travel

Ireland.

I apologize for the lack of update over the past week. I was vacationing in Ireland. 🙂
This will be mostly a travel update, but I will focus on some of the food that I ate there because, well, it was weird.

Wednesday we left on a flight out of Chicago to travel about 7 hours to Dublin, Ireland. It was an overnight flight and I slept for maybe an hour of the whole thing. It was terrible. When we landed in Dublin it was about 10am. We grabbed our bags and found our rental car and that’s really when the adventure began.

People in Europe drive on the right side of the car, and the left side of the road. HOLY MINDF*CK. I got trapped trying to get out of the darn parking lot and I was TERRIFIED to be driving on the actual road. Luckily the hotel wasn’t too far away and we made it alive. After we checked into the hotel, we decided to start the adventure.

We found a bar/restaurant that was within walking distance (thank God) of the hotel and stopped there. I ordered the “fish & chips” (because, Ireland) as well as a Guinness. DELICIOUS. After that, we decided to start roaming around downtown.

Mistake #1 – attempting to drive in downtown Dublin. Driving in downtown Dublin is similar to driving in downtown Chicago, except ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD (felt the need to emphasize that, because again, TERRIFYING). We headed to the Guinness Storehouse for our first touristy adventure. The Storehouse was pretty awesome. It was a couple stories tall, bringing you through the history of Guinness, how it’s made, and then of course…a bar.

Mind you, I still have yet to sleep at all. Zach slept for a few hours on the plane so he was feeling much better than myself at this point. We headed back to the hotel (made it alive, thankfully) and I vowed not to try to drive downtown anymore. The 10-minute drive took about 45, so that was a lot of fun.

We decided to check out another restuarant/bar that was within walking distance of the hotel for dinner. I ordered a chickpea burger with fries. Let me tell you – Dublin knows what’s up with fries.

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We were planning on staying there to have a few beers that night but it was pretty lame so we headed back to Ivy House (where we ate lunch) and got a lotttt to drink there. I was so tired at this point I think the beers were just making me delusional more than anything else. Finally got some sleep around 11pm Dublin time. (They’re 6 hours ahead of Milwaukee, FYI).

Day 2 my jet lag was still present but sleep definitely did me good. We made the decision to venture around downtown Dublin to see what it was all about. Dublin is a GORGEOUS city. We stopped at a restaurant for breakfast and I ordered the “full Irish breakfast” which consisted of eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, sausage and ‘black and white pudding.’

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Zach is apparently convinced that he’ll die if he puts ANYTHING in his mouth that he doesn’t like, so the guy barely ate any Irish food. Me, on the other hand, tried everything Irish that I could get my hands on. Irish pudding is nothing like American pudding. White pudding is an oatmeal based pudding that consists of oatmeal, pork and bread formed into a sausage type patty. Black pudding, on the other hand, is a mixture of oatmeal, pork fat and pork blood (sounds yummy, right?) It actually wasn’t bad. And I honestly preferred the black pudding over the white.

After breakfast we began really roaming. We went to the Dublin Castle, which was awesome. It’s not as big as the Blarney Castle but it’s still a sight to see.

 

We walked through Dublin and saw a lot of amazing buildings. The streets are also really different than in America – lots of cobblestone and SO clean.

We visited Trinity University as well. For those of you who don’t know, Trinity is Ireland’s oldest university. It’s a research focused university and is ranked one of the highest in the world. The library is the largest library in Ireland. It was BEAUTIFUL. I’m not big into reading, I’ll be honest, but being in there made me want to start.

After the library we walked around town, drinking some delicious coffee with our faces on it at this cute little shop I found on TripAdvisor called Beanhive.

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I was so jacked to go there the barista thought I was nuts. I was practically jumping up and down with excitement. (He re-posted my Instagram picture of this by the way, so I’m Ireland famous now.) We stopped at some beautiful cathedrals as well. We tried to go to Kilmainham Gaol (Dublin Jail) but unfortunately the tours were sold out for the day already.

We stopped at a pizza place I found and it was SO GOOD. I got the mussels as an appetizer and a pizza that had eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers and artichokes on it. It was so good.

Finally it was time to explore the downtown Dublin night life. We ventured to the Temple Bar area which was kind of similar to Water Street in a way (because it was so busy). Of course Zach appreciated this. All of the bars had live music which was really awesome. Some of them even had face painting. We made a few friends from all over the world and drank a lot of alcohol.

Day 3 our plan was to visit Galway, another Ireland city that’s about 2.5 hours away, as well as the Cliffs of Moher. Unfortunately, it was EXTREMELY foggy this day. We still drove down to Galway but decided against going to the cliffs. We ate lunch at this little place right on the shoreline. I got some crab claws and Zach ate a whole seafood platter. It was really delicious, just like everything else I’ve eaten.

At this point I was pretty proud of myself for successfully driving almost 3 hours on the opposite side of the road. I was definitely getting used to it. We ventured into Galway City and found the ‘downtown’ area if you will. There were several shops and restaurants – and bars, of course. They had a little Christmas-based festival going on as well. I ate a Nutella + banana crepe (and have 0 regrets about it). One of the streets had kind of an outdoor market with fresh food and crafts, it all looked really awesome.

After spending a few hours there we decided to head back to Dublin. A lot of the restaurants at this point were already filled with reservations or had very long wait times but we ended up finally eating dinner around 9pm. I got some stuffed peppers and they were to die for.

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We stayed downtown and experienced more of the night life. We tried to choose a few different bars from the ones that we had been to the night before. We found some ladies doing an Irish dance which was really cool to see.

Day 4 we headed to the Blarney Castle which was just under 3 hours away.

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There’s actually much more to this than just the “Blarney Stone” and the “Blarney Castle.” There were gardens, waterfalls, lime kilns, tunnels – it was a huge area. We spent a few hours there venturing around. It was beautiful. I didn’t actually kiss the Blarney Stone, but Zach did.

One of the areas in here was called “The Wishing Steps.” They were near a waterfall. It’s believed that if you can walk up and down the steps, backwards, with your eyes closed, and ONLY think about your wish the entire time you’re doing this, that it will come true within a year. Of course I tried it because hello, superstitions.

We ate some lunch at one of the local restaurants near the castle and then decided to venture an hour to Ballycotton Cliff Walk since we missed out on the Cliffs of Moher the day before. It was a little bit cloudy so the sunset wasn’t TOO intense but it was still very pretty.

Then we made the 3 hour drive back to Dublin and decided we were drained. I was not about to go out downtown again and surprisingly Zach didn’t want to either. We ate at the Ivy House for dinner and I had a few drinks while we watched some AMERICAN football.

The last day we woke up and headed downtown to do some souvenir shopping. I bought far too much stuff (whoops). The plane ride back was actually about an hour longer than the one there. I didn’t sleep at all but because of what time it was the jet lag didn’t affect me much. Got home and watched the Packers WIN (finally) and headed straight to bed.

Overall it was a very good trip, we accomplished A LOT in a short amount of time. I would definitely like to go back and explore different parts of Ireland, but we’ll save that for another time. Cheers!

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