Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Thursday 5/10:
Our plane flew out from the Malaga airport which is two hours from Granada and it was schedule to leave at 2:30pm.  However, once on the flight we did not leave for almost an hour, and although the flight was only a duration of a little less than 3 hours or so, it was very simply the worst flight I have ever been on.  It was a classic scene of being surrounded by screaming children and idiotic people that did not know how to follow instructions. Once in the air the children (yes plural) did not cease to screech and cry and crawled all over the aisles and the seats around us.  One of the older kids even started yelling/singing Justin Bieber songs half way through the flight.  Dreadful.  But three or so hours later we arrived in Dublin to happy Irish faces and gray skies over the ever so green grounds.  We walked until we found our hostel, with a little help, two different strangers literally stopped working and asked us if we needed help.  One of them even insisted on calling his friends and asking them for directions for us.  Although the directions were a little off, we managed to find our way and settled in for the night.  It had only just started to rain a little bit and we headed to the nearest pub two minutes away called "The Bloody Horse" that was recommended by some random bystanders.  It was great pub with Guinness taps in the center of most of the tables and very friendly waitstaff.  We ordered one of the daily specials which was some kind of mince meat pie with the usual potatoes and vegetables that come standard with all Irish food.

Friday 5/11:
The sun comes up incredible early in Ireland, or I suppose at a normal time, whereas the sun in Spain does not rise until almost 8am.  We were up and ready fairly early with no where in particular to be until 11am so we did groceries (pbj sandwiches per usual) and bought some scones as a snack for our tour later.  We wandered around getting a feel for the streets and good pubs to go do and places to see later on and stayed at  a little cafe called The Queen of Tarts for some juice or coffee until it was time for our tour.  Our free walking tour was a 3 hour tour guided by a very enthusiastic Dubliner, who had just recently finished her Master's in history. She was very fun and knowledgeable and led us around to all of the important places in Dublin (ie: Trinity College, Christchurch Cathedral, Parliament, City Hall, Old towers and Castles, St. Stephen's Green, etc.)  It was a great tour and the weather had been holding out so nicely, sun shining only a few sprinkling showers every once and a while until the end of our tour when it started hailing.  The hail quickly turned into rain and we walked out in it until it slowed to a stop and we made our way to the Guinness Storehouse.  It is said to be the most visited building in Dublin, which tells you a little something about the culture, or what the tourists think of the culture anyways.  I personally hate beer, because I think it tastes awful, but as our tour guide says "when in Dublin".  It was actually pretty interesting to see how they made the Guinness and how it started out and the tour came with a free pint that you could receive in any of the various bars in the storehouse.  We chose the "learn how to pour the perfect pint" route and were given an instructor, a glass and a Guinness tap. Our instructor was very friendly and explained all 6 steps of pouring the perfect Guinness, it takes exactly 119.5 seconds to create your Guinness. I even got a certificate of the Academy of Guinness saying that I passed!  I felt a little shameful leaving almost an entire pint full on the table when we left, but hey I tried it and that's all they can ask of me.  For dinner we went to the oldest pub in Dublin called "The Brazen Head" and I ordered stuffed chicken breast wrapped in bacon with the usual vegetable delights! Early night for us again because we would be leaving very early the next morning.

