Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Next Stop- Guinness Factory

One of the best things that John and I did to insure that we saw everything that we wanted to see while in Dublin was the hop-on, hop-off bus tour. It takes you all over central Dublin and out to the tourist sites on the edge of town. We got to see a lot of things that we wouldn't have been able to find on our own.

The Guinness Factory was one such stop. While I can't say that it was my favorite stop while in Dublin, it's just one of those things you have to do while you are there. It is almost a national landmark in Ireland and the Guinness family really have done amazing work in the city by restoring parks, opening them for public use (this was in the 1800s), and their employees are incredibly well cared for. While the tour does not go through the actual facilities, it will give you a look into the process of making Guinness. It also gives a lot of historical information as to how Guinness began and how they grew into such a major company.

A major highlight of the tour is the "Gravity Bar". On the roof of the tour building, about 8 stories in the air, they have built a glass bar with 360 degree views of the city around you. If you would like, you can have a free pint of Guinness and if you aren't a drinker or just don't care for Guinness, a free soft drink. Cheers!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Botanical Gardens

This week I am going to continue with our highlights of Dublin. I really don't think I realized how much we did in just 2 and half days! John and I began our first full day in Dublin with the botanical gardens. We heard that it was worthwhile, saw a sign for it on our way into town, and headed in that direction.

The gardens were one of our favorite stops while we were in town. They far exceeded our expectations. The dahlia garden was my favorite spot- as you can tell if you have seen our photo albums from the trip. I think John's favorite spot would have to be the "forest" area. Not just because it had large, beautiful trees but because it also had squirrels.

For those of you who do not know, my husband loves squirrels. They may well be one of is all time favorite animals. So, the story I am about to tell you will probably go down in history as one of John's Favorite Moments. We were walking through this heavily wooded area of the gardens and noticed a squirrel. We stop and look at it for a second- and the squirrel takes off. Not in the opposite direction or up a tree, but right towards us. Beeline- right for my feet. It stopped about 4 inches from my left toe. All we could do was stare. Since we didn't fork out any food, the little guy scampered off after a second or two. John and I were continuing our walk when we spotted another squirrel. What does this little guy do- he takes off for us too! He stopped 6 inches from John's big toe. No food- so the little bushy tailed fellow starts to leave. Well, since my husband just lloooovveesss squirrels, he doesn't want to just let the little guy go. John begins to click at him thinking that this would keep his attention. It worked. The squirrel turned around, and faster than I could catch my breath, climbed John's leg. In less than 2 second the squirrel is up to John's hip. With a deft swivel of the hips- the squirrel is thrown off and with a flying leap heads for the nearest tree. All in all, giving us a really good laugh and a really good story for our Anniversary. Too bad I didn't get a picture of it!

Moral of the story- Go to the gardens and make sure you take a snack for the squirrels. (even though you probably shouldn't)

(If you look realllly close at the picture,left, you can see the squirrel)

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Churches

Something that John and I really enjoy doing when we travel is visiting the local cathedrals. Lucky for us, Dublin has a couple, Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick's Cathedral. The two were built close to the same time and in very similar styles. High vaulted ceilings, small alcoves off to the sides of the main hall, and rock walls all make for beautiful houses of worship. Also, both churches have amazing acoustics and are the home to fantastic choral groups. While we toured the inside of St. Patrick's we were lucky enough to hear one of the choirs practicing. I must say, they weren't too shabby. When you visit on your own, I would say that Christ Church is a must. The grounds are great, the inside spectacular, and the crypt tour is also fantastic. If you only have time for one- go to it. But, if you have time for both and love to look at old churches- do both. Besides, if you are lucky like John, you might be caught by two little Irish boys who want to play in the garden outside.

Photo on the left- St. Patrick's
Photo on the Right- Christ Church

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

St. Stephen's Green

One of my favorite stops while we were in Dublin was without a doubt St. Stephen's Green. The huge, old trees to picnic under paired with the duck pond and formal gardens are so relaxing. It is a great refuge from the bustle of the city around you and while walking around you can honestly forget that you are in one of the busiest areas of Dublin. My favorite part to be sure were the fall leaves. Since we are mostly surrounded by palm trees in Nice, it was so so nice just to see the yellows and oranges of fall.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two in One Day AKA Trinity College

I had no idea that I had not made a single post in the month of October. Due to this horrible lack of effort on my part- today will be called "two for the price of one" day. In the course of one visit to the blog- you get not just one, but two tidbits of writing from me.

The first stop that John and I made after checking into our B&B was Trinity College. (Ok, second stop if you count lunch at Burger King.) The campus is incredibly old, very historical, and covered in young Irish college students. Founded in the 14th century on the grounds of an abandoned monastery, Trinity is considered the oldest college in Ireland. This ancient school is also the home to some really really ancient books, which is the real reason to visit. For a fee, you can see the Book of Kells, Book of Howth, and maybe a few others. Some of you may be wondering why would you want to see these books and you may even be thinking that since you have never heard of them they must not be all that important. Ah, but they are!

The Book of Kells is a 9th century copy of the gospels, written in Latin, made by celtic monks in Ireland. It is elaborate, beautifully illustrated, and falling apart all at the same time. John is really interested in church history, so this was just fantastic for him. But, it was equally great for me, too. There is something breathtaking about the care that was taken to write the scriptures down- when most people didn't have a single page of the Bible, much less the 4 or 5 Bibles we all seem to have laying around now. The work that was placed in each page, the reverence, diligence and dedication that they had to have. Amazing.

Needless to say, Trinity college and the Book of Kells would be a highly recommended attraction! It has the "Halliburton Stamp of Approval".

The Emerald Isle

Well, I haven't blogged in quite some time. Honestly, until last week there hasn't been a lot going on. But, I have decided that over the next few days I will be giving you some details from our trip to Ireland- places we visited, what we loved, what our favorite parts were, and what we would highly recommend you to do if you decide to visit. Our anniversary celebration was absolutely fantastic and I can honestly say-stuffy nose and all- we loved every minute. Two years of marriage definitely has gone by fast- but it has been an amazing. Wouldn't know what to do without that hubby of mine!