Tag Archives: Dublin

Day 6 – Dublin, Trinity College, and Canal Dinner Cruise

Today was probably one of the best days of the tour so far!  We got to sleep in a little bit and then hopped in the bus to head to a quick tour of Dublin.  We stopped at Trinity College and got out for a guided tour of some of the campus with a Trinity professor.  We got to go in and look at the Book of Kells (an old, ornate copy of the Gospels).  We also got to view the beautiful library that is full of ancient books.  I took lots of pictures in there and would’ve spent much more time had we not had a full schedule.

Next, we took a short bus ride over to the Guinness factory where they brew Guinness beer.  We got an informative tour as to the process that it takes to brew the beer as well as the history of the company.  Arthur Guinness signed a lease on the space for the Guiness factory for 9,000 years.  The Guinness family was also responsible for leading the restoration of a cathedral in the area years ago as well.  We received some recipes on how to cook with Guinness beer that looked very yummy!  At the end of the tour, everyone received a free pint of Guinness.  Mom and I got sodas instead but it was fascinating watching how the bartenders pour 3/4 of the beer and let it set so that the nitrogen rises and makes the foamy head on the beer.  Then they top it off and make a pattern on top of the head in the shape of a shamrock or a cross.  It was cool to watch.  The area where they serve the beer is on the 7th floor in a circular glass room overlooking all of Dublin.

We were given a choice to spend some free time in Dublin or head back to the hotel for a while.  Mom and I decided we would stay in the city and go see St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  We walked through the shopping district on our way and I found some amazing ice cream!  They had all kinds of flavors.  I got a big cone with 3 scoops.  Along the walk we saw a few neat things: The Gotham Cafe, a pub called Captain America’s Dublin, St. Andrew’s Street, and a Disney store as well.  Some break dancing street performers did a show that was pretty neat so we stood there and watched for a that before continuing on to the cathedral.

As we walked onto the grounds of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, it was a beautiful park with flowers, benches, and lots of grass.  We took some pictures outside and sat on a bench for a few minutes before heading inside.  Inside was beautiful stone and stained glass.  It was a little strange because most of the plaques, statues, and things we saw around the chapel turned out to be fairly modern in recognition of people who contributed money to maintaining the cathedral.  We walked around and looked at the different rooms and the stained glass in the cathedral and took some pictures.  We left early to make sure we got back in plenty of time and ended up getting back 20 minutes before the bus so we walked through a few shops while waiting.

The bus picked us up at 5:45 pm and we headed to a canal dinner cruise.  The canal is pretty small so I was wondering what the cruise would be like. It turned out to be a highlight of the trip.  The boat was very nice and fit everyone quite well.  The food was fantastic.  Mom and I both had vegetable soup as an appetizer, Guinness beef stew for our main course, and then for dessert I had warm apple pie with ice cream and Mom had a Bailey’s cheesecake.  Throughout dinner we were able to wander up to the deck and watch as the captain manually opened and closed the locks to allow us to move up the canal.  We probably only went about a mile or two in a little over an hour.  The canal is about 100 miles long.  It was really neat watching how the locks worked.  There was also an older Irish guy on the boat with a guitar who sang traditional Irish songs over dinner and then performed some songs that we all knew so we could join in.  Everyone on the trip talked favorably about this cruise and I’d highly recommend www.canalboatrestaurant.ie if you’re ever in Dublin, Ireland.

After dinner we went back to the hotel to get ready for bed.  Breakfast at 7 am tomorrow and then off to Blarney Castle and Killarney.

Pictures from today can be viewed at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/94310362@N03/sets/72157644525631893/

Day 5 – Ferry from Scotland to Ireland and the Titanic Museum

Our 5th day of the trip we had to get up early to get on the road in order to make it to the ferry on time.  We weren’t quite sure what to expect but it turned out to be awesome!  The ferry service is through a company called StenaLine.  Their ship reminded us of a smaller cruise ship – it wasn’t that much smaller though!  Our tour bus pulled in and there were huge tractor trailers, cars, other buses, motorcycles, and campers on there.  We went up the stairs and it went from a floating parking garage to a cruise ship!  There was a restaurant, spa, shopping, lounge areas, a kid’s play area, arcade, movie theater, and other cool stuff.  It was a great way to pass a couple hours.  I looked up the pricing and it wasn’t too bad at all if you’re ever looking at touring Scotland and Ireland.  They ferry to other locations as well.  We ate lunch on the ship and then when the time came, we got back on the bus and drove off onto Ireland!

Shortly after pulling off the ferry, we pulled up to the Titanic museum.  It just opened in 2012 on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s voyage.  The building was built to be as tall as the ship would have been and it put things in perspective.  The experience was very interactive and it taught us a lot.  The building is built on the spot where the Titanic was originally constructed.  Outside of the building, steel poles stand where the frame was erected to build the ship.  I went out and walked some of that space to get a feel for just how big the ship was and to take some pictures.  We would highly recommend any visitors to Belfast to visit the museum.

When we left the museum, we got on the road toward Dublin.  Mom enjoyed looking at the countryside and listening to our guide.  I’m still not adjusted to the time yet and fell asleep on the road.  On our way, we stopped at a gas station that had a Burger King inside.  I have been craving some ice cream and Burger King had something similar to a McFlurry that had Kit Kats in it.  I went right up and bought one.  As I was finishing the ice cream, someone else from the tour was walking around with hand scooped ice cream that was made locally in Ireland.  Of course, I couldn’t pass that up so I had to get some of that too!  Back on the road toward the hotel.

As we drove through Dublin, we could see that the tide was out and the level that it dropped was amazing.  Our guide said the difference between low and high tide is around 14 feet!  It left hundreds of yards of “beach” exposed that would be covered completely by water when the tide came in.  We sat through some traffic and then pulled up to the Royal Marine Hotel.  It’s a beautiful hotel right on the Irish Sea.  We were on our own for dinner tonight so after calling home we decided to go downstairs to the pub in the hotel for dinner.  I had Fish and Chips and Mom had a club sandwich.  I’m pretty sure it had bacon on it and she loves that here.  It looks more like a slice of ham and is pretty salty, which she loves.  We’re going to get some rest tonight and we don’t have to be out of the room until 7:45 tomorrow!  We’re touring Dublin tomorrow and going on a cruise.

Photos from today can be found at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/94310362@N03/sets/72157644415286436/