Friday, March 17, 2017

Ireland - Dublin and environs

Because all Irish celebrate St. Paddy's Day right now, I thought I could perhaps post a blog about Dublin.

In August of 2014, we made our first city trip to the Irish capital. We were lucky with the weather, in that it was rather cold, but mostly dry.

We stayed at The Clarence on Wellington Quay, which is now owned by Bono and The Edge from U2. (We did not see either of them at that occasion, although they are said to visit from time to time. A year later I saw Bono leaving, while heading to reception. ) The personel at the hotel is overfriendly and we had a great room. What I found most astonishing was that we slept very well each night, even with all the noise coming from the Temple Bar district.

We arrived on Monday morning on a direct flight from Brussels with Aer Lingus (no, not Ryan Air!). Dublin airport is not far away from the city center, and an easy way to reach town is to take the 747 Airlink bus. It only costs 12€ for an adult return ticket and the ride takes about half an hour.

We took a day to explore the town itself (we went to see Trinity College and the Book of Kells, also went to Jameson Old Distillery to learn the difference between Scotch whisky and Irish one) and of course we also did some shopping (we're girls).

But we also took two trips out of Dublin. The first one was into the Wicklow Mountains (very rugged countryside) and the ruins at Glendalough. On our way back into Dublin we stopped in Avoca, the little village which was featured in the BBC series of Ballykissangel, if you ever saw that. We even had a drink and a bite in Fitzgerald's pub!

And the next trip was to the east coast of Ireland. We visited Malahide Castle (one of the most beautiful I've ever seen) with its resident ghost of Puck, the court jester. And believe it or not, but my sister and I felt his presence, while the rest of our group didn't - and most importantly, I don't believe in ghosts! The castle belonged for more than 800 years to the Talbot family. It only changed hands when only two Talbots were left, a brother and sister. When Milo died, his sister could not pay the death duties, so she made a deal with the Irish government and donated the castle to them. They worked in it and it has now been open to the public for five years already.

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