Saturday 5/12:
We met our tour group at 6:40am in downtown to catch our bus and guide to the Cliffs of Moher for the day.  It was a long ride but I brought my book and finished it before we made it back and the countryside itself was a sight for sore eyes so I didn't mind.  We stopped in Limerick to look across the River Shannon (yay!!) and at King John's Castle.  It was a short stop and we continued on until we stopped again briefly at Bunratty Castle for some pictures and a short history.  We kept driving until we finally reached the cliffs and spent almost two hours there walking around and taking in all there was to see.  The cliffs themselves split into two sides one with a lookout tower (O'briens Tower) and the other side being much longer and the more picturesque of the two.  There were sea birds everywhere because it was a protected habitat and cows lazily grazing in the sunshine nearby.  Everything was green, aside from the water which was a frothy blue when the wind and tides willed it to crash into the cliff sides. We also explored a small exhibit that talked about the cliffs and the wildlife and then headed out to a small town called Doolin for lunch.  We stopped at a carvery and were given the assortment of Irish vegetables, potatoes and your choice of meat.  It was delicious and because we didn't know the next time we would be eating again we wolfed down the entire meal as if we had never seen food before.  On our way back we drove into the middle of nowhere where there was nothing but green until we found this little ruined Abbey.  I know the cliff's where breathtaking but there was something so nice about this little broken down stone building that I think it might have been my favorite stop of the day.  It was still sunny and everything was grassy or covered in moss.  It had looked like it had been abandoned and untouched for years except for the neatly set flowers on some of the worn stone graves. Next we stopped at a small fishing town called Kinvara.  I especially liked this town too because it was so quaint that it didn't even have souvenir shops, only a few craft stores and the little pubs and a grocery store.  There were boats beached in the little harbor and the sea bed was covered in seaweed.  We stopped in at a little grocery store and I couldn't help but buy a Snicker's ice cream bar, and let me tell you that was the most delicious bite of home I could have asked for.  From there we made our way back to Dublin and passed the same countless sheep, cows and fields of green, that we had encountered on our way there.  We made it back around 7pm and searched around for a bar called the Stag's Head.  As instructed, we searched for the little mosaic plaque on the ground and we had passed it the day before but we couldn't remember exactly where.  Finally we spotted it peaking out from a pile of trash bags and made our way down the alley into the pub.  We stopped in for a little while and played some cards until we were hungry enough for dinner and headed out to find a new pub.  Apparently things tend to stop serving food rather early in Dublin though so we had a hard time finding a place to eat.  As a last resort we found a restaurant with an empty table called "The Hairy Lemon" which aside from the name was a popular restaurant bustling with people a good smells.  I ordered the seafood chowder because they said they were famous for it and it was actually quite good.  Exhausted and full, we stumbled back to our hostel and fell straight asleep.

Sunday 5/13:
Again we woke up earlier than expected and got ready for the day.  Today we were up late enough for the hostel's free weekend pancakes though, which sounded more exciting that it actually was because they don't have maple trees in Ireland so there was no syrup and the pancakes were a little off.  I think it was the fault of our makeshift chef, who had also been our previous messy roommate who seemed to have moved right into the hostel, but no matter we ate our breakfast without complaints and headed out.  While we were waiting for the first Trinity College tour we wandered through St. Stephen's Green park and enjoyed the grassy areas, flower gardens and pounds full of ducks, seagulls and swans.  The tour started around 10am and our guide was a student who had just finished his exams.  He was a magnificent speaker and enlightened us about the history and interesting facts about the College.  After our tour we went into the library and looked around in there and of course saw the famous Book of Kells, which is actually a manuscript not a book and did not originate in Kells either. It was full of celtic symbols and beautiful calligraphy as were many of the other books in the museum/library.  Next we headed off to O'neils for lunch because we had heard such good things about it.  We were too early for lunch so we stayed for coffee and played some more card games until we could order.  Since I had yet to do so, I ordered fish and chips which came with the ever so famous "mushy peas" it sounds awful I know, but honestly their great.  Then we wandered around Grafton Street which is a pedestrian only street full of shops and bustling with people and street performers.  We stopped to watch a few performers and did a little gift shopping before we headed over the the Museum of History and Archaeology.  It was a giant museum (and free too!) full of old viking remains, Egyptian, Roman and old Irish exhibits.  It took us a while to go through but we walked around until we were too exhausted to go on and went back to our hostel to rest a while.  We went out again for dinner but because it had started to rain and it was incredibly windy we just went back to the Bloody Horse since it was just so welcoming the first time.  I wasn't very hungry so I ordered a Greek salad that came with a tortilla wrap but our waitress got confused and gave us both Caesar salads, that was fine too and we ate and played cards as usual.   We packed up our things and went to bed early again because our flight left at 7:30am the next morning.

Monday 5/14:
Not sure what was going on the night before, but people in the streets were rowdy and I got less than a couple hours of sleep.  Our flight was delayed again and we took off late, but it didn't matter as much because we're only going back to Granada.  Just barely made our bus from Malaga to Granada and arrived back "home" at around 3pm.

Shannon on the River Shannon :)

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Corcomroe Abbey
Rediscovering Grass <3

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