Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Ireland (27th August-1st September 2014)

So, as some of you might know, I went on a short holiday to Ireland a while ago! It wasn't my first time there. I first went to Ireland 10 years ago for my 16th birthday although I don't remember the trip very well now. I went with my mother that time but on this occasion I went by myself. I flew into Dublin, spent a couple of days there, took the train over to Killarney, spent a few days there, and then I got the train to Cork and flew back home to England. I picked a pretty good time to go to Ireland because I've recently discovered that I have some Celtic blood! I have some Irish and Welsh ancestry :) Anyway, here's what I got up to on my trip...

Wednesday, 27th August 2014
I woke up pretty early this day, got ready, said goodbye to the family, left the house, and got a bus and then a train to the airport. The check-in and the going through security was completely straightforward and hassle free. I always get really stressed out about this part of travelling and I have no idea why because it's always been completely fine! Once we were on the plane the journey only took about 90 minutes. And then I landed in Dublin!

I only brought cabin luggage for my trip so as soon as I got through customs I was able to just walk straight out of the airport. Then I got a bus to Dublin city centre and got off at Trinity College, because that's where the hostel I'd booked had told me to get off. Their directions were really good and I had no problems finding the place. Then I checked-in at the hostel and went to my room. The hostel was okay. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. I've stayed in much nicer places. I then sat down on my bed and lay down for about 30 minutes. Then I put on some make-up, because I thought I looked kind of rough, and left the hostel. BTW, it's one of my pet peeves when women go on plane journeys in movies and step off looking like they could be on the front cover of Vogue. No! No-one looks good after a plane journey! Everyone looks tired and dishevelled!

By this time it was about 2pm and I spent the next few hours having a walk around the city. My first stop was the lovely St Stephen's Green which was just down the road from where I was staying. Below are some photos. It was a cloudy, rainy day but I still think they came out okay. Then I walked over to Merrion Square because I wanted to see the house that Oscar Wilde grew up in. I only got to see the outside though. Sadly you can't go inside the house because it was bought by the American College and they discontinued the tours a few years back. *grumbles* After I was done with Merrion Square, I did some more walking around and stumbled upon a bookshop called Hodges Figgis. I hadn't heard of it before but when I got back I discovered that it's actually quite a famous bookshop and very old. It's Ireland's largest bookshop and has been around ever since 1768. I spent a good while browsing around this place. I'd taken a couple of Georgette Heyer novels to read on my trip but I still wanted some books to take away with me as a holiday memento. The shop had a huge Irish Writers section and I was really keen to get at least one book by an Irish writer in Ireland. It took me a good long while to decide what I wanted but I eventually chose Elizabeth Bowen's The House in Paris and John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things. I've read and reviewed both of these books now. The House in Paris was alright but The Book of Lost Things left a very sour taste in my mouth. I wish that I'd picked better books but oh well. That evening I went back to the hostel, had a shower and read my book. I spent all of my evenings this way so from now on I'll just describe what I got up to in the day-time.

St Stephen's Green

Oscar Wilde's house, Merrion Square

Thursday, 28th August 2014
Even though I went to bed fairly early (11pm) it was a real struggle to get up this morning. I must have been tired! But I forced myself to get up early and I had a full day to look around the city. I started off the day with Trinity College. I started off looking around the grounds and then bought a ticket to see the Book of Kells and the Old Library. Got to be honest, I found the Book of Kells underwhelming but I loved the Old Library! After that I walked down the River Liffey. I went back and forth over the bridges a few times and then I stopped for a glass of cider in the Temple Bar area (the Norseman pub if anyone's interested). Then I went onto Dublinia to learn more about Viking and Medieval Dublin. Both of these eras fascinate me so of course I loved the museum. After I was done at the museum I went to see St Patrick's Cathedral and stopped to have some lunch. I went back to the hostel for a couple of hours before I went back out to see Grafton Street and the National Gallery.

The Old Library

The River Liffey

The Norseman, Temple Bar


St Patrick's Cathedral

Grafton Street

Friday, 29th August 2014
This was a fairly quiet day for me. I checked out of the youth hostel at about 9.30am and then walked over to Heuston Station. Google maps said it would take about 30 minutes but it took me almost an hour! It was a good job that I left quite early otherwise I'd have missed my train!

