It’s day 2? 3? of lockdown here in Mallorca, Spain. But it’s STILL St. Patrick’s Day.
Enjoy a beer in the comfort of your own home at least. Maybe some green food dye too!
It’s day 2? 3? of lockdown here in Mallorca, Spain. But it’s STILL St. Patrick’s Day.
Enjoy a beer in the comfort of your own home at least. Maybe some green food dye too!
Top O’ The Morning To Ya! And Happy St. Patty’s Day!
Are you wearing your green?
On this lovely St. Patrick’s Day of 2018 I thought I would share my experience from Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse. What exactly is this you ask? It is a lovely brewery experience taking you through the history of Ireland’s most famous beer with seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness. The ground floor introduces the beer’s four ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast), and the brewery’s founder, Arthur Guinness.
The journey continues up the rest of the seven floors explaining the history of beer with stories told through various interactive exhibition areas including ingredients, brewing, transport, cooperage, advertising and sponsorship.
The building in which the Storehouse is located was constructed in 1902 as a fermentation plant for the St. James’s Gate Brewery (where yeast is added to the brew). The building was the first multi-story steel-framed building to be constructed in Ireland. The building was used continuously as the fermentation plant of the Brewery until its closure in 1988, when a new fermentation plant was completed near the River Liffey.
It’s located in the heart of the St. James’s Gate Brewery which I found completely adorable with it brick buildings and horses around every corner.
We did the self tour which was perfect. And I really enjoyed learning more about the beer making process and what makes Guinness so special (pssst they have their own famous strain of yeast). Some pics fer ya laddies.
But the big finale was the Gravity Bar at the top which you can only reach with a paid ticket to the Guinness Storehouse. The ticket does include a free pint of Guinness from the Gravity Bar. Not only do you get to enjoy a perfectly brewed glass of Guinness but you can drink it overlooking Dublin’s famous rooftops with a 360° views of Dublin’s magnificent skyline.
Dublin is such a fun city! And the beer isn’t too shabby either. I like my Guinness with a touch of black currants. Go to the Guinness Storehouse for a new cold one this St. Patty’s Day! And don’t forget to drink responsibly. Sláinte!!
The cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Have you been? They are breathtaking! So beautiful. We had just finished exploring the Ring of Kerry the day before and headed northwest to check them out the day before we had to head back home. Film buffs will recognize them as the cliffs of insanity from the movie The Princess Bride. (LOVE that movie. so good)
The cliffs are one of Ireland’s most famous tourist destinations receiving over one million tourists every year. They’re in Clare county and located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region. The cliffs consist of mainly Namurian shale and sandstone and it’s possible to see 300-million-year-old river channels cutting through at the base of the cliffs. 300 million years old? Wow.
I was really REALLY wanting to see a puffin. I think they are one of the cutest birds ever. Sadly, we didn’t see any (insert sad face) but maybe you’ll be luckier. If so, please send a picture.
You are free to walk along the cliffs. There aren’t any guard rails so if you have young children please make sure to watch them. I was astonished at so many people sitting on the edge with their feet dangling! It made my stomach drop a bit. Cuz you know, one slip and well, I’d think you’re a goner.
The day was a bit hazy when we were there. But still gorgeous.
O’Brien’s Tower is located at the highest point of the cliffs. It was built in 1835 by Sir Cornellius O’Brien as an observation tower for Victorian tourists but is also rumored to have been built for a woman he was courting. On a clear day the view can extend as far as Loop Head at the southern tip of Clare and beyond to the mountains of Kerry. Looking north from O’Brien’s Tower on clear days, the Twelve Bens in Connemara, beyond Galway Bay can be seen, and typically the Aran Islands to the west.
The cliffs are a must see when in Ireland. Don’t forget to add them to your sightseeing list. I’m off to watch The Princess Bride again.
Just south of Dublin is the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, a beautiful place to spend the afternoon. It’s in Enniskerry, County Wicklow and was recently voted #3 of the World’s Top Ten Gardens by National Geographic.
And let me tell you, it was lovely.
