Touring Ireland

We have been super busy these last few weeks, as usual, but it’s been a good busy overall. Side note – changed the name of the blog! Still me though. 🙂 Just wasn’t completely feeling the old name.

So last weekend was a three day weekend because of Columbus Day (cheers for the embassy being closed on U.S. Holidays!), so we had planned a weekend trip to Dublin. We actually ended up getting a deal for it through Groupon, so heads up for those! The deal included hotel and airfare for a pretty good price, although they did get us with the times that the airfare was valid for — we had to pay extra not to leave on Saturday night and come back early on Monday morning, which obviously would’ve cut the trip super short.

The verdict: I really like Dublin. It’s much smaller than London, which was nice. It’s also unfortunately much colder, but I think we were still lucky with the weather, which was pretty sunny for most of the trip. There’s a handful of tourist attractions — we visited the Guinness Brewery and Dublin Castle, and wandered around the city checking out Trinity College, the Temple Bar area, which is full of a bunch of restaurants and bars, and The Brazenhead – Ireland’s oldest pub.

The 9000 year lease that Arthur Guinness signed for the brewery.
Ground floor of the brewery
View of Dublin from the beer room on the top floor

We decided halfway through the trip that we wanted to go see the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of the country. It’s literally clear across the country from Dublin, and takes at least 3 1/2 hours to drive there. There are plenty of scheduled bus tours that you can take, but that would’ve been too easy. Actually, the reality of it is, I’m not the biggest fan of tour guides and group tours, so we decided to hike it on our own, which was…slightly suicidal. The plan we ended up concocting involved this:

1. Renting a car. No biggie right? Well, they drive on the left side of the road, and they only had manual transmission cars available. You may be thinking – “well, you live in London – they drive on the left side there too.” We definitely don’t have a car, I’ve driven approximately 3 times in the last 2 years, and M sold his car in January. Yeaahhhh…
**M did learn how to drive stick while living in Japan (another left side drivin’ country), so we had at least some hope. However, he lived in Japan 10 years ago…

2. Leaving Dublin at 6am so that we could get back in time for our 6:30pm flight that night. Did I mention that my husband is a saint for putting up with me and my nutso ideas?

3. Waking up at 4am so that we could leave our hotel, catch a 5am bus to the airport, and then pick up the rental car at said 6am leave time.

4. Starting the drive in the pitch-black darkness and the rain (yes, it chose to rain that day of all days), because the sun doesn’t rise until about 7:45am these days in Ireland. Can we say, passenger gripping the sides of the car in a death grip as we immediately got lost and were driving in a roundabout?

Even given all of that, we actually made it there and back in one piece, with time to spare, and it was so so worth it. The cliffs are absolutely breathtaking.

The Cliffs
“Extremely Unstable Cliff Edge.” Oh boy…
The view on the drive back

It was about negative 9 zillion degrees outside (of course we were completely unprepared for that), and the fury of something was in the wind, but we still really enjoyed it and were glad we made the trek.

Spontaneity for the win!


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