You can't get a direct train to Killarney from Dublin so I had to change trains at Mallow. The train into Mallow got delayed but that didn't matter because the connecting train stayed behind to meet us. I got to Killarney and got a taxi to the B&B where I was staying. It seemed luxurious after the small, cramped youth hostel at Dublin! I had a double bed! And my own bathroom! And there was complimentary tea and coffee! I was living it up! :D It was raining pretty hard so I chilled in my room for a bit and then left to have a walk around the town. I had dinner at a pub and bought a fridge magnet in a tourist shop. Then I walked back to the B&B and had a shower. After the shower I was horrified to discover that there was a grasshopper hopping around the bathroom! I'm really not good with bugs! I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop myself from shrieking. Yep, I'm a wimp! I was tempted to ask the B&B owner to get rid of the grasshopper but it was late by this point and I felt guilty about bothering him. I just shut my bathroom door and asked him to get rid of it for me the following morning.


Saturday, 30th August 2014
On this day I went to the Killarney National Park. I spent almost the entire day there. Killarney itself is a really nice town but the surrounding countryside is gorgeous! It's so beautiful! My photos really don't do it justice. I walked by the lake shore and through the woods. I even saw a deer, a female deer, at one point! It was such a lovely day :)

Killarney National Park

Sunday, 31st August 2014
On this day I bought a ticket on a tourist bus so I could see the Muckross House. It was built for a wealthy Scotts-Welsh couple in the 1800s and Queen Victoria once stayed there. The tour guide who took us around the house was informative and hilarious, and the house and its surroundings were both beautiful :) I would have loved to have taken some photos of the interior of the house but they're very strict about people not taking photos.

That evening I walked around the town and ended up having a conversation with a woman in a sweet shop who once met Michael Fassbender (who's from Killarney). According to the woman he's really nice and not one of those celebrities who's an asshole in real life - which is good to know!

Monday, 1st September 2014
This was another quiet day. I checked out of the B&B and then took the train to Cork (via Mallow again) so I could fly back home. I only had a few hours in Cork itself and I really wish that I'd got to sped more time there because the city was far prettier than I'd anticipated. I'm going to have to come back to it some day. And that was the end of my trip! I hope this post was at the very least semi-interesting to read. I've never really attempted a travel post before!


samara said...

Ah! Loved hearing about your Irish adventures. Can't wait to get there myself one day.

Also, "No-one looks good after a plane journey! Everyone looks tired and dishevelled!" <-- So true!!

Hannah said...

Thank you! This was a hard post to write - I'm not used to travel posts unfortunately! - so I'm really glad you enjoyed it :)

Hamlette said...

How very cool! I'm really impressed that you went by yourself. I've never gone on a trip longer than a couple of hours by myself, without anyone at all that I know. Well done!

The library looks gorgeous, and all that countryside! Lovely. Thanks so much for sharing!

Hannah said...

Thank you, you're always so kind! :) This wasn't my first time travelling by myself. In 2011 I spent a month in Continental Europe riding around on trains. My mom came out to spend a few days with me in Barcelona but apart from that I was by myself the whole time. There were definitely some occasions when I felt lonely but it was an amazing experience. Life-changing I think.

Oh, the Old Library and the Irish countryside are even more beautiful in reality. My photos really don't do them justice!

Hamlette said...

I don't often get lonely -- I crave solitude, in fact. But I am not as adventurous as I wish I was. Very Bilbo Baggins-ish, really.

Photos are never as good as the real thing. But they're good reminders of the real thing :-)

Hannah said...

I don't usually feel lonely but there were a few occasions on the trip when I would think "This is beautiful! So-and-so would love this!" And then I'd wish that that person was with me so they could see what I was seeing. But I still had a wonderful time!

I feel a lot like Bilbo Baggins too. I love staying at home and doing absolutely nothing but I have that Tookish longing for adventures and travel.

That comment on photos is absolutely true!