A Travellerspoint blog

And on the 7th day ... they rested!

Recovery, cheese-y bread, and Irish TV

semi-overcast 65 °F

Whew - we had LOTS of fun last night! So much fun that it took us all day today to recover :) We still managed to have a great day, but we weren't up for tons of activity. We were really glad we got all our sightseeing done early and had today to just relax and enjoy!

In the morning, we hung out a little bit and worked out. We then headed to the Auld Dubliner (where we'd been before) to try to satisfy my giant craving for vegetable soup. Unfortunately ... they only had either potato/ leek soup, or beef/ kidney soup - pass! So we had some tomato-basil-cheese bread as an appetizer, then I got a goat cheese salad and Kev got a club sandwich. Notice my Mrs. Lyons shirt??? I love it! Honeymoon_Day_12_001.jpgHoneymoon_Day_12_003.jpgHoneymoon_Day_12_004.jpgHoneymoon_Day_12_005.jpg

After lunch, we walked through Temple Bar a little bit, accidentally cancelled Lindsey's international ATM card by using the wrong pin number (sorry!), and headed to Christ Church for a second look. It was still beautiful, don't worry! We had a nice stroll :) Honeymoon_Day_12_006.jpgHoneymoon_Day_12_008.jpgHoneymoon_Day_12_009.jpg

Later, we came back to watch some TV and take a nap. A few notes on TV here ... first, "CSI Miami" is a HUGE deal, so everyone knows where Miami is. We chuckle every time a commercial comes on for it! Also, "Secret Life of the American Teenager" is a very entertaining (but really trashy) show - can't believe it took me coming over to Ireland to discover it! Third, I didn't see it, but did you hear there was an 11-hour Wimbledon match today? Wow! And last, we've really gotten into the World Cup since we've been here - we hope we can watch some of it from the cruise!

Tonight, we went back to Citi Bar, because I had had vegetable soup there before and was still craving it. I ordered that and a small salad, but they came back and said they were out of soup! Darn!! I had a tapas-sized portion of chicken and potatoes instead, and it was good, but I hope they have soup on the ship because I don't get rid of cravings very easily! Kev had more garlic cheese bread and meatballs with mashed potatoes (potatoes with everything!) Honeymoon_Day_12_010.jpgHoneymoon_Day_12_011.jpg

After dinner, we came back to the hotel, hung out some more, and packed everything up - we have to be up super early for our flight to Southampton. We are really sad to leave Dublin tomorrow, because we've really enjoyed the city, but we are SO excited to get on the Norway cruise tomorrow!! We've learned so much about Dublin and Ireland and feel much more connected to our Irish heritage (although Kev's Irish accent is surprisingly good and mine is AWFUL!) In case you're interested, here is the cruise we're going on: http://www.pocruises.com/en/Cruises-2009-2010/CruiseUploadFolder/Fjords-A007/?mode=overview&Search=true

Two more random side notes about the blog. First, we only have one subscriber (yay Katie!) If you want to subscribe, you will get an email every time we put out a new post. This might be helpful so you don't have to refresh the blog and wonder whether or not we've posted something, especially as we get on the cruise and may be posting less frequently. We'll also keep posting to facebook when we update. Also, if you ever want to see any of the pictures in the post (or even some additional ones that were not in the post), there is a little toolbar on the right of the screen with several pictures, and underneath it says something like "Photo Gallery." If you click there, you'll be able to scroll through all of our shots! Thanks for reading!

Posted by megandkev 14:19 Archived in Ireland Comments (3)

Real Dubliners

Rover's talents, World Cup, and more Irish music

overcast 65 °F

Top o' the mornin'! Kev and I had a great day yesterday and are just now getting around to writing about it. We started with a workout and a quick coffee, and then headed out to Iveagh Gardens since we missed it a few days ago. This was our last stop on the long list of sights I had compiled from our Dublin tour book, so we've seen a lot! We also fulfilled our goal of spending a few days just "living the life," so now we feel like real Dubliners :)

