Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Around Ireland in 9 days: Its not such a long way to Tipperary

So, Finally we get to the Irish adventure.

Day 1 London-Dublin-Belfast
Once we flew into Dublin (the landing made me feel a bit green -ironically) Suzanne and Bevan's Uni mate Olly picked us up quickly from the drop off bay, and away we headed. We decided to hold off buying lunch until we got into Northern Ireland, as we didn't have any Euros (Northern Ireland, being British, still uses Pounds).

We stopped at a smallish town and enjoyed some food from a bakery.

We carried on to Belfast, and checked into the backpackers, which ended up being really cheap (especially compared to the rest of Ireland) as they offered the 18 bed dorm to us, rather than the 10, which was 2pounds cheaper. Shortly after that we organised a Black cab tour, which was interesting. Following that we went for a bit of a walk.

Day 2
Belfast-Giant's Causeway-Londonderry-Kilcar/Donegal
After waking up to a smelly room, and finding a vacant toilet, we had breakfast and went to Belfast castle, which was amazingly free of charge. After looking around it, we did part of the walk on the hill (mountain) around it - going cross-country at times, lucky St Patrick had cleared Ireland of snakes aye. Then we headed North, to the Giant's Causeway. It was definitely interesting, although the name had conjured up some different expectations - the myth behind the name made a bit more sense though. Basically there was a heap of hexagonal rocks similar to that early 80's computer game Qbec - like honeycomb but different leveled. The name came about as a giant had built it as a bridge to Scotland to attack another giant, and subsequently it got destroyed.

Londonderry was pretty cool - the attraction being that it is a walled city (the wall being from old times) I also managed to find a pound shop and picked up a costume for St Patrick's.

We then headed on to a rural hostel, outside a small village on the north-west coast. It was pretty cool, as it was basically the owners house.

Day 3 Kilcar/Donegal-Sligo-Dublin
The next day we had a look around, including the nearby cliff, which was pretty spectacular. We then headed back to Dublin, having dinner at a pub with some more of Suzanne and Bevan's uni mates.

Day 4 St Patrick's day - Dublin.
Once we got up, had some breakfast, and dressed up and painted our faces, we jumped on the bus for the main street, and watched the parade. Following that we went to a pub. Beer was 5Euro each - approximately $15NZD so I decided against drinking. Despite this, it was fun, just chatting to people from all over the world for several hours.

Day 5 Dublin- Jenkinstown
Before leaving Dublin we checked out the Guinness Brewery, and then headed South. We stopped and spent the night at a hostel in an old Norman castle in a place called Jenkinstown, which was cool, but a little bit scary.
Day 6 Jenkinstown-Kilkenny-Cashel-Blarney-Kinsale

From there we went to Kilkenny, saw the outside of the castle, saw several Cathedrals and then headed to Cashel. The "Rock of Cashel" is an old Cathedral, and was pretty awesome.

From there we headed to Blarney, to see the castle and Blarney stone. However we got there a little late (although technically it still should've been open). So we headed to Kinsale for the night. After looking for a cheap-ish meal at a pub, we gave up and got some stuff at the supermarket. Turns out Kinsale is famous for its food.

Day 7 Kinsale-Ring of Kerry-Killarney
In the morning we had a good look around Kinsale, which had a couple of old forts. Then we did the Ring of Kerry. Some parts of it were interesting, but the majority of it was not much different to New Zealand. We spent the night in Killarney.

Day 8 Killarney- Limerick- Galway- Cong.
We had a quick look at Killarney castle and the Nature reserve - basically a swamp and lake, then headed to Limerick. Saw the outside of King John's castle, wanted to go and see where Frank McCourt grew up (author of Angela's Ashes) but apparently its all been bulldozed and developed. There was a shooting the night before, so just before we left Olly was asked to show an undercover cop his licence.
Galway was OK, we had lunch on the beach, and then drove to a rural town called Cong. It was pretty awesome - there was a ruins of an old abbey, and a nature walk. Apparently Cong was the filming location of a John Wayne movie The Quiet Man. That night we watched Ireland beat Wales at a local pub - good atmosphere naturally.

Day 9 Cong-Dublin
We got up early, and headed to Dublin. Made it in time for me to do a walking tour, while the others went to the Jameson factory.
Went to the airport, flew back to London.

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