Ireland

I know it has been a while since I last posted, but I have been quite busy and tired with work, and also when I am out at camp there is no wifi. So, now I will continue with my latest trip to Europe: Ireland. I think I became obsessed with Ireland only recently, maybe a few years ago. I think it really began when I started watching shows and movies that were filmed in Ireland. I loved the scenery and the majestic beauty of the land and the more I researched it the more I fell in love with the country. Another reason is because my family is from Ireland, well my ancestors. And as I have mentioned before I have fallen in love with the ability of going back to where my ancestors were from. There’s just something about going back to where your roots began.

Our first stop was in Dublin, of course. We were given maps and explored the city. Such a beautiful city for sure, we only had a few hours to explore the city so we mostly walked around Temple Bar, the entire pub area of Dublin, and explored Trinity College.

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The next day we drove to Kilkenny where we toured the entire city on bikes. It was a lot of fun but I had never been so sore after riding a bike in my life. It was also the first time in about, roughly 10 years, that I had ridden a bike so I was a bit shaky at the beginning. But it was a really amazing and different way to see the city rather than on a coach or a hop on-hop off bus. I was able to take a video on my GoPro of the whole thing and a compilation of the best bits is coming, but I have been quite busy that I haven’t had the time to put one together yet.

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We then made our way to this beautiful city called Cork. Now, we had some fun times there and we made every second count since we were only there for one day. We went to the Jameson Distillery which was really cool. I don’t like whiskey all that much but I did enjoy the tour. The last part you actually walked through the storage area where they keep the whiskey and wow, I have never been hit by the smell of alcohol so hard in my life. It felt like I was going to get drunk just by standing in the room. But it was really cool to see who whiskey is brewed and stored and how popular it is. Afterwards, we went to this bar, and for the life of me I can’t remember the name, which is a shame because it was the best meal I had ever had. It was so good, I don’t even have a picture of it because it was so good. However, I do remember what we had: for an appetizer we had potato and leek soup (so yummy!), followed by two chicken legs, corn on the cob and more potatoes, which was then followed by an amazing cheesecake with Maltesers. It was so delicious, everyone on the trip had agreed it was the best meal.

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After Cork we made our way to Galway where we spent two nights, which is considered a luxury because of how quickly you are moving from place to place. So our first stop was to Blarney Castle, where Irish Folklore tells us kissing the Blarney Stone will give you the gift of eloquence. I was absolutely terrified to climb all the way up there and hang backwards and upside down to kiss a stone, but my friend Alex who I toured the castle with encouraged me to do it and I could not say no. We toured the whole castle, went through the gardens around it and also the caves and tunnels underneath it. The tour was really cool.

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After the castle, we went to the famous Cliffs of Moher. Now that was really cool. The beauty and dramatics of the cliffs and the water and just looking out over the horizon and seeing only ocean was absolutely breathtaking. I still cannot believe I have been there. The pictures just do not do the beauty justice and if you ever have the opportunity to go, please do it.

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Our second day in Galway we spent on the Aran Islands, where we again biked around the entire island. Granted, the view and the day was absolutely amazing, biking was not that much fun. But scenery and the day was one I will never forget. Again, a GoPro compilation video will be coming.

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After a beautiful two days in Galway we were on the bus to Londonderry-Derry. Really cool history about Londonderry-Derry, the city of two names. The name Derry is preferred by Irish Nationalists and used by the Catholic community as well as the Republic of Ireland. The name Londonderry is used by unionists. The naming debate came to a head during The Troubles with the mention of either name associating the speaker with one side or the other. It was really interesting to see the difference in the city and how the city is pretty much split down the middle. The walking tour was really cool and our guide was absolutely spectacular.

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After our historic trip, we continued on to Belfast which is a city that blew my historic mind away. I could not believe that The Troubles was a war happening in the 1970s and one that my parents and my grandparents know about. It just blows my mind. The tour guide we had actually told us personal stories of how her friend was shot and killed in front of her on their way to school and how she would have to walk over fighters in her front yard to get to school. How crazy is that? That being outside could be a death sentence. We traveled around Belfast and she pointed out places along the way which was really cool, we even got to see the Game of Thrones door in one of the pubs.

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We also went to Giant’s Causeway and as a special gift from our tour manager and bus driver to the Dark Hedges, which most people will know are from Game of Thrones! So for almost all of the people on the trip it was a pretty amazing treat.

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Our final day and night we spent in Dublin all together. We traveled around Dublin all day and actually got into to see the Trinity Library, which was absolutely stunning. I loved every minute of it and we even got to see how the conservationists at the library are working to conserve the books that call the library home. We ended the night off at the Merry Ploughboy Pub where we had a night of entertainment from the band and also dancers. The pub was really a lot of fun and the food was amazing. I recommend it highly. Then the night was a blur as we jumped from one pub to the next.

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This trip was honestly so amazing and I met so many amazing and lovely people from all over the world. I am so glad that I was able to go on this trip with this group of people. The people you meet really and truly make the trip so memorable and I can honestly say I will remain friends with so many of them for many years to come.

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