Summer is here! We spent our vacation in Ireland 🙂 I think we caught the Dublin summer, it was sunny for most of the time, although a lot colder than the summer we are used to in Sofia :)) We were invited by our very good friends Lacho and Keta, who went to live in Ireland 5 years ago.
After the invitation and a little research on Irish summer weather, I started knitting an Irish sweater – Luck has nothing to do with it. It was going to be awesome to wear it in Ireland, but my husband said it would take too much space in our luggage, so I left it behind. But never mind, I’ll wear it in the winter and I’ll remember all the fun we had in Ireland:))
I was not sure what are the security regulations at Sofia airport, so I didn’t bring hooks or needles to knit during the flight to Dublin.
Day 1 – Distilleries and Irish Rock and Roll museum
In Dublin, we had a very ambitious sightseeing plan by days and hours and public transport 😀 We had bought Dublin Pass for 3 days and for the first day we decided to do the Hop on hop off bus + 3 distilleries and 2 museums!! Ambitious, right 😀 We were in downtown at about 9.30, we left our luggage at a tourist office and we hopped on the bus. I guess the Hop on hop off bus had to be fun, and it was for the first 30 mins, but there was a lot of traffic. Anyway, we managed to get to Teelings distillery, one of the first (or was it THE first) distilleries that has opened in Dublin since they all closed in the 70’s. We learned a lot about whiskey history, whiskey making and the Teelings distillery itself. It’s a small distillery and Connor, the guide, showed us all of it. We also had a degustation included in the pass, so we tried some Teelings whiskey and a cocktail.
From there we walked to Guinness Storehouse. To be honest, I thought it’s a brewery, not a museum, so I was a bit surprised 😀 And it is very very big. The tour is self guided and we visited halls that show ingredients, process, water , facts about alcohol and then we had another tasting. We had lunch there, with included free beer in the pass.
From there we went to Jameson’s museum. Our tour guide was Aiofe and she told us a lot about the rich Jameson history. There was a lot of animation and I loved it. We also had 3 drinks to taste – Scotch whisky, double distilled, Jameson’s triple distilled and American whisky one time distilled. To be honest, if I drink them one by one, I may not find a difference, lol, that’s how good of a drinker I am. But when they were together, one after another, there was a significant difference.
After that we had some time to visit the Irish Rock n Roll museum. For rock/metal fans like me and my husband, that was amazing tour. Brian was a great guide. We learned a lot about Irish music and Irish bands (some of them we knew, some of them were new to us). I must say that I was overwhelmed when I sat behind the recording/mixing machine with its 3749452 buttons. The museum is also an active studio and this analog machine can be used to record songs!!
Day 2 – National Museums + Dublinia and Dublin Castle
On the second day we had a plan to see the National Library, the National Museum of Archaeology and the National Museum of Natural History, Dublinia and Dublin Castle. I don’t have many pictures inside the museum, as I was not feeling good and didn’t have much enthusiasm to shoot, sorry.
In the library, visit for tourists is allowed in the hall and in the reading room.
The Archaeology museum is a lot bigger than I thought it was while reading tripadvisor reviews 😀 So plan more time for there, our hour was not enough. The most interesting thing for me were the bog bodies, sacrificed people that became mummified in the bogs.
In the Museum of Natural History I was very impressed to see a giant deer and a giant shark! Also, a lot of the animals seem common in Europe, because we have the same here in our Natural History museum 😀 Of course, we don’t have puffins in the south, or seals…but yeah, most of the birds and mammals are common.
Dublinia was awesome. To be honest, I didn’t know that Vikings were part of Ireland’s history. The museum gives you and idea of how Dublin was established as a small trading place by the Vikings and how it grew to become a major city on the island. A small part of viking life is shown,what they wore, what runes they used. We also saw some medieval markets, houses, and of course an exhibition about the plague.
Dublin castle’s apartments are very pretty. I felt like in a gallery 😀 a lot of art work displayed, very beautiful ceilings, very beautiful furniture. To be honest, I didn’t like the heraldry room, that weird match between gold, blue and white just hurt my eyes. But I guess it’s very royal 😀
Day 3 – Book of Kells, The Wax Museum, Irish writers museum and Dublin Prison Museum
The Book of Kells is a very important treasure to Irish culture and history. I was amazed to see the calligraphy and the pictures the monks did. The bad thing is that there are a lot of tourists 😀 and it is hard to spend some time around the book to admire. It is also forbidden to take pictures of it, so I have only pictures of reproducted pages in big scale. We also saw the old library of Trinity college, magical place.
The Wax museum was great. I loved the Star Wars figures, but there is a lot more to the museum. The room with Irish writers is like going back in time to sit in a cafe and talk to them…There is a hall with musicians, politicians, science and discovery and super heroes and animation characters. There is a hall with Irish legends. And, of course, the horror hotel was a lot of fun:D But that is surely not for younger children, beware.
Dublin Writers Museum is great for anyone interested in literature. I graduated with BA in French literature, so I love, love reading about authors, looking at books, learning about history. The tour includes an audio guide and that helps a lot. I learned about Irish women writers and struggles to be published and to express themselves.
Next we went to the Prison museum – Kilmainham Gaol. The tours for the day were sold out, but we were let for free to see the museum. A lot to learn there about prisoner’s quality of life, Irish Famine and the Easter rising. It is not a very big museum. The hall with the last words of the prisoners from the Easter rising made me cry .
That was Sunday, after the Metallica concert, so my husband needed a bit of a rest. So we visited just 2 places – the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Leprechaun Museum.
The National Gallery has some great art on display. I loved seeing Picasso, Vermeer, Sisley in real life:)) We also saw an exhibition called: Nathaniel Hone: Travels of a Landscape Artist and I liked it, I think it’s worth seeing.
The National Leprechaun museum is a place of dark stories. 🙂 They have a day and a night tour and day tour is supposed to be more fun. It’s dark, people! The stories are dark 😀 I can’t imagine what the night tour would be 😀 But it was a good way to learn a bit more about Irish legends and foklore, fairies, leprechauns and battles.
We went also to a neighbourhood called Dun Laoghaire near the marina and the bay. Very pretty place. It would be even cooler, if it wasn’t raining 😀
Day 5 – Cliffs of Moher
On the 5th day we went to see the Cliffs of Moher with Paddywagon tours. Our guide was Paul and I can say that he made the experience brilliant. He sang to us, he told us stories, he showed us pretty places. I am very happy he was our guide. We first stopped to a location called Baby cliffs of Moher :))) The same beauty on smaller scale. We also visited Kinvarra and saw a castle there. Kinvarra seems like a very nice place to spend some days, but we just didn’t have so much time 🙁 And Cliffs of Moher and majestic and definitely worth the visit! Do not forget the visit the center, a lot of interesting and interactive photos and information.
Day 6 – Liverpool – Beatles Story Museum + Liverpool FC stadium
And the last day of our trip, before we left, we took a quick flight to see Liverpool.
First we went to see the Liverpool FC stadium and the new cup, as my husband is a great fan:))
And lastly we went to Beatles Story – a Beatles museum in Liverpool on Albert Dock. I was raised listening to Beatles, they are a favourite band of my dad’s so it was very special to see the museum and touch upon the history the made. I thought Beatles story was bigger, but still it was fun to see. I liked very much how each room is made for a different period of Beatles.
And on the next day we flew back to Bulgaria from Dublin.
If you want to check out my knitting experience in Dublin, here’s it is 🙂