Happy Friday everyone! I am so excited for this weekend because we're heading to Oregon to celebrate Easter with Cam's family (and it's supposed to be 74 degrees and sunny in Portland tomorrow, woo!) and I'm looking forward to a little getaway. But before we head out, I thought I'd share the first of my photos from Ireland! I realized I took a lot more pictures there than I thought, so I figured I'd break them up into two parts :)
(And in case you missed the first part of our trip, you can catch up here)
Cameron finished his work meeting in England, we headed out to Ireland first thing on Friday morning. We took a train from Warrington through Wales (which looked like a really beautiful country!) to the coast where we caught a ferry to Dublin. I wasn't sure what to expect, but was really impressed to see this giant, multi-level ship! It had a coffee shop, a gift shop, a restaurant, TVs and Wi-fi so I was expecting a smooth two hour ride to Ireland.
Wrong. So wrong. The journey was super rough! The ferry was rocking back and forth like crazy, and I ended up getting really sea sick. Like puking at our table in a sea sick bag sick (sorry if that's TMI, but I seriously throw up at the drop of a hat). It was pretty terrible.
That's me feeling like garbage. Bleh.
After arriving in Dublin, we were pleasantly greeted by sunny weather! We took a cab to our hotel, and our hotel in retrospect was probably a poor choice. We stayed at the Radisson out by the airport...which we didn't realize was like a 30 minute bus ride from the city center. Because we booked our trip so last minute and St. Patrick's Day weekend is such a busy time in Dublin, all the hotels we were finding in the city center were $500+ a night. We booked a spot at the Radisson as a backup, and then were hoping to find something else a little more reasonable downtown. However, time got away from us and we never ended up booking a different hotel so we were stuck out in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't that bad because there was a bus stop 5 minutes from our hotel that ran really regularly to the city center, and we saved a ton of money by staying a little farther out. However, if you're visiting Dublin and it's not crazy St. Patrick's Day prices, I'd recommend staying somewhere downtown.
After dropping our stuff at our hotel and taking the bus to Dublin, we were more than ready for a drink at this point! We ended up stopping in the gorgeous Bank on College Green, right near Trinity College, which is an actually a restored bank that's now a bar. It was decked out for St. Patrick's Day and it was the perfect spot to have our first Guinness in Ireland!
Dublin seemed really busy and there was a tangible energy with the holiday weekend. There were lots of people selling St. Patrick's Day accessories all over town!
We immediately headed to check out Trinity College and the campus was beautiful.
Trinity College is famous for it's huge library that's home to the Book of Kells. We got there too late on Friday to see it then, but made plans to come back Saturday to check it out.
We ended up getting coffee at a really cute cafe on campus that was in the same building as an interesting (to Cam) engineering exhibition. (I on the other hand loved the ghost chairs!) It was the perfect place to refuel and seeing all the students made me miss being in college!
That evening, we spent time exploring more of the city. Dublin is very charming and it was really cool to see everything decorated for St. Patrick's Day!
For dinner on Friday, we headed to the famed Temple Bar area, which is home to not only the Temple Bar but a large number of pubs/bars. We ended up eating at the Auld Dubliner; the downstairs bar area of the pub was packed, but upstairs we were able to snag a table and try some Irish food. I got something called a "coddle" which is actually a very traditional Dublin dish consisting of sausage, potatoes, bacon and onions. Served with Irish soda bread and a Guinness, it was actually pretty tasty!
After dinner, we went to listen to some Irish music next door at another pub called The Oliver St. John Gogarty which was also completely packed. We didn't end up going in Temple Bar, but we had fun walking around as the whole area was bustling with people in town for the holiday weekend!
Saturday morning, it was sunny once again and really felt like spring!
We headed back to the city center with plans to go to the Dublin Castle, however, it ended up being closed so we weren't able to go in and check it out.
However, the Dublin Castle was conveniently located right across the street from the most charming little place called Queen of Tarts. I had heard this place was a "must-try" in Dublin, and we were not disappointed! They had the most incredible selection of delicious baked goods--I was in heaven! I had the Victoria Sponge Cake, which was so light with a delicious raspberry cream filling and a crunchy top, complete with fresh whipped cream!
After sufficiently stuffing ourselves with amazing desserts, we headed over to check out the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral. It has a very long history and its crypt, constructed in 1172, is the oldest surviving structure in Dublin. I loved the floor of the church because it had such interesting, colorful patterns!
Saturday was such great weather, perfect for walking around!
Cam and I got a kick out of these signs they had all over the city, too funny :)
Next on our list of sights to see was Dublin's other medieval cathedral, St. Patrick's Cathedral. This church is Ireland's National Cathedral so there were many statues and memorials of political significance inside in addition to religious symbols.
After getting our fill of cathedrals, we figured it was high-time to head to see another one of Dublin's famous attractions, the Guinness Storehouse. However, it seemed that everyone else in Dublin had the same idea because the lines were outrageous when we got there Saturday afternoon!
There was no way we were waiting in that line (it was wrapped around the entire block!) so we figured we'd come back the next day to Guinness, and decided to go back to Trinity College instead. Even though we had briefly walked through campus the day before, I still couldn't get over how gorgeous it was!
We got in line (albeit a much shorter line than at the Guinness Storehouse!) to see the famous library and the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is an ornately illustrated copy of the four Gospels written in Latin by Celtic monks around the year 800. There is a great exhibit that provides a great deal of history and information about the book before you're actually allowed to go in and see the Book of Kells itself. No photos were allowed in the exhibit or of the Book of Kells itself, but it was definitely neat to see!
However, photos were allowed inside the part of the library known as the Long Room and it was absolutely breathtaking! There were books from floor to ceiling and it totally reminded of the library in Beauty and the Beast.
Such an insane amount of books! The library also contains Ireland's oldest Gaelic harp which dates from 15th century.
Trinity College is definitely a "must-see" if you are ever in Dublin!
We continued the St. Patrick's Day celebrations for the rest of the weekend, but the rest of the photos will have to wait until next week. In the meantime, I hope that you all have a blessed Easter weekend! Xoxo