Gardens, statues, lakes, secret paths and even a pet cemetery awaits for you, to come and discover its beauty. Afterwards, drive 5 km to the Powerscourt waterfall, Ireland’s highest waterfall. I would recommend for you to pack a picnic, a blanket and your camera. And a cold bottle of champagne never hurt anyone. 🙂
Come on! From the gardens:
Gorgeous, right? Here’s some more gorgeousness for your eyeballs.
This picture doesn’t do this justice. There was a HUGE wall of hydrangeas – bright pink, lavender, vibrant blue and frosty white. It was like the garden threw up all colors of hydrangeas. But in a good way.
Nice shot, right?
I found the pet cemetery very charming. Some plots with more than one animal. They were loved. Dogs, cats, horses and even cows!
And I tried not to think of the scary Stephen King movie.
Everything good? I hope you enjoyed yourself at the Powerscourt Gardens. But wait! There’s more! Time to get in the car and drive to the Powerscourt Waterfall.
Don’t forget that champagne.
You are surrounded by so much nature.
Beech, Oak, Larch and Pine trees were planted some 200 years ago, plus Giant Redwoods which can grow up to 80m high. If you’re a bird lover keep your eye out for Chaffinch, Cuckoo, Raven and the Willow Warblers. And you may even spot a Sika Deer or two that were introduced to Ireland in 1858. But of course you should know the tale – you won’t see a snake in Ireland! Those were driven out by St. Patrick.
Enjoy the Powerscourt Estate. So much fun and beauty for all ages. Now GO!
Top o’ the morning to you, laddies!
Reminiscing of my trip to Ireland. Good times! Good Guinness! Such nice peeps!
Now get thyself a pint and a shot of Jameson, stat. Have a blessed and lucky day!
After Newgrange we were hungry but we wanted something with a bit of a nice view. We took the “scenic” route, scenic to us because this was all new! And tried to drive along the coast as much as possible. We came into a small fishing village on R 127 called Skerries. It was almost too perfect. We spotted a restaurant by the harbor. It’s name – Stoop Your Head. Awesome name, must be an awesome place. My friends, it did not disappoint. Everything was so delicious.
Apparently we weren’t the only hungry ones. The place was packed. It isn’t that big of a place but it does have an outside patio to eat at too. But the weather was a bit chilly so we waited for a table to open up.
Finally one did. Hooray! I had my usual Ireland drink order – Guinness with black currants. And we each ordered the seafood chowder and I ordered the Rockabill Crab sandwich on brown bread. They have quite the full menu – everything, really. From soup, salad, sandwiches, appetizers of paté and falafel to main courses of tempting fish pie, baked salmon or Irish fillet steak. My mouth is now watering thinking of the savory foods! All of their meat is fully traceable from farm to fork. And they only use Free-Range Chicken and Eggs.
You must check this place out. It is only a 20 minute drive north of Dublin. And about the name – well, it is true, some of the doorways are a bit short. And you MUST STOOP YOUR HEAD! Enjoy. And don’t forget about the Guinness!
The next day was Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland. Because of time constraints, I had looked into the places my mom wanted to go to, but never into much extent. So I was usually pleasantly surprised when we arrived to these sites, they were so interesting. Newgrange was the first of these stops.
Newgrange is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means it is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance. It is one of the two UNESCO sites in Ireland. Newgrange is also called Brú na Bóinne. It is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, about a 30 minute drive from Dublin. It was built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids! The site consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front and is ringed by engraved kerbstones. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it has been speculated that it had religious significance – it is aligned with the rising sun and its light floods the chamber on the winter solstice.
There is no direct public access to Newgrange by road. Visitor access to Newgrange is only by guided tour from the Visitor Centre on the south side of the river Boyne. Newgrange is on the north side of the river Boyne, visitors cross the river by pedestrian bridge and take a shuttle bus to Newgrange. Tickets are sold at a first come, first serve basis and we were told to arrive early as tours do sell out. We arrived at 10 a.m. and had no problem with getting tickets. Adults are 6 euros and children are 3 euros.
