Friday, February 22, 2013

Emerald Isle Visit!

This past weekend, I went to Dublin for my friend, Arielle's Birthday!

My return to the Emerald Isle after a year two-year hiatus ended when Arielle, Jenny, and I touched down Thursday evening. We had quite the journey to the London Stansted airport. The three of us met up at 5pm on Thursday to catch an EasyBus to London Stansted. For those of you who do not know, London Stansted is out of the city, and much harder to get to than Gatwick or Heathrow. We were scheduled on the 5:30pm bus. Yet, it got to be 5:40pm, and there was still no bus.  When I gave the customer service phone number a call, it was automated with no option of talking to a human. Finally, when it got to be 6pm, and we were concerned about missing our flight, we bought a ticket on a National Express bus to Stansted. We thought our troubles were over, but that was just the beginning. 

As the National Express bus started whisking us out of central London, we suddenly stopped at the Golders Green Station. The bus driver kindly informed us that there had been a major accident, and that the main road to Stansted was closed. As we realized that we would most likely miss our flight, we figured that we would get to the airport and buy another single flight to Dublin. Since we were flying a budget airline, it costs more to change a flight than normal airlines.  

We made it to the airport with roughly 30 minutes to spare to get our passports checked, make it through security, and to our gate. Needless to say, we were sprinting for those 30 minutes. But, we made it with time to spare! After I kindly told a Ryanair employee he was wrong about the cabin baggage policies, we boarded, and we were on our way! 

The Birthday Girl!
The first night, the four of went out to grab some quick food before checking out the Temple Bar area. Lots of memories from 2010! We listened to some live music at one pub before belting out classic songs such as "Sweet Caroline" at the final pub of the evening! 


On Friday, Emma arrived right after we got an early lunch. From there, we headed off to the Guinness Factory for the tour. Don't worry, we mastered the pouring of a proper Guinness at the Guinness Factory!

Making Walpoles Proud since 1990
Post Guinness, we headed down to the Jameson Factory. I was super excited about this one because I never got a chance to do it in 2010. The tour was quite interesting with a taste test at the end. The five of us volunteered to choose what our favorite whiskey was. I was the only one in the person to choose Jack Daniels over Jameson!


Friday evening, we went out to get traditional Irish food. A meal of potato and leek soup and bangers and mash held us over as we headed out to the Temple Bar area again! Live music and lots of laugh for the rest of the evening.

St. Patrick's Cathedral
Saturday, Arielle, Jenny, and I decided to make our own walking tour of the city. We started on Grafton Street, made our way to St. Patrick's Cathedral and Christ Church, and then stumbled across a market in the Temple Bar area. On our walk, we came across a free concert by the band, Key West! I had never heard of them before, but their CD has officially been bought! 

Key West
Traditional Fish and Chips
On Sunday, we booked a day trip out to the Wicklow Mountains and Glenadough. While the tour guide and the tour itself was not the greatest by any standard, we got to see some amazing sights before our flight back to London and reality.  

Wicklow Mountains 


Glenadough 

Overall, the weekend was worth it. Arielle got to have an awesome birthday experience. And, I'm looking forward to seeing more of the countryside of Ireland next month with my Dad.