The Gardens were beautiful and had some nice waterfalls and fountains, rose gardens, and really well-manicured grounds. It was fun to see so many people walking around or picnicking on their lunch breaks! There was a little maze of bushes, and Kevin cheated by cutting through the middle, so you see my sad face here. Kev also tested out Rover's ability by doing some rapid-fire shots of me telling him to stop acting like the paparazzi! Honeymoon_Day_11_005.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_008.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_011.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_016.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_023.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_024.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_025.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_026.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_027.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_028.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_029.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_030.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_031.jpg

We've also been trying to master the "blurry person in the background" look, and I think we finally got it! Honeymoon_Day_11_043.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_033.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_040.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_046.jpg

After the Gardens, we headed to a pub to try to watch the US in the World Cup. Unfortunately, England was playing at the same time, so it was hard to find a place that was showing the US. We finally found one that said it would be on, but they were having "technical difficulties" and the technician was back there fixing it ... for 5 minutes, and 10 minutes, and 15 minutes ... Just as we were about to leave, though, it came on! It was a really fun game and there were several US fans in the pub. The US had SO many missed opportunities, but it stayed 0-0 for a long time ... until the US scored at 90 minutes! The pub erupted into a "U-S-A! U-S-A!" chant - it was awesome! We also had a drink and ate some garlic cheese bread and a salad for me, a club sandwich for Kev. Honeymoon_Day_11_051.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_052.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_050.jpg

After the game, we walked around Dublin a little more, and came back to the hotel to regroup and freshen up. Later, we headed out to another pub to watch another World Cup game - this time Germany vs. Ghana. We actually did much less watching the game, and much more eating, drinking, talking, and listening to Irish music. It was fun! We kept thinking we should leave "after this song" or "after this drink" and it turned into a really long, fun night!! We had a blast and met some really nice people! It was a great last "real" night in Dublin - since tonight we'll have to go to bed early for an early morning flight on Friday to Southampton!! Hope everyone's doing well! Honeymoon_Day_11_068.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_069.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_070.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_071.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_072.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_073.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_077.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_083.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_086.jpgHoneymoon_Day_11_087.jpg
As a side note, what are these things in the small pictures? I got the "seafood cocktail," which I realized was a bit risky, but wanted to try it. It had shrimp (yum), salmon (yum), crawfish (yum-ish), and tons of these gross-looking tan things. I tried to pick at it but wasn't sure if I should eat the whole thing or not? And then the circle thing I'm sure was calamari (do you only call it that when it's fried?) but tasted really thick and like butter - I did not like it! Kev got lasagna - with salad and chips (fries) of course!

Posted by megandkev 03:30 Archived in Ireland Comments (2)

Hop-on/ Hop-off...

Dublin, Belfast, and Dundalk

semi-overcast 65 °F

Strap yourselves in, because this is going to be a long one! We’ve had an eventful two days and are excited to share everything with you.

Yesterday, the plan was to relax, enjoy Dublin, and take the hop-on/ hop-off bus to Phoenix Park and O’Connell Street. We started off with a work out and grabbed a coffee before getting on the bus, which picked us up right by our hotel. The idea of the hop-on/ hop-off bus is a great one – you pay a flat fee and get access to the bus system for 24 hours. The bus has 23 stops (near various top attractions of the city), and a bus comes by each stop every 10 minutes. There is a narrated tour throughout the whole ride. It’s a great way to “get a feel for” a city in a short amount of time.

Even though we already “knew” Dublin, we still had a lot of fun riding the bus to Phoenix Park, a gorgeous 1,750 acre public park north of the major city. Phoenix Park is also home to the Dublin Zoo, the house of the President of Ireland, the house of the US Ambassador (with his own 60-acre yard – Kev and I decided that is one of our lifetime goals!), and the Wellington Monument, a huge obelisk built for the Duke of Wellington. Kev and I spent a few hours walking around the park, eating lunch at a cute outside café (chicken Panini for him, delicious warm goat cheese salad for me), laying on the grass watching college kids play some strange game where they crawl through each other’s legs, and getting ice cream from the ice cream truck! It was a really relaxing afternoon and a gorgeous park!
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We took the hop-on/ hop-off bus back to the city and got off at O’Connell Street, a major shopping area of Dublin. I had secretly looked up a Farmer’s Market to stop by (secretly because Kevin hates the type of market where people are overzealously trying to sell you their “junk,” not giving you very much personal space, and generally not maintaining a pristine environment!), and it was so much fun. I got 5 Pink Lady apples (the best!) and 5 clementines for one euro (about $1.25!) I also bought my first souvenirs of the trip – an Ireland t-shirt and some awesome socks. We really want to bring everyone goodies from our travels, but considering our fiascoes with overweight luggage, we’re really trying not to – at least for now! We walked around the city a bit more, and then headed back for a nap. Honeymoon_Day_10_038.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_040.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_042.jpg