Aren’t my parents adorable? 🙂 There behind them is the circular mound and within the mound is a chambered passage, which can be accessed by an entrance on the southeastern side of the monument. The passage stretches for 19 metres or about a third of the way into the center of the structure. At the end of the passage are three small chambers off a larger central chamber, with a high corbelled vault roof. Each of the smaller chambers has a large flat “basin stone”, which was where the bones of the dead were possibly originally deposited, although whether it was actually a burial site remains unclear.You can’t take pictures inside but here is one of the entrance.
Do you see that large stone in front? Newgrange contains various examples of abstract Neolithic rock art carved onto it which provide decoration. These carvings fit into ten categories, five of which are curvilinear (circles, spirals, arcs, serpentiniforms and dot-in-circles) and the other five of which are rectilinear (chevrons, lozenges, radials, parallel lines and offsets). They are also marked by wide differences in style, the skill-level that would have been needed to produce them, and on how deeply carved they are. One of the most notable examples of art at Newgrange is the triskele-like features found on the entrance stone. (See above pic) It is approximately three metres long and 1.2 metres high, and about five tonnes in weight. It has been described as “one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art. Archaeologists believe that most of the carvings were produced prior to the stones being erected in place, although the entrance stone was instead carved in place before the kerbstones were placed alongside it.
Check out the kerbstones, the Neolithic art, the possible tombs surrounding the mound and the structural slabs in the next few pictures. What was amazing to me was that geological analysis indicates that much of building materials used to construct Newgrange were littoral blocks collected from the rocky beach at Clogherhead, County Louth, approx. 20 km to the north-east. The blocks were possibly transported to the Newgrange site by sea and up the River Boyne by securing them to the underside of boats at low tide. Can you imagine? Remember this began around the year 3200 B.C. I was astounded.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed seeing this place. It is a mysterious and fascinating site! I hope you will one day see it too. Until the next post, CHEERS!
Hello fellow readers! I returned from visiting the green island of Ireland a few weeks ago. I hope to take you through every area we visited in my next few posts. So keep in touch.
First of all, the Irish people are THE NICEST people I have ever met. I have traveled a lot (not to brag, but I have done a decent share – but that said, so much more still to see) and I have never had such a pleasurable experience with the people of a country. Not a single rude person. Everyone was friendly, helpful and most of all, funny. It was such a fantastic trip.
Let me just preface that I was traveling with my parents, not that THAT is bad! I just wanted you to know who I was with on this adventure. I love my parents and we had a lot of fun. Since moving to Europe ten (!) years ago, I have traveled with my parents a lot on this side of the pond.
So, let’s get down to it. Flying from Mallorca to Bilbao to Dublin I landed around 5:00 pm at the Dublin airport. And my first experience with Aerlingus. Nice airline – they had leather seats throughout the entire aircraft! And of course, friendly. Then I had to pick up the rental car from Hertz. And this was my first experience of the steering wheel on the other side and driving on the other side of the road. My parents had landed earlier in the day so they were already at the hotel. It was me and the rental car driving on the wrong side of the road together. YAY! Already friends.
Finally arrived at Clontarf Castle and went up to the room. Dad was still sleeping and mom was getting ready for dinner. We unpacked, talked about the trip to Dublin and went down for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Good food, good service and guess what – friendly people everywhere!! What is in the water? And can I get some shipped to the island of Mallorca?
Dad and I started off with a Guinness. Because if you are in Ireland, you drink a Guinness!! And by the way, have you tried Guinness with black currants!? DO IT NOW. You can thank me later. The most deliciousness of Guinness you will ever have. Yo.
We called it an early night because we had to begin the day around 8 a.m. (pretty much every morning for the rest of the week). I did like that we each had our own single bed. Usually when it is three people one person gets totally shafted and has to sleep in that crappy cot (extra) bed. You know what I am talking about, right? And it really sucks. And is really uncomfortable. And it is always ME that has to take this bed because I am obviously the youngest – but not that young!! But here at the Clontarf Castle we each had a lovely single bed. A good nights sleep if only my dad didn’t snore!
