Adventure in Dublin and Ireland
Because one of my dreams came true I have to write down a report of this great adventure in Ireland. I still can't believe I was actually there, but it really happened. It was only for a weekend, but still I made a start and I'm planning to go back for sure sometimes. This is an amazing country filled with all kinds of beauty, waiting for me to explore.
Please enjoy my travel report:
When: 15th april until 18th april 2016
From Amsterdam to Dublin and back with Aer Lingus
It all started when I had this free long weekend planned without any activities. Of course in my busy life there is always something to do, but after everything that has happened I decided to take a time out and do something for myself. I've been to Spain a couple of times and I love Spain, love the sangria, the sun and the tapas. But this report is not about Spain. I'm so lucky that I have been to Scotland before, hopefully not the last time. That was a 5 day trip where we lost 2 days travelling on the boat. So we were actually 3 really amazing days in Schotland. Loved it! I have another big love but I never went there before somehow. It's Ireland. This report is all about my Irish adventure. So here we go:
First I booked the flight, then I started to e-mail the nice B&B I had in mind. You can find more information here. If a hotel is too expensive you should check out Air B&B. One of my colleagues gave me the linkand maybe its old news for you, but I'm still very happy to share. So the flight was arranged pretty fast, the B&B was confirmed the same day and so I found myself on Schiphol airport (my sister brought me there) on Friday morning. Although it's very normal for a lot of people to take the plane it is not normal to me. I take the car a lot, but not the plane. But I was well prepared and I had everything I needed. Including a nice borrowed little suitcase that belongs to one of my other colleagues. They are so kind, love them! I was happy when the security check was over and I had plenty of time left before I needed to get to my gate, so I went to a place I always search for when I need good coffee... Yep... talking about Starbucks.
Wow, this picture is huge on my website. Don't know how to make it smaller but Starbucks it sure was. After a bit of shopping I went to my gate. It was D something something and short after I arrived at the gate, the plane arrived as well. So I made a picture. I mean, my first flight with Aer Lingus! Here we go:
I had the 25F window seat and on the way back I choose the same seat as I liked it there a lot. I tried to keep myself pretty cool until I sat down. Don't forget I was flying alone. And no, I was not scared or nervous, I don't know, I lost a few tears while the plane was taking off on to the air. That felt not cool but I was happy there there were no passengers next to me. I like it when a plane takes off, or when it's going to land without turbulence. The moment you find yourself in the clouds, you know you are on your way. It was a nice, calm flight and I enjoyed some nice Irish tea with milk and sugar. I could use the sugar. Normally I drink my tea without any extra's. The flight was short, and we landed early as all passengers arrived early so there was no delay at all. I lost a few more tears when I saw the Irish grounds and I realised I did it. I made it! So when I got back on my feet the first thing I did was sending my B&B host a message that I'd arrived, because she was going to take me home. The second thing I did was buying chewing gum at the Spar. I can't live without chewing gum. At least, not for too long. Shorty after that my nice B&B host recognized me right away and she picked me up from the Spar. She brought me home and showed me my beautiful green room. And gave me another cup of tea with very nice chocolates by the way. She was so kind to write everything I needed to know about Dublin center and public transport down for me, and I kept that note with me for the whole weekend. In fact, I still have it although I'm back home for a week now. So, she drove me to the bus station and there I went, on the bus 16 tot Dublin centre. Because the bus driver could not change my 5 euro, he accepted the only 50 cents I had. That was very kind.
