jillian Michael’s workout DVD. I’ll put money on not actually using it though. We’ve been walking so much there’s no way I’m even thinking about extra exercise when we get back to the hotel.

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It was so windy at the top, I think if I jumped off I seriously would’ve been able to fly.

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This picture is probably giving my mom an anxiety attack just looking at it. Pictures don’t really do justice to how high up this was.

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We followed the trail around the top of the mountain a little until heading back down. Apparently they use donkeys or horses on these trails too.

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Yum.

After the hike, we were more than ready for lunch. Ulysses has a knack for picking places that look horrible from the outside but end up being great on the inside and serving amazing food. This was one of them, Porterhouse Brewery. No outside pics because it was cold, windy and we were hungry! The inside was dark, and everything you’d probably think of when you think Irish + pub + good food. We sat next to a fireplace and warmed up with some beers. Doreen and I shared a sampler including a stout of theirs that had won all sorts of awards. It was really good and I’m not even a huge stout fan. It tasted like it had hints of espresso, kahlua,  and licorice. Nothing wrong with that!

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Restaurant lighting here is not conducive to pictures.

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The food was incredibly good. That is a wooden dowel holding the burger together, not a toothpick, to give you an idea of size. I actually had a vegetarian chickpea and vegetable stew that was excellent. I think it was the first taste of vegetables I’ve had in 2 days.

After a sleepy train ride back to Dublin we walked around a little more before heading back to the hotel around 8pm. Just as we literally said how great the weather held up considering it was supposed to rain all day, the skies opened up into a downpour 5 minutes from the hotel. We were drenched. The heat is currently blasting in the hotel room to attempt to dry sneakers and pants.

Tomorrow we leave Dublin headed to Cork. We’re spending the day visiting places in between the two cities including Cashel and Blarney. If we make it out of Dublin without getting lost or driving on the wrong side I’ll call it a win. Smile

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Glimpses of Dublin

We made it. We only drove down the wrong side of the street twice (thankfully at 6am the streets were more or less clear). We drank some Guinness. We ate fish and chips. We’ve been awake 30 hours now. We’re tired.

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Tasted just as bad as it looks.

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Weird.

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Before we got lost. 10 times.

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Much needed.

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Adrian’s “full Irish breakfast”.

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Best scone of my life.

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Chocolate at 9am? Ok.

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Trinity College.

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Sleep deprived.

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Ulysses: “Who’s Oscar Wilde?” Me: “Are you really my husband?”

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Roasted barley.

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My “ROAR” face.

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Still not a huge Guinness fan.

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Tasted like funnel cake with fish. Might be the unhealthiest food I’ve ever eaten.

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