Five Short Days in the Emerald Isle

by alyson

Travelogue: Part 3

We hopped from London to Dublin and were greeted by more green than I’ve ever seen.

About to land in Dublin

About to land in Dublin

I was really looking forward to this leg of the trip because we got to see my cousin, Gloria. We’ve actually only met maybe three times in our lives; I don’t know my mom’s side of the family very well as we’re all spread across the states. We bought our car from Wayne and Gloria a few years ago right before they moved to Dublin for Wayne to get his doctorate in Liberation Psychology (he’s smart). Ever since then I’ve had it in my mind that we really needed to go see them while they were living in Ireland and we were lucky enough to make it happen. I’m so glad we did too because they are now some of our favorite people in the world. They are are both such interesting and intelligent people and we felt deprived that we only had two days with them. But it’s ok, because we’re all moving in together when they get back from Dublin, right Gloria? Right?

Gloria was kind enough to meet us at the airport and we rode back to their city, Dun Laoghaire (Dun Leary) together. We could sense right away that we were no longer in London. Overall London had a vibrant energy, was very posh and the people were generally dressed really nice (huge generalization right there). When we got on the train with Wayne and Gloria I noticed seven people all wearing sweats (like sweat pants and matching jacket) and it caught my attention so I inquired. Wayne and Gloria laughed and informed us that was typical and that held true. It’s probably something we wouldn’t have noticed had we not just come from London but it was a fascinating juxtaposition, especially after learning more about Irish history.

We went into the city for dinner and gobbled up our food so fast, it was delicious. Then got the best ice cream ever from Murphy’s.

The Dykstras: Norah, Wayne & Gloria

The Dykstras: Norah, Wayne & Gloria

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her appetizer

Norah’s appetizer

Salted Cararmel Ice Creamn, YUM!

Salted Caramel Ice Cream, YUM!

Then we had a walking tour of Dublin. It was so fun having Wayne and Gloria as tour guides because they have learned so much history during their time there and were great resources. We could spout off any question about anything and Wayne would come back with a knowledgeable answer plus the history behind it. I loved it.

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The ladies

The ladies

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The next morning we went to rent our car and were time warped into the UK version of “The Office”. I’m pretty certain it was the same building and I think I even saw some of the cast. We had a long wait but it was so entertaining for some reason that we didn’t even mind.

Thus began our whirlwind trip around the Emerald Isle in a short three day spree. Here’s the stops we had planned (and some not planned):

ireland route (mostly)

We saw this clown before we even left the city and we thought it was so funny, you can’t just cruise around in a car like that and act like nothing is unusual.

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I was immediately in jaw-dropping awe at the countryside from the moment we got out of the city, I was never able to pull myself together because it was one breathtaking scene after another. I couldn’t narrow down my photos enough so just buckle up for a serious overload.

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We crossed easily into Northern Ireland and I had to get out my British Pounds again. Northern Ireland is part of the UK while Ireland is EU (they use euros). Crazy that not too long ago they were still violently fighting each other. It felt peaceful while we were there but it just adds to this long sad history that Ireland has gone through pretty much from the start. When we got to Belfast there was almost a tangible feeling of dreariness. It could have been the weather, and we really weren’t there long enough to make a educated judgment, but it was notable. All the same time we were surrounded by beauty and we adored every person we met, both in Belfast and in Ireland as a whole.

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Entering Belfast

Entering Belfast

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Doug ordered the “Bangers and Mash”. We didn’t even know what that was at the time but hey, when in Rome!

Banger and Mash

Banger & Mash

Bangers & Mash

Grand Opera House

Grand Opera House

This beautiful building below is for sale, any takers? We thought that was so odd, who sells a building like that? Why isn’t it a museum or something?

For Sale: Landmark Building

For Sale: Landmark Building

From Belfast we headed to the Giant’s Causeway, natural volcanic structures created from molten basalt. The legend goes that a giant, Finn MacCool, was challenged to a duel by a Scottish giant. Finn built the causeway to reach over to Scotland. We had audio tour guides with us and listened to an Irishman tell us folktales of Finn while we walked around and explored. It made it so magical. Probably any story told with an Irish accent would sound magical now that I’m thinking about it. We enjoyed ourselves so much that when we got in the car to leave I told Doug that if didn’t see anything else in all of Ireland that would be ok because of how amazing the Causeway was.

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giant

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Giant's Gate

Giant’s Gate

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Our hike

Our destination

Our destination

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Causeway from above

Gorse

Gorse

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I don’t think the English language even has adjectives that adequately describe the beauty there. It started pouring rain when we were almost to the car, the timing couldn’t have been better. We headed further west to a little city called Portrush. It was right on the water and we were so sad we didn’t have longer there (I sound like a broken record). It was nearly 10PM when we were taking the photos below. We were so far north the sun doesn’t set until quite late and rises early.

Portrush

Portrush

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These are my favorite snacks when I’m in the UK. Disregard the name, they taste kind of like graham crackers.

my biscuits

my biscuits

to warm up my soul

to warm up my soul

I feel like this is plenty pictures for one post so I’ll leave it here and continue onward.