All the places and names were like Abracadabra to me, so I looked around a lot, but that did not help at first. And then there was James, sitting behind me looking at my nervous face. So I asked him: 'can you help me?' And I explained to him that I needed to get off the bus where the Temple Bar is. There is also a stop named Temple Street so that confused me. He said he was going to get out at the same stop, so we got off the bus at O'Connell street, the main street, and he showed me the way to Temple Bar and the Elephant and Castle restraurant. On the way there we had a nice chat about the Cliffs of Moher and when he made sure I arrived at the restaurant he shook my hand and introduced himself. That's how helpful the people are in Dublin. Thanks again, James! Unfortunately Elephant and Castle was so full that I could not enjoy the chicken wings I have been looking forward to, so I went to The Old Mill. A very crowded place as well, but at least I could eat and I enjoyed a nice beef stew. After my meal I went back to the Dublin streets and I saw all these nice pubs and shops. I think the first place I stopped was a tourist shop with too many things and the best Irish music while you were shopping. So I bought a few nice things and then I went to search for my bus back. Because it would be an early morning. I found the bus stop again in the main street and before I took the bus, I went to a little supermarket/ evening store, to buy some supplies for the next day. As I was there, a guy accidentally bumped onto a shelf with magnets or something. I think he worked there. Anyway, as I was staring at the fallen shelf, he said to me: 'Don't do that again' with a smile on his face and I replied I did not do that. But I told him it reminded me of a long time ago when I was a child and I went on my rollerskates to the local mall and someone pushed me on purpose over to a shelf with post cards. I fell, but my sister caught me but all the cards and the shelf fell in slow motion and they were all over the place. I remember that moment very well. Unfortunately. He said: 'There you go, you did it again'. Although I did not do it, and, luckily this time there was no damage at all, I replied in a joke: 'I can't help it, it's addictive...' It was so funny and from that moment on I started to feel at home in Dublin. It still gives me a smile on my face when I think back on moments like these. The people are so kind, they are interested in who you are as a person. They are not like: Oh no, here we have another tourist. Not at all. They are people persons, bless them. In the bus I met two nice bus drivers who would tell me where my stop was but all the other people in the bus warned me where my stop was before the bus driver got the chance. In the bus I sat down next to an old man who had a few drinks, but he was kind and funny to talk to. His name is Eddy and he told me he fell asleep a couple of times while he was traveling by train. Eddy shook my hand and we introduced ourselves and he wished me well home. So I found my way back to my B&B pretty easy, and I was so tired I went to sleep shortly after my first Dublin adventure. I was looking forward to my Cliffs of Moher adventure, starting 8 AM and ending 8 PM... So that would give me a nice Irish view. And I would meet the other B&B guest who was taking the tour as well.
Saturday morning I got up pretty early and I was ready for the next adventure. That morning I met Carri and our host would be so kind to bring us to our Paddy Wagon Tour bus. That was very relaxed for both of us, because we had no worries about missing the bus or getting on the meeting point on time. Of course, you don't talk too much when it's that early in the morning, but our guide did of course introduce himself as we were on our way. And as soon as we left Dublin the landscapes were so beautiful that Carri and I both made many pictures. It was so amazing to see the farmhouses, the sheep, cows, endless green lands and yellow flowers everywhere. The weather was bright and sunny and that always makes everything look much more happy. We made serveral stops. One stop was at a restaurant/ gas station but there was also a Obama museum because one of president Obama's family members lived there. It was a short stop of 20 minutes but pretty impressive. We also stopped near a castle for a moment to make pictures but as the time we had was short there too, I made a picture and went to the tourist shop, called Blarney Woollen Mills. All the shops offer a lot the same, but you'll find new things too. Many, many new things.
When we got back into the bus our guide was joking to me. He said: 'You are smiling, stop it.' I replied: 'I can't' Again he said: 'Stop it, don't you dare to smile.' And I finally said: 'I can't, you'll just have to look the other way.' It was so funny, I had to write it down. I like this kind of humor. He was funny all the way. As we came near the Cliffs of Moher, the road got really bumpy. I was trying to focus on the amazing landscape and tried not to get dizzy or in worst case, sick. And I was succesfull. I said to myself, it's not far now, it will be okay. And so it was. As soon as we got out of the bus it was so nice to feel the fresh breeze in my face and the sun. By that time Carri and I decided to explore the cliffs together as we were getting along very well and we had great fun together. It's nice that you start out as straingers but as the hours pass by, it's like you know each other much longer then just those few hours. The Cliffs of Moher were so impressive that I had to make a video impression for you. Well, actually Carri did it for me. So here it is:
I was so amazed by the cliffs and Carri found E.T. back in the tower. He is hiding there, or living there a relaxed life.
