A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: tanyatyler

Slainte

Day 13

It's our last day here in Ireland and we are spending it touring Dublin on a hop on hop off tour bus. Bennett was pumped because
It was a double decker. We saw sights such as St. Patrick's Church, Christ's Church and a bunch of other things. I know that's not specific but Ireland is just so old that there is so much history here and hard for us to follow sometimes! The highlight of our day and the number one attraction in Dublin is the Guinness tour. I don't like beer but I have to admit it was really good actually (the tour, not the beer). They have been brewing Guinness for 250 years..that's older than Canada! When the founder first started the brewery he had so much faith in it that he signed a 9000 year lease. They used to employ 5000 people and have residences for the employees and their families but nowadays they employ 800 because of automation taking away jobs. The tour itself is in a 7 floor building which from the inside is supposed to looked like a pint glass apparently. They have a few floors explaining the process of making the beer but it was all in a really cool format that kept you (and the kids) entertained..ie. there was a small waterfall, lots of videos, and props like trains. The third
floor is dedicated to tasting. We got there just in time for a tasting demonstration where they pass out a cup filled with a type of Guinness (for free) and a master brewer talks about to drink it, and what you should taste. Right before we enters the room there was a little stall selling pretzels so we bought one for Bennett and that happily entertained him during the brief tasting. At the end, a viking on a drum started drumming and all the servers jumped up on some small stages scattered across the room and on the hardwood floor in the middle and did some Irish dancing..it was awesome actually. Tyler was at the bar ordering and somehow missed this! Tyler also got a little flight of 3 different types of Guinness (which was included in the ticket price. As we left the tasting room we walked by the pretzels again and before we could stop it..like ok the blink of an eye, Bennett had run over to it and taken a pretzel off a stand and bit into it. We faced a moral dilemma...nobody saw him except one person in line. Our options were to wait in line to pay for the stolen pretzel or
walk away like it never happened. We are not perfect...lol...I pretended to take money from Tyler's hand and walk to the line and when the one person who saw the burglary was out of sight we walked quickly away. The next floor was a Guinness academy where they teach you how to put a perfect pint and then you get a certificate..it sounded fun but the place was getting so crazy busy and we didn't wait in line. The next few floors had restaurants and the 7th floor was the gravity bar. The entire floor was encased in glass and you had awesome views of Dublin. You also got a pint of Guinness included with your ticket (we you get either the flight of beer from the tasting room on this pint but we had two tickets so we did one of each). Periodically everyone would cheers. They definitely know how to put on a good show. I did have a bit of beer but Tyler "had" to drink most of it so was feeling good by the end of the tour and the stolen pretzel was definitely a nice accompaniment to soak up some alcohol. Bennett had said he wanted to try it so we said ok and he dipped his finger in it and was too scared to try it and put his finger in Clark's mouth of course! Clark was a fan. We then jumped back on the bus and headed to Phoenix park which is a huge park where the Dublin zoo is, and where the president lives. We had lunch in a little tea room and played outside on the grass for a bit. Bennett has learned how to roll down hills on this trip. We hopped back on the bus and went to O'Connell street which is the Main Street in Ireland and widest street in Europe. It has pedestrian streets coming of or it with lots of shopping, tonnes of people and bridges to cross over the river. By this time both the boys were asleep in the stroller so we enjoyed a donut and a quiet stroll amid the chaos of the crowds (sshhh don't tell them). We ended the day at Dublin castle and out for dinner. What was our last dinner you might wonder? Italian.

We have a flight tomorrow at 10am, whish us luck in containing Clark for 7 hours when all he wants to do is crawl.

A few things we learned while here.
Slainte means cheers.
Twenty five percent of the population died during the potato famine.
Ireland was liberated from the British in 1916.
There really are a lot of red heads.

And in case your wondering, Tyler did learn how to drive quite well on the wrong side of the road, in a manual car, on unfamiliar roads, with children crying and asking questions...

Tyler's favorite part of the trip was the coastal drive from Doolin to Galway. My favorite was either our time at the Dromoland castle or staying in Doolin...oh wait maybe also the jaunting car to the GAO of Dunloe. When we ask Bennett be just says "piggies" and well Clark, he liked the food and has learned how to feed himself off a spoon (a silver spoon of course!).

As with any trip, we've had a great time but are ready to come home (although Bennett may not agree and well maybe not me either). This trip signals the end of maternity leave for me and I head back to work in a week so I feel dread and sadness. These last few weeks have been a little love affair with my cute little family and I feel fortunate that we are able to do this. I'm trying to put things into perspective though by reminding myself that I love being able to travel and now that we have kids I have so many places I want to take them so going back to work is a necessary evil to be able to finance that!

Thanks for reading along with our travels and hope to write again soon....destination unknown.

