Sunday, 30 October 2016

Iconic Ireland

In the mood for an easy get away? To a place where you'll rarely have to fuss around with sticky sunscreen, but you can snuggle up next to each other under an umbrella 200days a year on average. Then Ireland is your place to go!

Fáilte go hÉirinn !

(Welcome to Ireland)

As described by the lonely planet the land of ancient rocks and great legends this country has something for everyone. Looking for vibrant city's? feeling like long coastal hikes? In the mood for viking history or just a good pint of Guinness? 
Daily flights from Brussels international airport will bring you to Dublin, the beating hart and capital of this extraordinary republic. From there it's easy access all across the country by car, train, bus, coach bike or hike if you're feeling very adventurous.

My friend and I only had just over 60 hours worth of city trip, I think we're safe to say we got absolutely everything out of it we possibly could.

So early evening flight out of Brussels got us to our hostel by 10pm and out for dinner, a beer and a bit of live music in the bar around the corner from the hostel.

DAY 1 - rain/sunshine/rain/clouds/rain

TIPP: always find a hostel that offers free breakfast! even if it isn't much, it's always better than starting your day having to getting your money out right away.
To get the most out of our day we sorted ourselves out with a 24hour Hop on Hop off bus ticket to get us to all the must see places easiest.
The spire

So of we where, hopping on and off busses every time we felt like it.

Beginning at the spire, ...

..., eavesdropping on walking tours through the Trinity College grounds, ....
Ireland houses of Parliament on your right and the Irish whisky museum on the corner right in front 

..., taking out our sunnies for every ray of sunshine on the rooftop of the bus, ....

Saint Andrews Church 

..., getting of at Temple bar coming across the Molly Malone statue by accident, ....

Molly Malone 

..., finding an awesome 60ties diner called Eddie Rocket's, reasonably priced sliders, fries and a soda in a real old school fashion city diner is all we needed for lunch, ... 

.., stepping back in time in the viking history museum in Dublinia, wandering some more around Dublin castle, St Patricks Cathedral, the huge Guinness brewery and storehouse and Phoenix park among many others. To end a very busy day with a good meal and a big pint of Guinness accompanied by some live music as you must whilst in Dublin.

Christ Church Cathedral
Meanwhile we had decided to take a day tour to the west coast the next day and so we did.

After a painfully early morning we got on a coach for DAY 2 - rain/wind/rain/more wind/sunshine!

First stop; walking tour around charming Galway city

This 'City of the tribes' will be European capital of Culture in 2020 and for good measure. The cultural heart of Ireland, the city has over 23 festivals a year finding a reason to celebrate just about every,- and anything!

The Lynch window

Ireland might ass well be the land of the legends under the motto: "never let the truth get in the way of a good story".  

That being said, legend let's us believe that from this very window former mayor James Lynch FitzStephen hanged his own son, as judge and executioner,  for the murder of a Spanish young man who he had mistaken for being his girlfriend's lover.

St Nicholas' Collegiate Church
This collegiate church in the city centre, dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra (the patron saint of seafarers) in recognition of Galway's status of being a port and always stood central of life in Galway (literally and figural speaking that is).  

Fun fact: In 2002 the church hosted the first same-sex marriage in an Irish church.

As you may notice the tower has a clock missing on it's north-western side. This because, the roman catholic Galway Cathedral sits on that side of the city and the parish church didn't want the roman Catholics to be able to see the time from their clocks.

After a few hours in a cosy bus listening to, possibly, the best tour guide/bus driver talking about the Irish desert, Halloween by the Celts and how it all started, about the Wild Atlantic way on which we were driving and how it's the longest designated coastal road in the world, teaching us Irish and so much more. To stop at the best places for pictures through the bellowing wind and horizontal rainfall.

Around noon we stopt in a little village of Doolin with an old fashion pub where we had an absolutely mouth watering home made beef Guinness stew to brace ourselves for the absolute cherry on top of our trip, the Cliffs of Moher.
These magnificent cliffs rise about 214m out of the Atlantic Ocean on the highest point which O'Brien's tower marks, but have an average height of 120m from sea level.

It was down right jaw-dropping amazing to be on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. It's an absolute must-do if you're in Ireland, because even the most beautiful pictures can't capture the essence of this extraordinary site. Yet, we try.

travel buddy, Manon, looking over at O'Brien's tower

Manon and myself being blown away by the wind, trying to take a selfie

lushes green grass sides and slithers of blue sky and sun after a long days rain,
things couldn't have been better.

Feel like hopping on a coach to see these beauties for you self? Head over to the Dublin tour company website or ask your hostel is they go with the company for more information on all the different tours and prices, don't forget your student card, most tours give student discounts!!

 An elegant sunset drive across the country back to Dublin brought us to the end of our impulsive 62 hour city trip. As proper broke backpackers we had a painfully early flight in the morning so we slept in the airport to have a Starbucks breakfast at 3 AM before our flight back to Belgium. 

As uni has begun again, it'll be all about city tripping again until time (and money) for more!
xoxo Lizzie

Dublin/Ireland, Sept 6 to 10th 2016

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