Like many other travelers to Ireland, our introduction to the country began in Dublin. As we approached the city center on our ride from the airport to the hotel there were pedestrians everywhere and they were not afraid to step out in front of traffic. Our driver told us “In Dublin, jaywalking is a hobby.”
After a good night’s sleep and a full Irish breakfast we were ready to to explore Dublin. Our first stop was Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the Long Room of the Old Library.
The Book of Kells is a beautifully handwritten and elaborately decorated book of the four Gospels. The work was done by monks and it is estimated to have been done around the year 800. There are interesting displays describing how it was made and samples of the many illustrations. The book itself is kept under glass in a special room with no photography allowed.
Upstairs from the Book of Kells is the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen. I could have spent all day in the Long Room of the Old Library surrounded by all the old books.
I heard one story that there was a scene in one of the Star Wars movies inspired by this room. I also heard it was the inspiration for the library in Harry Potter.
As we strolled through the Trinity College campus we stopped to listen to singers perform. Our wandering continued to the River Liffey where we walked across the Ha’Penny Bridge and back before strolling through the Temple Bar District. Later we toured the Guinness Brewery and enjoyed a pint at their Gravity Bar.
We stopped to listen to the talented singers as we strolled around Trinity College
Ha’Penny Bridge across the River Liffey, Dublin
These locks are placed on the Ha’Penny bridge by lovers. To profess their undying love after placing the lock they throw the key into the River Liffey
Beside the River Liffey, Dublin
Sláinte! My first taste of Guinness at the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Distillery
Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland and Ireland’s largest city. We enjoyed our time there but were anxious to see other parts of Ireland.
After picking up our rental car on the outskirts of town we got lost (the first of several times) before finding the right road to Galway, our home for the next 3 nights. Galway is bigger than I thought it would be but much smaller than Dublin. Our hotel in Galway was located on Eyre Square in the center of town within walking distance of Quay Street and the Latin Quarter. There were many shops, pubs, restaurants, a waterfront, and the Spanish Arch to explore.
Quay Street Galway
Eyre Square, Galway
Spanish Arch, Galway
Next up, scenic drives along Ireland’s Atlantic Coast.
Three days after returning home from a three week trip to Ireland and Scotland I’m still a little jet lagged, haven’t finished unpacking, and just started going through the 3,000 photos I took.
Ireland has always been at the top of our bucket list. Henry and I both have Irish ancestors and I have ancestors from Scotland so we planned our trip to see both countries.
I loved everything – the people, the jaw dropping scenery, the green fields and mountains, the sheep and cows, the castles, the churches and cathedrals, everything! And yes, Ireland really is that green! Here are a few photos from our first days in Ireland.
Dunguaire Castle, just outside Kinvara, Ireland on Galway Bay
Yes, there really are thatched roofs in Ireland
Scenic Ring of Kerry tour on the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Dingle Peninsula, west coast of Ireland
We traveled by planes, trains, automobiles, a ferry, and even a horse drawn jaunting car. We rented a car to get around and took a few bus tours along the way. We walked along spectacular cliffs, drove on narrow winding roads, stopped at castles and even did laundry at a gas station in a Scottish village. We watched a sheep dog demonstration, petted some sheep, and fed a Highland Cow. We stayed in hotels in city centers, bed and breakfasts away from town, and a castle. We sampled local beers and whiskeys in the pubs. For three weeks we ate a huge full breakfast every day and dined on delicious seafood and beef dishes at night.