After the nap, we decided to head to dinner and check out the Irish Music Pub Crawl, which we had really been looking forward to. We ate at the first stop of the Pub Crawl (Gogarty's Irish Pub) ... Kev had lasagna, and I had an eggplant/ tomato/ asparagus/ goat cheese bake and salad. Honeymoon_Day_10_055.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_056.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_057.jpg
Then the music got started! We had heard a few bands playing traditional Irish music in the pubs we'd eaten at before yesterday, but the ones yesterday were amazing, entertaining, and authentic! The performers all seemed like they were having a genuinely good time, which made it so much fun to watch. We spent several hours listening to them, singing along, and meeting other people in the bars (even some from Florida!). We had such a good time that when we got home, we couldn't muster up the energy to blog about it - sorry! - so here are several photos: Honeymoon_Day_10_060.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_054.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_059.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_063.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_064.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_058.jpg

As a random aside, have you noticed how long Kev's "beard" is? He hasn't shaved yet on the trip, and I think he looks cute, but I'm not sure it's going to last the whole trip :)

This morning, we planned a day trip to Belfast (in Northern Ireland) and Dundalk (where my O'Hare side of the family comes from). After a workout and a quick coffee, we walked to the train station in Dublin and boarded the train. The ride to Belfast was just over 2 hours and was, again, incredibly scenic - this time several of the houses looked at both the lush, green countryside AND the ocean - pretty much paradise! Once we arrived in Belfast, we had an outdoor lunch - a chicken wrap for each of us, which I forgot to take a picture of - and read a few information brochures on the city. We decided that in such a short time, the best way to see all the major sites was to ride the hop-on/ hop-off bus! On the way to the pick-up point, we walked through downtown Belfast, and were both amazed at how modern, clean, and orderly it was. People seemed much more business-like and serious than they do in Dublin, and there was much more of an "updated" feel to the surroundings. Honeymoon_Day_10_065.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_067.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_068.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_072.jpg

Once we got on the bus, though, our impression changed a bit. I was completely blown away when we drove along the "Peace Wall." which stretches through several areas of the city and is a steel and concrete wall, up to 25 feet high, separating Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. This is not something carried over from long ago; in fact, the most recent barriers were just erected in the past few years. It absolutely shocks and saddens me that, in 2010, people still need to be physically separated from their neighbors in order not to hurt or kill them. Actually, I couldn't believe it, so I asked the tour guide to clarify. He said that the wounds from "The Troubles" (which started in the 1970s and lasted to the cease fire in 1998, and was basically a disagreement over whether Northern Ireland should consent to Home Rule and become an independent nation along with Ireland, or stay loyal to the Queen of England and be part of the UK) are still incredibly raw, and violence is still a real concern. While Catholics (Nationalists) and Protestants (Unionists) can work together, intermix in the neutral city center, and even drink together in pubs, the residential areas have to be separated because even a brief spat has the potential to erupt into a city- or nation-wide outbreak of violence. It is so unreal and depressing that this kind of measure is still in place. Also related to "The Troubles," there are several (probably hundreds) of murals and small paintings commemorating various battalions or victims of violence from the past few decades, all scattered throughout the city. Here are pictures of the Peace Wall and a few murals: Honeymoon_Day_10_107.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_108.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_110.jpg