DAY TWO: Hop On – Off (HOHO) Bus in Dublin. Some people don’t like these buses but it is an easy way to see the city without paying too much money. Just as the name states, you can get on and off when and where you like and walk around for as long as you want and then get back on. Of course, keeping with the bus time schedule. I think they start around 9 a.m. and end around 8 p.m.
Clontarf Castle has a free shuttle early around 8 a.m. But we wanted breakfast and then took a taxi took the HOHO Bus. The first place we got off was Trinity College. It is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland’s oldest university. It was originally established outside the city walls of Dublin in the buildings of the dissolved Augustinian Priory of All Hallows, Trinity College was set up in part to consolidate the rule of the Tudor monarchy in Ireland, and it was seen as the university of the Protestant Ascendancy for much of its history. Trinity College is now surrounded by Dublin and is located on College Green, opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament. The college proper occupies 190,000 m2 (47 acres), with many of its buildings ranged around large squares and two playing fields.
The main reason we stopped at Trinity College was to see the Book of Kells. This book is believed to have been created ca. 800 AD. Amazing, right!? The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin. It contains the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. The manuscript today comprises 340 folios and, since 1953, has been bound in four volumes. The leaves are on high-quality calf vellum, and the unprecedentedly elaborate ornamentation that covers them includes ten full-page illustrations and text pages that are vibrant with decorated initials and interlinear miniatures and mark the furthest extension of the anti-classical and energetic qualities of Insular art.
While they had two books on display (under bullet-proof glass) it was difficult to see with the amount of people trying to crowd in and look …. for hours. But I did get a peek and it was beautiful. A picture from a page in the Book of Kells from educationscotland.gov.uk.
.Connected to the area to see the Book of Kells is the Long Room. The 65-metre-long (213 ft) main chamber of the Old Library, the Long Room, was built between 1712 and 1732 and houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books. This was actually my favorite part of Trinity College. While the Book of Kells was so interesting and beautiful it also had so many people wanting to see it, read about it, learn every single thing possible. The long room was more calming and just so many books! My heart was happy.
Back on the bus! We drove past tons of gorgeous places – St. Stephen’s Green, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Dublin Zoo in the huge Phoenix Park. But then our next stop was the Guinness Storehouse. Did I mention the Irish people were friendly and funny? While leaving our guide mentioned to all getting off that the last pick-up from Guinness was at 8 p.m. Hilarious. 🙂 I thought we would be able to just go straight to the Gravity Bar at the top but you must buy a ticket to go there. Adult tickets are 18 euros each and you get a ticket for a free pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar. The self “tour” was fine, interesting if you want to know how they make Guinness. We went through it pretty quickly and headed to the top. Here you can receive your free (with your ticket) pint of Guinness and look out over all of Dublin. Great views!
Our last stop was Temple Bar. Not really to see the area – because it is mostly bars and retro clothes shops. Which if that is your thing, this is your stop! But there was a big hurling game happening and we wanted to check it out. What is hurling, you may ask? What you DON’T know!? What planet are you living on!? Okay, kidding. We had no idea but there was a big game and our taxi driver told us all about it. Hurling is called the fastest game on grass.
The objective of the game is for players to use a wooden stick called a hurley to hit a small ball called a sliotar between the opponents’ goalposts either over the crossbar for one point, or under the crossbar into a net guarded by a goalkeeper for one goal, which is equivalent to three points. The sliotar can be caught in the hand and carried for not more than four steps, struck in the air, or struck on the ground with the hurley. It can be kicked or slapped with an open hand (the hand pass) for short-range passing. A player who wants to carry the ball for more than four steps has to bounce or balance the sliotar on the end of the stick and the ball can only be handled twice while in his possession. It was a lot of fun to watch and to try to understand what exactly was happening. The big game was between two rivals Kilkenney vs. Tipperary. And it ended in a tie, something that is very unusual I was told.
.Flags flying for their/your favorite team. That concludes my first day of Dublin post. I hope you enjoyed it. Next up is Newgrange and surrounding area of Dublin. Please check it out. Good night!