The long time coming and much anticipated travel update is here!
I wish I could say that the for last few months Pete and I have been so busy with travels that we didn’t possibly have time to update our website but alas the truth is there’s been very little to report on. We’ve really had a very quiet few months with working, church activities, chilling with new friends and all that goes along with keeping life ticking over. We’ve discovered the delight that is the Nintendo Wii and if we could have bought one we would have but it’s probably best that you can’t get hold of them here so we can save our pennies!
It seems like its been a very long build up to Christmas with decorations in the shops by August/September & with any international post needing to be sent so soon. We decided that we would stay in Newcastle for Christmas as it’s the closest we have to a home and thought it would be nice to be around for local Christmas activities. We instead decided to take a pre-Christmas break and heading to Dublin for a long weekend on bargain Ryan Air flights!
So that brings us onto Dublin…
Dublin was great for a weekend city break. We didn’t feel that we were very well prepared when we arrived but armed with our guide books we set about exploring after arriving on Saturday morning.
Saturday was spent strolling around the city centre. We did a nice walk along the river, found an interesting Christmas market before having our first Irish stew for tea and heading to a quaint quiet pub for our first Guinness.
Sunday again we spent mostly in the city centre. We went to the Chester Beatty Library where there was an amazing collection of ancient holy books and good views over Dublin castle. we did a tour of Dublin castle which in itself was an interesting building but brought to light some of Ireland’s turbulent past and strained relationship with the English prior to gaining independence.
Monday we hired a rental car and headed out into the countryside. It was a really frosty morning which made for especially beautiful scenery. We headed over the Sally Gap mountains (other wise known as hills!) to Glendalough which is the site of an ancient monastery before driving back to Dublin via the Blessington lakes. Fab day out topped off by a nice meal out to celebrate our third wedding anniversary.
Tuesday we caught a bus to the coast just North of Dublin and did a clifftop walk around Howth before heading back to Dublin to enjoy a couple of hours listening to live Irish music at a traditional Irish pub. Great fun.
Our travel blogs usually begin and end with dramas getting to and from our destinations but this time all our connections in both directions went smoothly. Whether the luck of the Irish rubbed off on us or we’ve learnt from our mistakes remains to be seen. I guess only time will tell.
A note from Pete. It was a great weekend, though a bit cold (in Newcastle it’s colder but you don’t go outside for more than a few minutes). I just had a couple of impressions.
The first was the number of beggars around the streets. You couldn’t go twenty metres without seeing another one. Do they not have a social welfare system in Ireland? I would think so. It seemed more likely to me that these ‘less fortunate’ were actually perfectly well off, just trying to swindle tourists out of their money.
The other thing was crossing streets. Coming in on the bus we noticed people constantly crossing in front of it. “Why does no one cross at the crossings?” We asked ourselves. The reason is that in Dublin, for some reason you seem to be constantly crossing streets. I’ve never noticed this before in any other European city. But almost inevitably, wherever you wanted to go, you would have to cross at least ten streets.