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Posted by tanyatyler 13:49 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Bar fight

Day 12

Day 12

We left Galway this morning to drive to our final destination, Dublin! It was about a 2.5 hour drive which the kids slept most of the way for. Our first stop was a park in the middle of the city sort of like a smaller version of Central Park called St. Stephens Green. There are benches and fountains, birds, lots of tulips and colourful flowers. There was a huge playground for kids that we spent most of our time in. Bennett had to pee so I ran him to a bush to pee on a tree. I pulled his pants all the way down and I could just hear laughing. A school class was walking by at that exact moment and all the kids were laughing at his bare bum tree peeing...he didn't know they were laughing at him but I felt so bad!!! We had a picnic lunch from sandwiches we stole from the buffet breakfast this morning :). Tyler says I'm officially a real mom; putting food in my backpack to make sandwiches for later and last night I complained about my food at a restaurant for the first time. For the record though I didn't really complain I just said my Caesar salad dressing had a lot of dressing and politely asked for some more lettuce to try to soak it up. We are staying at an airbnb apartment while in Dublin so we went to go check in there. It's on a main street right across Dublin Castle, and city hall, and down the street from Trinity college. Bennett and Clark are loving the location because they can stand in the large window which is just above street level and watch all the double decker buses zoom by (and there are a lot). It's super noisy though. As I write this, it is night time and I can hear a band playing in the theatre next door, people cheering and car horns. Tyler tried to plug in the sound machine and it's not clear to me what happened but the voltage was wrong and it burned up. Clark is asleep next to it, Bennett is in bed right beside it trying to fall asleep. It smelled awful so Tyler opened the window to the very noisy street and right at that moment the owner of the apartment comes back because she forgot to give us a duvet for Bennetts bed so now she can smell the burning and Bennett is afraid someone is going to come into his bed while he is sleeping. Anyways back to our day. We headed back out to Temple bar which is the name of a popular pedestrian street lined with pubs and live music. Locals consider is a tourist trap and the one thing I've been told is not to have a drink or food there because it is so overpriced. When we got there though it was hard to resist. One place had fantastic live music that you could hear from the outside so we stopped in for just one drink. It even had a leprechaun outside..well really it was a man in a leprechaun costume who wanted one euro for a picture with him. Tyler watched him and lady get into a fight (she wanted to pay only 50 cents and this leprechaun was not in a bargaining mood). It was fantastic music..they were playing Irish versions of songs like "stand by me". Bennett was wearing his brand new Ireland shirt propped up on a bar stool drinking his water set upon a coaster, quite the cute scene. Tyler has been trying different beers while we have been in Ireland, his favorite being the "White Hag SPA" and I've been tasting ciders. We then headed to Grafton street which is another pedestrian street but this one lined with high end stores that we don't really have an interest in...so I only went into a chocolate shop to try out some truffles as a little before dinner snack. We walked quite a ways back to our place while also trying to find somewhere to eat. It was tough because we don't really want to go to a pub but all the restaurants seem more high end of pretty packed with people since it's a Friday night. Dublin seems very different from every other place we've been. It's much more multicultural, loud and crowded, basically a big European city which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just different, definitely won't be running into any farm animals here!

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Posted by tanyatyler 14:23 Comments (0)

Swan Lake

Day 11

Today we are in Galway city, a major harbour city of Ireland. We weren't in any sort of rush today so we started off the morning by spending time in the hotel pool..the first time on this trip. The odd thing about this is that everyone is required to wear a swimming cap and if you don't have one you have to buy one. This is a rule at all pools in Ireland. They want to keep the chlorine levels as low as possible and so don't want the oils from the shampoos and gels in people's hair to cause a need for more chlorine. So we all wore swimming caps...except for Clark, they didn't have any small enough. Bennett looked super cute. We then headed into the city. There are a number of pedestrian streets again filled with very colourful shops, lots of people and buskers. The people performing are definitely better than you would see in Hamilton, these street performers are actually really good, and Tyler even bought a CD off one of the groups. Well they were all good except for two Irish guys trying to rap to Eminem. We also used this time to look into buying some souvenirs. Oh no that means our trip is almost over! If you know us well, you will know that Tyler and I do not like souvenir shopping but we did pretty well..in one store lol. Tyler bought a pair of green sheep socks, I bought a little canvas bag with sheep for library books, Clark got a little stuffed sheep (I'm noticing a pattern here) and Bennett picked out a green double decker bus for himself. We tried to check out and read a little bit of history about some of the important landmarks (there were only a few). We actually went into a shopping mall that had part of a medieval wall in it which was kind of cool, and stopped at a famous bridge, strolled around the canal and took some pics of the cathedral. We stopped by the water and saw some swans. We didn't have any bread but told Bennett we could get some at lunch and come back (assuming he wouldn't remember). While we ate lunch a little later, he was eating a sandwich and suddenly reminded himself to save all of his bun for the swans..so cute. We walked back to the swans to feed them and about 10 swans came to us and one was being aggressive and biting all the others!! Awful swan!, my opinion of swans has now changed. We jumped in the car for a few more minutes and stopped in "Salthill" which is a little seaside resort area right next to Galway city. It has a series of beaches divided by rocky divides. It was too cold to emojify the beaches so we went to a small little carnival area and Bennett wrote on his first little roller coaster and bumper cars! We also stopped at a playground and have officially been to every playground in Ireland now. We are sort of sick of eating pub food so we are on the hunt for different food to eat. We had a delicious lamb pita wrap at a Turkish shop for lunch and the worst ever chicken caesar salad for dinner.