We also saw some more light-hearted sites, don't worry! Among our favorites were the exact location and dry dock where the Titanic was built (the first picture in this series ... it would have been built between the boat and the bus seen in the picture), St. Anne's Cathedral, and the Stormont Estates (Parliament Buildings, which were just recently opened to the public and is still under high security. In fact, an armed guard had to come onto our bus and check every seat before allowing us to enter the gates!)
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Even though the tour took up pretty much all of our time in Belfast, we were really glad we did it as we got to learn a lot about the city. Next, we hopped on a train to Dundalk to explore the town of my ancestors. When we told the "information desk" staffer at the train station that my last name was (used to be!) O'Hare, he said there were "tons" of O'Hares in Dundalk and that we should just walk towards City Center and we'd find some signs to take pictures with. My Uncle John had sent us the name of PJ O'Hare's Pub, so we started asking around for that after about an hour of walking turned up no results, and surprisingly, no one had heard of it! We walked a bit more, but the city seemed to be closing down for the day and there really weren't too many people around, so we stopped in a pub to have a drink before getting back on the train. Even though we didn't find an O'Hare's Pub or sign as we had hoped, it was still fun to see another city/ town in Ireland, and especially the one that some of my family may have lived in back in the day! We also saw a few beautiful churches, including St. Patrick's, which is pictured here. By the way, back at the Dundalk train station, Kev did find a photo of some guy named Sean O'Hare, so we snapped a picture and called it a victory anyway! Honeymoon_Day_10_112.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_115.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_119.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_123.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_126.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_127.jpg

Once we arrived back in Dublin, we decided to have dinner and call it a night. Kev got lasagna, and I really wanted some of Dublin's awesome vegetable soup, but they were out, so I got a chicken panini, which turned out to be great. The atmosphere of the pub we were in was perfect - so many old decorations, candles, and a friendly vibe. They even let us snap a picture behind the bar before we left! Honeymoon_Day_10_130.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_132.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_134.jpgHoneymoon_Day_10_136.jpg

We're checking in for the night, but we'll be back tomorrow for another update! We plan to hit the Iveagh Gardens (which were closed on us a few days ago), watch the US in the World Cup, and enjoy some more Dublin culture and fun!

Posted by megandkev 15:32 Archived in Ireland Comments (3)

A Short Post...

For Today...

sunny 68 °F

So is there a button for "had too much fun to blog?" Well anyway, we had an awesome time with the Irish Music Pub Crawl tonight. During the day we visited the AMAZING Phoenix Park. We'll post some photos and some more commentary later tomorrow.... AND, on tap for tomorrow... tracking down Meg's heritage in Dundalk, and then to Belfast for a day of sightseeing! Pictures of the last two days will be posted tomorrow night!!

Posted by megandkev 15:33 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Guinness, churches, and searching for Kevin!

sunny 68 °F

Another good day in the books! We got to see a lot more of Dublin, relax, and enjoy ourselves!

After getting super tired yesterday (the jet lag finally caught up with us!), we decided to sleep in a little bit this morning, drink some coffee, and head to the gym. After the leisurely morning, we headed out on a walk over to the Guinness Brewery, and on the way stopped for a lunch at Citi Pub. Kev had a chicken/ potato/ vegetable stew type thing, and I had more vegetable soup and a shrimp salad, and I did take pictures of the food and ambiance, but I forgot to upload them in my daily camera dump, so I’ll post them tomorrow!

On the walk over to the Guinness Brewery, we stopped by one of the most gorgeous churches in Ireland – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The “backyard” to the church has a gorgeous park, and due to the nice weather, there were TONS of people hanging around, so we took a stroll through the park before entering the church. In the park there’s a stone marking the spot where St. Patrick himself baptized locals in the 5th century – pretty cool! (As a side note, do you notice the St. Patrick’s sign … sponsored by Bailey’s?? Only in Ireland!) Honeymoon_Day_9_001.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_005.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_007.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_008.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_011.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_012.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_013.jpg