But the guy, or Mr. in the tower was very kind and told us much as I mention in my vlog. You remember the part where Harry Potter and Dumbledore go to destroy one of Voldemorts horcruxes in the cave near a cliff? Yes, you do the counting. It was recorded at the Cliffs of Moher. He showed us the exact point. There are other famous film moments recorded too at the Cliffs, but as a Harry Potter fan I could remember that part best. Sorry. Or I have to say, that's the only part I remember. It was very impressive to hear, and he was so proud to tell us everything there is to learn. And like I said in the vlog, it was pretty amazing that we actually got to see the cliffs of moher. That does not happen every day, because of the bad weather. We stayed at the Cliffs for 1 hour and a half but we could easily been there all afternoon. It was a magical place, and this has nothing to do with Harry Potter. It's just natures beautiful creature and nice to see how the birds have their homes inside the cliffs. Around 2 PM we went for lunch to Doolin village and by that time we liked to have something nourishing, so Carri and I both choose Fish and Chips. That tasted very good and we had a short hour for this lunch. So we continued our way and I could not believe we would see another castle in the same tour. We also visited other impressive places like Galway Bay. we had a short stop there too and our guide told us about the sad history of the Irish people who died of hunger, even children. And he told us that after that period of time a lot of Irish people left the country to start a better life elsewhere. The mountains with all the rocks look very impressive, but this sad story is behind it. My short story in the rocky area was that I imagined I was walking on the moon, or another planet. We stayed there for 10 minutes and behind us another bus of tourists stopped already. Carri and I and the other people in the bus saw so many beautiful and impressive places that 12 hour tour, you should go and do the tour for yourself. It's wonderful!
There is so much to see and to do, it made me curious for more. But I'm glad I saw so much of Ireland in such a short time. So we went on to visit the other castle, and some more very impressive places. I can describe it all, but I can also share some more pictures as they speak for themselves:
When we arrived back in Dublin centre it was time to 'hunt' for our dinner. I don't know if it's like this every weekend, but the restaurants and pubs are so full that people get in line to get some food. So Carri and I were hungry and we made a couple of rounds in the centre and we finally found a cool place to eat and relax but it was already 9.30 PM. So we were tired and we thought we were still very hungry, but luckily we didn't ordered a complete meal but all kinds of little snacks. Nacho's, chicken wings, mushrooms, grilled onions. We were so gratefull and we had a nice time at that bar. We both liked that is was both modern and classic and there was a DJ too. And there was a cool bookcase. When I looked closer to see what kind of books they had, it turned out to be a hidden door and it opened so I jumped back. That was pretty funny too I guess. After dinner we took a cab home because it was too late for the bus and it was time to sleep. Carri would go home on Sunday and I was planning to visit the Malahide castle on my own. And to enjoy Dublin some more in the afternoon.
Sunday morning I woke up way too early. I thought I was too late and I missed everybody, but I was wrong. So while my hosts and Carri were still asleep, I made myself some tea and enjoyed one of those lovely chocolates. Anytime is chocolate time to me. And then I decided to write a note for Carri so we could stay in touch. After such a fun day it would be sad not to be able to have contact anymore. Then I went for the adventure on my own. First I took bus 16 again to Dublin centre. This time I knew my way and went easily to O'Connell street. Then I tried to walk in the direction of the DART train station, but of course (with my sense of direction) I walked the wrong way. Anyhow, I found a nice place where I got some breakfast and they also gave me a lot of tea. It took a while before I finished all the tea. But I like tea so I did not mind at all. So I read my map there again and I noticed I was heading in the wrong way and had to turn back, but as I'm not good in reading maps, I thought I was reading it all wrong. After breakfast I continued my way in the wrong direction, but the sun came threw again and I just enjoyed Dublin. The shops, although they were still closed, some had nice display windows, some other nice coffee stores were opened already. I saw amazing buildings and also people who were on their way to church. It was nice to be part of that relaxed, daily life of Dublin for a while. Finally I decided to ask an older passenger if I was heading in the right direction but I already knew the answer. I was going the wrong way, because the station is very close to O'Connell street. That's where I started and I told him that. He was like: 'You don't look like you are in a hurry, so you can walk back. It will take you half an hour' Well, it didn't took me that long, but I found another station. I found Tara Street. Getting my retour ticket was easy. Getting on the right platform was a challenge. Lucky for me there were only 2 platforms... Again by asking I found the right platform and the right train and it brought me to Malahide.
