Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our Irish Holiday: Part III

Hello and happy Sunday, ya'll! The rest of last week was jam-packed with the new job and starting up another class. This semester I am only taking one class though, so while that class is going to be difficult, it CAN'T be as bad as taking three classes in one semester... RIGHT?!?! Here's hoping, anyways! 

I think I'm going to try to jam the last three full days into this one post, so bear with me if it gets a little long... 

Day 5: On our fifth morning, we woke up at our little cottage in Glenbeigh, showered up, ate breakfast, and hit the road to head to the Dingle peninsula. Dingle was about 45 minutes from us but we had been told by our bartender in Cork to stop in a little beach town called Inch on the way to break our drive up. The morning started out kind of gloomy and overcast (as most mornings do over there) but luckily for us, the clouds parted and the sun came out for just a little bit right as we got to Inch, making for some pretty views! We spent a little bit of time hanging out on the beach (watching some CRAZY people windsurf) before walking up to the local coffee shop for some to-go coffees for the rest of our drive. 

We spent the next couple of hours driving the dingle peninsula, pulling off every five or so minutes to admire the view, taking pictures along the way. We met some pretty friendly (and hungry) birds along the way that seemed to follow us from stop to stop, which led to some good entertainment. Luckily, we didn't finish our chips from the lunch I packed so we had a little something to treat our new friends. 

Our ultimate destination for the day was at the westernmost point in Ireland, called Slea Head Drive. When we got there, we noticed people hiking up the nearby mountain and decided to follow along. We estimate that the hike was about a mile long, which wasn't too bad, except the entire trail was COVERED in sheep poop and it was extremely windy, causing me to lose my footing a couple times. I may or may not have landed on some doo-doo along the way. Once we got to the top, the wind was even stronger, but the view was amazing! 

Once we had hiked back down to the bottom, we got back in the car and headed back to Glenbeigh, stopping for dinner in a little town named Killorglin. We ate dinner at a place called Bunker Tavern, which was just okay. The highlight of the meal came well...after the meal when we decided to try our first Irish coffee's of the trip. The bartender explained how to make an Irish coffee to us, telling us that true Irish coffees will have equal parts whiskey and coffee and a homemade whipped cream on top. I've decided that this is pretty much the only way anyone can get me to drink whiskey. But honestly, you could probably put any alcohol in coffee and I'd enjoy it.

Since this was our last night in the cottage, we decided to spend the rest of the evening polishing off the rest of the Guinnesses in the fridge.

Day 6: This morning, we loaded all of our stuff in the car bright and early and left Glenbeigh for our next location, Doolin! To get to Doolin, you either have to drive around a waterway called "The Mouth of the Shannon" or take a ferry across the bay, car and all. Since it was supposed to save us time and miles, we opted to take the ferry.
On the Ferry! No, I did not style my hair that way. It was another pretty windy day! 
Once we got off the ferry, we decided to go the more direct route towards the Cilffs of Moher (pronounced "more"), which put us on some pretty TINY and windy roads. We made it to the cliffs in good time, however, the weather was so foggy that we literally could not see the end of the parking lot we were in, let alone the cliffs. We decided to stick it out for a while in the hopes that the weather would turn around so we spent a good bit of time in the visitor center, wandering around the gift shop and checking out the museum on the cliffs. We ate lunch in the cafeteria there, ordering two bowls of the seafood chowder to go alongside the sandwiches I packed. While we were eating lunch, we noticed that the clouds we clearing up a bit. About five minutes later, the sun decided to grace us with it's presence so we packed our lunches up and headed outside as fast as we could! 

The cliffs were seriously majestic and I'm so glad that we got to spend some time there while the sun was shining. Once we had walked around for a while and gotten our fill (if you ever really can get your fill of a view like that), we decided to make the drive up the road to our bed and breakfast for the night in Doolin. We stayed at the O'Conners Guesthouse, which was absolutely the most beautiful bed and breakfast of the trip! 

Once we got checked in, we walked up the road, past some very friendly cows, to the famous local Doolin Pub, O'Conners for a drink before dinner. We passed by a local fudge shop, buying some Irish cream fudge, dark chocolate fudge, and a caramel shortbread bar. At the bar, we ordered a couple of drinks and spent some time chatting with a local gentlemen who seemed to know everything about everything, which was pretty fascinating. 

We walked back towards our bed and breakfast to a different pub, Fitzpatrick's for dinner, however, they had about an hour wait which wasn't going to work for us. Fortunately, there was a little pizza shop next door with no wait. 

After dinner, we went back to Fitzpatrick's and listened to a band called "An Ril Dil" play music for the rest of the night, buying their C.D. to take home with us on the way out. 

Day 7: On our last full day in Ireland, we woke up, ate ONE more traditional Irish breakfast, and hit the road to drive back to Dublin (about a 3 hour drive.) 

Get in my belly.... 
On the way back to Dublin, we stopped in a little town called Kilbeggan to tour the local whiskey distillery.

While Ryan and I have toured the Sam Adams brewery a few times (like 6 or 7 to be more precise), we knew nothing of how whiskey is made so this tour was really interesting to both of us. This distillery was split into two different sections. Half of it was the old distillery and the other half was the working distillery where Killbeggan, John Locke, and Tyrconnel are all made and bottled today. We toured both sections (my favorite part) before going to the tasting room for a couple samples (Ryan's favorite part). 

After the tasting, we were both pretty hungry so we stopped in at the cafe onsite for some lunch before continuing on our drive to Dublin. Once we got into the city and found our hotel, we got unpacked and decided to walk over to the Temple Bar area again for dinner. On the walk, we stopped in at a liquor store known for giving out lots of free samples, where Ryan purchased his first bottle of Irish whiskey. Once we got into Temple Bar, we started hearing some live music and decided to walk towards it. Turns out, a band made up of three young Irish men had pretty much taken over an entire block, with pubs at each of the four corners. People were outside drinking, dancing, and listening to some good music so we decided to join them, grabbing some beers at the Mercantile Tavern. 

We grabbed dinner at Trinity Pub and more drinks at a different pub closer to the hotel before calling it on our last night in Ireland. The next morning we woke up pretty early, packed our stuff up, and drove to the airport to drop our rental car off and hop on a plane heading to Boston, ending our Irish holiday.

This trip was amazing and gave us memories we will cherish forever. Ireland, you always hold a special little place in my heart.

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