Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ireland Day 1 - Dublin and Howth

Out of the blue, about a month ago, at about the same time I had decided to just pull out of Ragnar, Pete's work decided to send him to a conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland! As he started the process of getting a new passport, he made the mistake of asking me if I wanted to try and go with him.

Um, let me think...


I asked around to see if I could find places for my kids to go, and since I have such AWESOME friends and family, I got that figured out right away! I hurried down to the post office to meet Pete and apply for my very first passport! Then I came home and bought my ticket to Dublin. Just like that, easy peasy!  

It was such a spur of the moment decission, I couldn't believe we were doing it! But we're crazy like that. We had to expedite our applications to make sure we got our passports in time. We were a little bit worried they wouldn't make it in time, but a few weeks later my first ever passport arrived in the mail!

So much excitiment!!

We left for Ireland on Saturday morning, November 9th. First we flew about 5 hours to JFK airport in New York, then hung around for 4 hours before taking off for Dublin. Here I am about to cross the ocean for the first time!

It was pretty much an overnight flight, but try as I might, I could not sleep. Poor Pete had to put up with me putting my legs on him and changing possition about a million times during the flight. I was amazingly awake when we got there, though! Here's my first view of Ireland with the sun just rising. 

I am already in love!

We took taxi with the 4 guys we were traveling with to our hotel, Trinity Capitol Hotel, where it was too early to check in but they let us leave our luggage there. Here's one of the fancy chairs in the lobby.

We met one more of Pete's co-workers and her daughter who happened to be going to school at Trinity Collage for the semester, right across the street from our hotel. Her name was Elana and she was a really cool girl. She took us to the Kilkenny Cafe to eat a full, traditional Irish breakfast which is sausgae, eggs, bacon (more like ham here), bread, black pudding (which was kind of like a rich muffin) and things like that. Then she took us around town. 

Lots of old, cool buildings. A lot of people riding bikes and tons of people walking everywhere.

There were a bunch of street performers doing this kind of thing.

Here's a cool street we walked down where there were just a bunch of shops.

We went into a really nice, big park and walked around there. It felt a lot like Central Park and was really beautiful. I think it was called St. Steven's Green. My camera died there so I didn't get many picutres.

Here's me and Pete, still just amazed that we're in Ireland!

Then Elana showed us the collage which was founded in 1592 by Queen Elisabeth I of England so it had a lot of beautiful architecture.

After this, we went back to the hotel to get some warmer clothes because it was pretty cold and Elana told us it would be colder on the coast, where we were going next. Then we got on the train for about half an hour ride out to the little fishing village of Howth. It was really pretty. There was a big rock-looking island off the coast that was really cool and a cute little light house.

There was also a cute little market that we went to and looked around at. Everyone else got creps, but Pete and I were not feeling like eating yet so we just hung out.

It was pretty cold, and eveyone was really tired from the trip so we headed back to Dublin at about 3 or 4 which gave us time to go check in and get showered/take a little break before dinner. It was pouring rain by the time we were ready to head out, and we were also late for our reservation so we just called a taxi.

We went to The Brazen Head which is the oldest pub in Ireland, established in 1198. SO COOL! We did the evening of food, folklore and fairies there which was really fun. It is run by a seperate company who just use the upper room in the pub. They pick out a menu for you that is filled with delicious traditional Irish food and tell stories and sing songs in between courses which was fun and we learned a lot about Ireland. It's also cool because they sit everyone at a big table so you get to know the people around you throughout the night as well.

We took this picture in their little courtyard since it was raining outside. You can kind of see that it says The Brazen Head on the phone booth...

I would have loved to walk around and see more of the city afterwards, but it was dark and raining and we were tired and ready to finally go to bed after that very long day so we just went "home" to the hotel.

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