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Published: December 6th 2007
Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel, Ireland
A Bittersweet Trip To The Land of The Leprechaun
How do you plan the end of an extravaganza? Where do you go? What do you do? Do you end on an adventurous note? Do you end with some relaxation? Who knows? Certainly not me and certainly not Kel, but ending the trip was our final step and it was a step that had to be taken.
By time we reached Istanbul we were tired. We weren’t tired of traveling or being in each other’s company, but we were just tired. The sort of bone weariness that comes from having been on 63 plane flights, through 42 countries and countless hotel/hostel/motel rooms. I was completely in for a relaxation period before hitting the windy shores of the United States. The immortal words of the Beach Boys floated in my subconscious, “Bermuda, Bahama, Come On Pretty Mama…” Alas, the tropics just weren’t going to happen.
It turns out that almost the whole world flies through JFK when heading back into the US. With a long flight from Istanbul to anywhere near the US, the last thing I wanted to do was have a layover in New York’s craziest
Pouring the Perfect Pint
Guinness Factory, Dublin, Ireland
and oldest airport. Thus, we decided to forgo tropical splendor for a direct flight to our first destination in the US - Boston.
How does one get from the non-US world directly to Boston? Think like Bostonians do…think Irish. Sure, it’s a long standing myth that everyone in Boston is of Irish descent and they are all named something like Patrick Michael O’Something-or-other but it seems that there is more truth to the Boston-Irish connection than just urban legend. Dublin had the only direct Boston flight (that wasn’t incredibly expensive) that we could find. Thus, the choice was made, our final international destination was set: Ireland Here We Come!! A Cold and Rainy Dublin
Here’s a surprise…that’s right…it was cold and rainy in Dublin. Who woulda thunk it?? Thanks to the wind and rain we didn’t really explore Dublin to its full potential. Much like London a few weeks earlier, we caught the tourist bus and decided to let the bus driver pick a path for us. Normally we hate having our freedom taken from us but we decided, with only one full day in the city, that a covered, rain proof sightseeing adventure was
Cross of Ages
Rock of Cashel, Ireland
the choice for us.
Sure we drove past Dublin Castle, The Spire of Dublin, and all the other downtown tourist sights but we really decided to focus on the most important Dublin monument to Irish greatness, the Guinness Factory!! That’s right, a trip to the Guinness drinkers’ version of Mecca, the center of the Guinness empire: St. James Gate Brewery!
While the rain fell and the wind blew, we proceeded to learn all about the history of and techniques used to make the greatest dark beer on the planet (you wouldn’t say I’m partial to Guinness, would you?). The Guinness Storehouse has floor upon floor of interesting exhibits which lead to the culmination of both the brewery’s work and the tour: a chance to sample the freshest Guinness Beer in the world. As you can tell from the pictures, it was a perfect way to spend a rainy, cold day and one I would highly recommend to any beer lover. Drivin’ Down South
Based on the time we had and what our trusty guidebooks told us, we figured a quick trip into southern Ireland was a worthwhile way to spend our last sweet days
of international freedom. Our trip took us south from Dublin towards County Cork. On the way we took an afternoon pitstop at the Rock of Cashel.
This fortified monastery in the County of Tipperary is an impressive sight on a cloudy and forlorn day. It feels incredibly medieval as you drive up and see the grey walls and grey sky contrasting with the incredibly green Irish grass. Kel was incredibly patient with me and let me spend about and hour and a half taking tons of pictures. Places like the Rock of Cashel inspire me to shoot, shoot shoot!
After a night in Cork we set off for the incredibly scenic drive through the Ring of Kerry. This peninsula drive takes you through some of Ireland’s prettiest coastline. When the Irish green grass meets the rugged waterline it is truly a sight to behold. I don’t think I’ve been anywhere in the world that I felt was as green as this part of Ireland.
We really lucked out on the Ring of Kerry drive and got a cloudy but rainless day. We stopped multiple times for me to take pictures and once to explore the remains of
Rock of Cashel, Ireland
Staigue Fort, a ring fort that is as old as Stonehenge. All in all, like most of Ireland, it’s the natural beauty that makes the drive worth the trip. How Funny Is It To End a Trip In Dingle
I can’t help but wondering if Dingleberries come from Dingle?? Sure, it’s crude humor but I just plain can’t help it! So, with that in mind, I guess we ended our trip in the land of Dingleberries!
Dingle, a small town on a peninsula north of Killarney, is a scenic and quaint place that is often swarmed with tourists. As a “typical” Irish village/town, Dingle has managed to create an incredible tourist boom. Due to its many pubs, incredible bevy of fresh fish and nearby scenery, Dingle seems like the perfect place to spend some time. To us it was pretty close to Irish paradise but I have to imagine that during the peak months that it is almost nightmarish due to the ever present crowds.
Our first night and following day were incredibly rainy. It seems that storms love to enter Ireland from the south west, exactly where Dingle is located. Of course storms
are a regular thing in Ireland and their heavy rainfall accounts for the greenery being so lush. We decided to play it pretty cool and take a day off for rest. We did drive the Dingle Loop in the rain during the day, but we barely got out of our car because of the driving wind and heavy rain. Otherwise, we decided to get some R&R.
The best thing about our first day in town was the food. Irish food isn’t considered the best in Europe, but if you find the right place, the food is amazing. We feasted on some fish that were out of this world. Caught earlier that day and immediately cooked up for our enjoyment, these might have been the best fish we ate during our whole year long quest for good food.
Our last full day in Dingle was spent really enjoying the scenery. We re-drove the Dingle Loop and managed to get some beautiful pictures of the sweeping cliffs and quaint sea side towns. Overall, Dingle turns out to be a place that is well worth a couple of days. While many of the top tourist destinations, like Cork and Killarney may
Cross the Plains
Rock of Cashel, Ireland
be a bit of hype, Dingle is definitely a treat to be savored. A Fond Farewell
We, rather sadly, spent our final day in Ireland, which was our final day abroad, driving back to cloudy, rainy Dublin. Not an exciting end to our trip to say the least but one of those things that just had to be done. While not exciting, we still relished our time in a rather nostalgic way talking about all the things we loved and didn’t love about the trip. Don’t worry, we’ll do a retrospective just like everyone else on Travelblog, it’ll be out in the next week or so.
Once again, thanks for reading. You guys rock!
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