I enjoyed my way and I fell in love with Malahide station. It's a beautiful station. Of course, I walked in the wrong direction again, when I was looking for the castle. But that was also because of a sign that said: castle arrow left. So I walked in the directon of Malahide village centre. I decided not to loose more time, because I was so looking forward to see this great castle and her gardens, I asked directions to an older man with very bright blue eyes. He told me the way to the castle, it was very easy to get there, and he also told me many more things when I told him I'm from the Netherlands. He used to work there in his younger years and it brought back all these memories. He named places like Nijmegen, Venlo but also Schiphol airport. He did all kinds of technical jobs and it was clear he had a great time back then. I reminded him of that time. But he drunk a little too much already and he wanted me to go to the pub with him. So after listening to all he had to tell (20 minutes later or so) I kindly excused myself and I said that I really wanted to go and see the castle. He was very kind to explain the directions again and then I was on my way to Malahide castle. It's a fair walk I would say. You see a lot of sport fields and then you walk on and on. First you'll find the shop and the desk where you can buy tickets. And then you walk on some more and there is the castle finally. And what a beauty it is!
I enjoyed the guide tour, it was very interesting and I also spent a couple of hours in the castle gardens. There were many places in the gardens where I could imagine the little people living. With little people, I learned from the Paddy Wagon tourguide, they mean fairy's and leprechauns. Another thing I love about Ireland. Here the little people is a big thing. Music, love for nature, fantasy and fairy's. I really have to go back to Ireland.
I liked the many people with their dogs that passed me by and it's not just a castle but also a place for people to relax and enjoy, do some jogging. I saw people lying in the sun or have a picknick in the castle gardens. It was hard for me to say goodbye to this nice place and it was also the perfect place for another vlog. So, you'll here it from me again:
I went back to the village where I saw the older man again I met earlier that day. But he did not remember me. He still wanted to take me to the pub, but this time I was on my way to see the beach and the boats for another nice view and to see more of what Malahide has to offer. It was nice and amazing. I was happy that one of the dog owners gave me the advice to visit the beach. My original idea was to have lunch in the Castle cafe, but it was too crowded so I decided to eat something in the village. Clouds were blocking the sun a lot in the afternoon so I went to find a place to get a good cup of coffee and to relax. I had been walking a lot, so my feet were starting to protest too. I found a nice little coffee bar next to the church and it was so peacefull there. And they make great coffee and cakes too. In fact, I had mocca with cream and lemon cake. It was spectacular. No need for Starbucks in Malahide, although I saw Starbucks over there as well. It's everywhere. I felt so much better after just sitting there for a while and enjoying my coffee and cake. After I finished, I made my way back to Malahide station where I fell in love with in again, and I took the train back to Dublin Tara Station.
It's lovely, isn't it? Malahide station. Okay, so this time I easily found my way back to Dublin. It's always easy on your last day. But it's all good information for my next visit. Back in Dublin I enjoyed some shopping. I bought another pack of chewing gum. You can call that serious shopping. I doubted to buy some nice things but I didn't had that many space in my little suitcase so I decided not to buy them. The rest of my afternoon was nice in Dublin, how can it not be and I spent my last evening in a pub where I had dinner and I also met two Dutch brothers who had started their holiday on Sunday. My evening ended with some great Irish music. Not only in the pub, but also on the street. Music everywhere. My host of the B&B said that's what I came here for and she's right. My heart cried to leave this great place, but on the other side, at least I have experienced it for real. I've been a lot in Ireland in my dreams already. Dreams and reality are a good match this time. When I got back home to the B&B I went to sleep because I had an early morning waiting for me. Once again my host were so kind to bring me back to the airport and I was there on time again. So I had my last breakfast with scrembled eggs and toast at the airport and then I went to my gate. On my flight home I fell asleep as the sun was shining in my face and when I woke up it was time to land already. So I was back on Dutch grounds again and back home. Unfortunately I got ill last week, but I finally feel better today. Otherwise I would not be able to write this travel report. I'll leave you with some pictures of Dublin and my flight home and thank you so much for reading! All the best, Din-Dee
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