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Posted by tanyatyler 14:22 Archived in Ireland Tagged galwaycity Comments (1)

Rocky moments

Day 10

Day 10

Today is our last day of the Irish countryside. We started off by heading to a cave. We walked down 80ft and through a series of tunnels to reach the main attraction which was a giant stalactite which basically looks like a giant icicle hanging from the ceiling of a cave (it's made of calcium carbonate and is about 24 feet tall) I know it sounds pretty lame but was actually quite interesting. We were told we would have to leave the cave if the kids cried because the vibrations of the cry could cause it to fall...so gladly they didn't but also it seemed very unlikely that a cry could do this as they used to have a band playing down there. We then went back to the coast to drive the narrow winding roads to our final destination which was Galway city. To the left we had the Atlantic ocean but there was also a new landscape for this part of the drive. The area is called "the burren" and used to be the bottom of the ocean 325 million years ago but now looks like huge area covered in large flat limestone rocks with huge cracks in between. We pulled over and walked about the rocks for a bit, Bennett enjoyed jumping over the cracks. We then jumped back in the car and stopped at the Fanore beach which had golden sand and sand dunes. I was hoping to play in the same a bit but it was too windy for Bennett to enjoy the area. We made another stop at Flaggy shores which was a small peninsula covered in rocks some of which have fossils and markings on them from millions of years ago (such as a sea urchin fossil embedded in a rock). We then went around the corner to a small seaside fishing village for lunch at a lobster bar. Right outside the restaurant you can watch a fishing boat come in and out to bring the fresh fish to the restaurant. Bennett and Tyler were able to watch a little boy catch a crab. Lunch was awesome. We had crab cakes, crab claws in butter, smoked salmon, prawns, mussels, and clams. I think it has been my favorite meal so far. We then went to an ice cream shop at a nearby dairy farm. The old Irish farmer who owned it came to talk to us but his accent was so thick we barely understood what he was saying. We were on our way again and went to a nature sanctuary. Bennett had been saying he wasn't feeling well (and we weren't sure if we should believe him) but when he didn't even want to see the pigs there we knew something was up. He did eventually play a bit but we soon left and made it to our hotel in Galway city. He has a fever but seemed to feel better after some medication. We will see how our last few days ago.

As a side note we have learned about some new sports . We have seen a bunch of different people holding sticks that sort of look like lacrosse stick thing crossed with a baseball bat. We finally stopped someone to ask what spot it was and apparently a very popular sport is called "Hurling". We will have to YouTube this. large_90_IMG_1937.jpglarge_IMG_1905.jpglarge_90_IMG_1898.jpglarge_IMG_1897.jpglarge_90_IMG_1878.jpglarge_90_IMG_1876.jpg
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Posted by tanyatyler 13:37 Comments (2)

Moher Whining

Day 9

Day 9

We are in Doolin again today. In case anyone was sitting at the edge of their seat to find out what happened, it's safe to say that Tyler did indeed pay for his little whisky tasting fiasco this morning at about 5am. Also, I do indeed have lots of bruising from the shotgun! We went from eating breakfast at a castle yesterday to this morning having our own kitchen but no groceries. We scrounged together a breakfast of squished granola bars and bananas from our bags. We took a walk into the Main Street of Doolin. The Main Street has about 5 shops but during the walk you can hear sheep baa-ing, see cows nearby grazing and a donkey just hanging around. I'm not making it out to seem very good but it really is very quaint and really feels like we are living like Irish countrymen! We picked up some lunch for later on and made our way to the pier. Today is our Cliffs of Moher day. I'm sure you've seen pictures of it. You will recognize it when you see it. We jumped on a ferry to see the cliffs from the sea first. The weather was good and everything but both Tyler and I agreed that it was hard to get perspective on how big the cliffs are from the bottom of them. They sort of just looked like cliffs. We then walked back to our apartment and drove to the top of the cliffs. They are 8km tall and have many different peaks. They have over a million visitors a year and so there are nicely made paths and walkways. It was sunny today so the water beneath seemed to be glistening in the light. Things fell apart a little bit with Bennett with this one and I think our late night out last night really caused some serious whines this afternoon. Tyler called the cliffs the "cliffs of whines". We played a bit in a playground and as a side note many playground here have zip lines which is fun! We had an early dinner and made sure the kids were asleep earlier today.

As an update, we have tried a few more Irish dishes. We had cabbage and bacon which is sort of like back bacon with steamed cabbage topped with a bechamel sauce. I thought it was pretty good., Tyler not so mucus. We've had seafood chowder and smoke salmon which were yummy and fish and chips which were just ok. The worst thing we have had so far has been black pudding which is a blood sausage made with animal blood and fat...so gross.
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Posted by tanyatyler 13:42 Comments (1)

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