Once inside the church, we got to look around for quite a while. The church is very pretty – especially considering it was originally built in the 13th century! We saw several tombs (including Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, several archbishops of early Dublin, and other influential Irish leaders). The stained glass was particularly gorgeous, although it doesn’t come out that great in pictures. I also got to light a candle for the recovery and comfort of my amazing Ama!
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After St. Patrick’s, we headed over to the Guinness Brewery. The building is set up like a giant pint glass (tall and thin-ish), and has 7 floors of exhibits, all on a self-guided and very informative tour. We learned about the very extensive brewing process (here are pictures of us with the 4 ingredients: barley, hops, yeast, and water), the history of Guinness, transportation and distribution, advertising, and much more!
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Kev's favorite part (besides the tasting!) was learning about the brewing process, while my favorite part was learning about the marketing and advertising. In the early 1900s, a doctor sent Guinness a random letter saying that he had been prescribing Guinness to his patients when he couldn't figure out what to do with them, since it made them happy, revitalized their appetites, relaxed them, and "looked pretty" (no joke) ... this turned into Guinness' long-standing slogan of "Guinness a Day ... Guinness is Good For You"!! Honeymoon_Day_9_076.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_080.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_083.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_085.jpg

After the tour, you wind up in a 360-degree glass-walled bar, with phenomenal views of the city, and they give you a free pint of Guinness. This was Kevin's version of heaven - good views and good beer (and me - haha)!
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As a side note, this statue of a hurler was somewhere within the Guinness Brewery. Hurling is some VERY strange sport played in Ireland - in our opinion, a mix of lacrosse, rugby, balancing, golf, handball, football, and track & field (OK, Kevin made me add track & field!). We watched some hurling tonight and Kev gave me the pleasure of narrating the whole thing. If you've never "had the pleasure" of watching TV with Kev narrating, it is a strange combination of incredibly cute, pretty hilarious, and extremely frustrating!!! (Holly?) Seriously though, if you haven't seen hurling, you should try to Youtube it or something - a pretty crazy sport!
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After the Guinness Tour, we went in search of St. Kevin sightings - well, his street, his park, his church, and even his mini-mart. Kev was disappointed to learn that St. Kevin's church was slightly less spectacular than St. Patrick's (in fact, St. Kevin's is simply a small "room" with locked gates, brick walls, and an open roof, including maybe 5-10 flowers total inside). But the park was very nice! It was lots of fun to see his name all over the place, too! Honeymoon_Day_9_102.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_106.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_108.jpg Honeymoon_Day_9_111.jpg

After Kevin-Fest, we went in search of the Iveagh Gardens. I had read that they were "Dublin's hidden treasure," and hidden they were! It took us about an hour of walking (and crashing the National Concert Hall to "look around" and venture into their restrooms) before we finally found the Garden's entrance ... just in time for the police to be locking it up for the night. Bummer! Good thing we'll have time to check it out another day, and now we know where it is! Instead of that, we walked through St. Stephen's Green and Grafton Street area again, and headed back to the hotel. We emailed/ called our dads (Happy Father's Day to the two BEST dads in the entire world!), and then called New Jersey to talk to my mom, Ama, Gpa, and Aunt Val. They were in the middle of looking at our wedding pictures and videos - I'm jealous! It was great to talk to them all and they are so supportive to look at every single thing we're doing (by the way, they've informed me that our blog is now at 32 pages, so I decided to make the pictures smaller today, but now that I'm looking I may like them larger ... what do you think?) In the rush, I didn't get to say Happy Father's Day to Gpa, so Happy Father's Day to my amazing and supportive grandfather!

After that, we headed to a new pub (The Three Crownes) for dinner and a drink. We watched the Brazil vs. Cote d'Ivoire World Cup game - WOW was it exciting! A few pretty CRAZY calls in there - I totally think they should go to instant replay AND somehow ban all the insane faking of injuries that goes on! One guy got hit in the arm pretty lightly, and instead grabbed his (untouched) face and rolled all over the ground acting like he was crying, causing the ref to eject the guy on the other team. The food was really good - Kev got a chicken burger and I got fresh Irish salmon with a pesto sauce - yumm!
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Tomorrow we're planning another day of exploring Dublin, this time on the hop-on/hop-off bus! Hope everyone enjoyed their weekends!

Posted by megandkev 15:04 Archived in Ireland Comments (4)

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