I feel like I am beginning to repeat myself, yet every place I visit takes my breath away. My week in Ireland was incredible and I loved every exhausting and exciting moment of it. Ireland stole my heart in more ways than one.
We began our week long adventure flying into Dublin Wednesday morning, before we met up with our contiki group Cailin and I started to get to know the Irish culture by paying a visit to the pub next to our hotel. The first thing we noticed was that everyone was so friendly and up for a chat. We had our first dinner as a group that night before getting a tour of the city and ending the day the only way the Irish know how to and that is at the pub with a live music. This pub was everything I had envisioned Ireland would be and after a few drinks everyone in our contiki group was best friends, a bond that grew stronger each day.
Our trip consisted of travelling all over Ireland, hitting major cities and landmarks, starting and ending in Dublin.
We hit landmarks such as Blarney castle where I kissed the Blarney stone, we went up to the Cliffs of Moher which were absolutely breath taking, then entering Northern Ireland where we learnt all about the conflict and war and then before making our way back to Dublin we visited Giant’s Causeway.
In Northern Ireland we had tours through each of the towns of Londonderry (Aka Derry) and Belfast. I had no idea that the conflict that had gone on was so damaging to these beautiful places. It was truly eye opening how fresh these wounds still are today and to the people of these towns. We even visited the peace wall filled with inspirational and touching words of support and hope.
We also hit up some major tourist attractions such as the Jameson Whiskey distillery, the Titanic exhibition in Belfast and the Guinness storehouse (I don’t like Guinness but it did taste incredibly better here than back in England). The trip was fast pace and getting more than four hours sleep in a night was considered a miracle, although we had the many bus rides to use for naps you didn’t want to miss out on all the beautiful scenery. Ireland has the most beautiful landscapes filled with nature in all shades of green. We were absolutely blessed with the weather to the point where even I was hot and everyone on the tour got sun burnt because who thinks to bring sunscreen to Ireland. Sleeping in the hotels were difficult because most of them had never even heard of an air-conditioner.
I learnt so much about this beautiful country and just wished we had more time, I would have loved to explore more of the landmarks and towns we visited but because we were on such a tight schedule and had so much to do in such a short time we only had limited time at each place.
The one really confusing thing was having to change from Euros in the Republic of Ireland to Pounds in Northern Ireland then back to Euros when we entered the Republic of Ireland again. The currencies were getting all mixed up and by the end with all the switching and lack of sleep there were more than one occasion where I had gone to pay in the wrong currency.
Ireland’s night life is amazing and the pubs are always filled with people no matter what day of the week it is. The one thing I absolutely loved about them was all the live music literally every where you turned. The Irish are contagious, you can’t help but smile and fall in love with every town and god dammit do they know how to drink.
Ireland is like that crazy friend we all have that if you want to have a good time they are your go to person but you can never keep up with or spend too much time with or else you will end up broke, homeless, minor amnesia or all of the above, yet you always come out with an amazing story. I made so many incredible memories and new friends on this trip I didn’t want to leave.
Our trip did end with a bang, after our farewell dinner at The Merry Ploughboys with live Irish music and traditional dancers we all headed out into town and drank our sorrows away, all with a mission to get our contiki tour guide drunk out of love and appreciation for all his hard work. It was an unforgettable night. I woke up the next morning after two hours sleep where I had slept through my alarm and Cailin was no where to be seen. Luckily I found out she had bunked in with another girl on the tour as she had forgotten her room key. By this time we had missed the first two shuttle buses and when I finally got in touch with her we had seven minutes to get to the last shuttle bus that would get us to the airport in time for our flight. We were once again on the amazing race running through the hotel to get to the bus, Cailin still in her clothes from last night. We made our flight and were both passed out asleep before the plane even took off. We were woken up only when the plane made a very rough landing in Newcastle.
Ireland really turned it up for us and I have so many stories that I could be on here forever if I were to write a day by day post. Everyone needs to visit Ireland once in there life time, I will definitely be back to explore this magical place more in depth.