Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ireland - Our Last Day

Our last day in Dublin, we decided to spend 1/2 the day at the library (we found 2 more family members in our efforts) and then shopping and the Book of Kells. 

The library after it had closed. It has a beautiful rotunda on the inside. It is painted in shades of blue - almost a turquoise. It was gorgeous and I wish I could have taken photos. Alas, no unauthorized photography was allowed.
Picture through the gates. Showing the front of the building.
Gates to the Parliament building. We passed this every day going to the library and there were guards out front and a couple of protesters.
The view from the gates of the parliament building.

After we closed the library (1pm), we went back to the hotel to drop our stuff, grab the camera and head out for the sights. We asked for a good Irish pub with fish & chips for lunch. We were directed to go just down to the end of the corner to Foley's.
Having a pint on Brigid A.'s tab. Thanks Brigid!!!

The view of the rest of the pub from our seats.
Thanks again, Brigid!! ;) LOL

LUNCH!!! Joe got a YUMMY Chicken & Ham "meat pie" with a savory gravy, chips, and mushy peas.
My Fish (fresh cod)& Chips with mushy peas.
Foley's on the outside.
After we ate at Foley's, we hit the streets of Dublin. WE decided to head to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. Originally made in Scotland, the Book of Kells was sent to Kells, County Meath, Ireland for safe keeping from the invading Vikings. Since Kells is only about 90km from Glenidan, we thought it was pretty cool.
As you enter Trinity College, we went through a tnnel and into this courtyard. We picked up tickets for a tour and the Book of Kells for 10 euro. It was worth the extra euro for the tour. This picture shows a bridal party taking their photographs outside of the college chapel.
The massive bell. It only rings now to announce dinner for special students and announce special events.
The guy with his hand up is the student guide. The hall behind him in the photo is the examination hall. It is directly across from the chapel and the buildings are mirror images of each other.
The dinner hall. It had to be rebuilt as it was built on pluff mud and the soil was not taken account for when building. So the original began to sink. This one was rebuilt with the same plans, and stones.
An Oregon Maple. There are two here and they have thrived in the climate and soil. they are the largest specimens outside of the United States.
After seeing the Book of Kells (no photography allowed), we hit the shopping district.
We stayed at The Shelborne. Here are the photos of our room and our FABULOUS bathroom!!

Resting up before hitting the town!!
We went back to Foley's for dinner (I was hoping to have some Lamb - but they didn't have it). Joe is wearing his new Irish wool cap.
Wearing my new Irish wool sweater and showing my mom that I ate "mushy peas"!!!

We went back to teh hotel to drop off the camera and debated about going back out. We decided against it as we had to get up at 5am to make sure we had packed, eaten, and driven to the airport, returned the car, checked in, customs, VAT refunds, etc.. before our flight left at 10 am. Interesting that we left on 10/10/10 at a little after 10. Freaky......

All in all, we had a WONDERFUL time and can't wait to go back. it's now an even higher priority then going to Hawaii. Maybe 2011 will have another trip instore for us!!

Ireland Part 4

Blarney Castle, County Cork

Friday morning, we got up a little late and ate breakfast and headed out. It was our first overcast day. It started off nice in Dublin, but the further south we went, the grayer it got. we arrived around lunchtime in Blarney, just in time for it to rain. :( So we ate at the restaurant at the Blarney Woolen Mills (Joe had Irish Stew, and I had a YUMMY stuffed chicken - I even ate cabbage!!). Afterwards, it was still raining, so we ducked inside Blarney Woolen Mills for some shopping. We made a few purchases and by that time it was not raining anymore, so we headed to Blarney Castle. 

It was 20 euro to enter, and we walked in with maps in hand. The landscape was similar to that of Frederick Law Olmstead's park like feel of the Biltmore Estate's azalea garden, minus the azaleas. 

Around the first bend, the top of the tower could be seen peeking out from behind the trees.

As we approached, more of the castle could be seen. The fall colors were starting to peek through the leaves.

This was the side of the castle. The smaller window is where the guard dogs lived. The Larger door was to the dungeon and the well. It was very important for the castle to have a well running into it so that water could be obtained during a seige. The middle door was for the guardsmen.
From here, you can see the sheer size of the castle. the rock wall is 30 meters high and was where the rock was quarried for the castle. You can clearly see the Earl's bedroom window, the smaller light windows, double windows (near the top) as well as the garderobe shoots.
A closer view of the Earl's bedroom window. Due to it's size and, i complexity of design it showed others that the Earl was very wealthy. 

Joe peeked into the dungeon entrance. We decided against going there since we needed as much daylight as possible to do what we wanted to do. 

The front of the castle. You can look up and see the hole where the Blarney stone is.
oops, I forgot to rotate!! You can see the hole. Notice there are only two bars keeping you from falling through.
The Lord of our manor looking out from the Earl's bedroom window.
The Lady of the Keep. ;)
The lower portion is the family room, and the upper portion is the Great Hall. Notice the outcroppings where the floor joists came out.
A view from the top! Those cows were pretty far away!!
You can see how tiny the stairs were if Joe had to squeeze out of them. they were the servants stairs and are pretty claustrophobic in nature. WE were so glad to go down the family stairs.
the Walled Garden
Looking down from the top on the sheer side of the castle.

More stairs???
I love the "park like" feel of the landscaping.
What the top of the castle looks like
Here is where you kiss the Blarney stone. Notice the person laying down (you can see their legs)
We did it! And we've got it all on film!! Hope we can get the video uploaded to blogger soon.

Waterford, Co. Waterford

We tried to make it to Waterford before the crystal factory closed, but we were unable to. We got some nice shots at dusk of Waterford. 

The streets at night. There were a TON of college kids and high schoolers out shopping. We ate at a wonderful Indian restaurant and headed back to Dublin. The M was deserted as Ireland and Northern Ireland were playing in soccer games that night. We made it back to Dublin at almost 10pm, not bad for a full day.
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