Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our Last Days in Ireland

Waking up Sunday morning I was super eager to get back down to the beach. I mean come on, I lived in Oklahoma my entire life and we are nowhere near the ocean. Oisin's parents live blocks from the coast, so we hopped out of bed (well more like dragged ourselves or me dragging poor Jonny) and headed for the beach. Sadly it was drizzling, but I wasn't going to let that stop us. We walked the back roads because we were told there was an incredible view..... and it was true.

It was incredible to be at the top of this hill and to see the view of the ocean all around us.
I'd love to have a beach front home, boy what I wouldn't do to live near the water.

Jon and I could have stayed at the beach all day, but the fact that it was raining was not fun. We decided after about an hour that it was time to make our way back to the house. When we arrived, Oisin's mom had cooked a ginormous Irish breakfast. And OH my gosh was it amazing! We had bacon, eggs, yogurt, toast, tomato on the side, tea, coffee, and orange juice. I was stuffed, and so thankful for the big breakfast. It was definitely much needed fuel for the body!

After breakfast we said our goodbyes. We were so thankful for having met Oisin's parents. They were so kind to have us and to take such great care of us. I definitely look forward to going back and visiting them soon. Not to mention eating her amazing food, she's an outstanding cook. For both dinner and breakfast there was literally nothing left on my plate. I felt like a fatty, but I couldn't help it, it was just so darn good.

Ois took us to Malahide Castle near Port Marnock. It is a beautiful castle, still intact. It has been turned into a museum.

My hair was a mess in these pics,
it had gotten wet at the beach and turned into a Medusa mess.
Here's Oisin and I in front of the castle.
We were sad to have to leave Port Marnock and our great friend Oisin, but we had to head back to Dublin, there were still a couple of things we wanted to see and do. Ois if you're reading this.... "TANKS" FOR EVERYTHING!
I gave him a hard time because of his accent. The Irish don't say the word "Thanks" they say"Tanks." I absolutely love the Irish and listening to them talk. I could literally listen to them all day long. I even practice talking like them so I can sound as cool as them. No lie, I want to talk like Brad Pitt in "Snatch." How awesome would that be!

Anyway, before I lose my train of thought, Oisin dropped us off at the train station, where we took the Dart back to Dublin. From there we checked back into our hotel, showered and were back out on the town in no time.

Before we had left home, Jon purchased tickets to the Guinness Storehouse and we were SO excited to see this. The museum was awesome. It was neat to learn the time line of Guinness and see all of the old machines, old bottles and labels, etc. Here are some pics.

Yummy Guinness

After the Guinness Storehouse we headed toward O'Connell Street. My lovely blogging friend Casey, told me about Penny's (an awesome clothing store... THANKS CASEY) and I really wanted to check it out before we left. Well I am so glad that I did. There clothes are so stinkin cheap! I bought 4 shirts and wish I could have bought more!! Jon had to remind me of the weight limit on our bags, we were already so close to the limit, so I had to limit what I bought :(
I have decided that next time we visit Dublin, I am just going to bring a bag and the clothes on my back, and buy everything from Penny's!

We stopped for fish and chips on the way back to the hotel. Again it was rainy and icky outside so we decided to just take it easy and watch English speaking television in our hotel room. (WHAT A TREAT!)

Monday morning we woke early, grabbed breakfast at the hotel, packed and checked out just in time to walk to the bus stop to grab a ride to the airport. Of course it was sunny the day we are leaving..... but I did capture a couple more pictures so I can prove the sun actually does shine in Dublin ;)

We were SO HAPPY that we were able to visit Ireland...........
But SOOO SAD that we had to leave.......
All I can say is that it was an amazing adventure
and I can not wait to go back!

Hope you guys enjoyed our recap! Thanks for reading about our trip!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ireland: Day 2

So Saturday morning we woke up fairly early. I just couldn't sleep in knowing that we were in Dublin and there was still so much that I wanted to see. (Although the first day we walked around for the entire day and saw so many things.) We had spoken with our friend Oisin, and were planning to meet him in Port Marnock at 6:00 p.m., so we had the entire morning/afternoon to see more sights. Sadly it was rainy and gloomy that morning but we put on our big girl panties and dealt with it.

Every city, state, country, that we visit we make sure to see the zoo. We grabbed our umbrella, hailed a cab and headed to the Dublin Zoo. Once we arrived, the rain had stopped and we were so thankful. I took so many pictures of the zoo, so I'll throw in only a few.

Of course half way through the zoo, it started to rain again! Jon reached for his umbrella and realized it must have fallen out in the cab, so we had no umbrella. We ran to the zoo's restaurant for shelter and decided to grab some lunch. We waited for the rain to subside and walked back into town.

We lucked out! The sun came out and the clouds went away, it was a beautiful day. After leaving the zoo, we headed to the Kilmainham Gaol, (Jail). This jail was incredible!

The entrance.
The Jail CathedralI am so glad we took the time to visit this because we learned so much. I learned a lot about Irish history from my dad being that we're Irish, but I learned even more while on the guided tour. This prison held the 8 rebels that lead the Easter Rising in Dublin.

They were held and eventually executed in the jail. We saw Robert Emmett's (one of the rebels), cell.
I had actually heard of him from my dad, but I was able to learn much more about him. We were able to see some of the cells, which were awfully small, and actually enter some of the cells in the east wing of the jail. There are 96 cells in the east wing.

Inside one of the cells

The youngest prisoner at Kilmainham was a boy at that age of 5 and a young girl at the age of 8. It's just incredible how life was back in the 1800's in Ireland. Everyone was was treated equally when it came to crime.

Also, because of the Great Potato Famine an enormous amount of people were committing crime purposely in effort to be thrown into prison, just so they could eat a decent meal. So needless to say prisons were over crowded and sometimes there were 5 people sharing one teeny tiny room.

This is outside where the rebels were executed.
This is also where the prisoners came to work during the day.
It was such a great experience visiting this prison, very interesting and a bit emotional, really.
I thought this photograph was precious.
This was taken in July 1921 at the Irish Peace Conference

From Kilmainham we made our way back to the hotel. Grabbed our things and walked to the train station.
We caught a train to Post Marnock on the coast of Ireland. Once we got to the coast, I got choked up in the awe of everything. Seriously, it was amazing. We grabbed our luggage and lugged it down to the beach with us.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

After spending about a half hour taking pictures and enjoying the view we met up with our great friend Oisin. He took us back to his parents' house, where his mom had prepared a fantastic dinner. I ate the entire plate! They were such great people and we had a fabulous time with them and getting to know them. His mom was such a wonderful host she kept giving us food and drinks. At one point I had a glass of red wine, a cup of coffee, a cup of "Irish" coffee, and a glass of Jameson in front of me........ 4 cups! Several bottles of wine later and 4 glasses of random liquids we headed out to a club called Tamangos. Let's just say we didn't stay for long because poor Jonny's body told him it was time to call it a night!! ;)

What a great way to spend my birthday! We saw, the Dublin Zoo, Kilmainham Jail, took a train to the coast, saw the Ocean, ate and drank like Kings, and slept like babies! Saturday was an incredible day!

Stay tuned, there's more to come tomorrow of our Ireland adventure!