Seeing as though today is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I may as well blog about my experience in IRELAND last month.
That’s right, last month we took a little trip to Ireland.
My first trip to Europe!
I booked the package back in June of last year, for a DIRT CHEAP price (go here!). You have to go during the off season, and pay months in advance to book the price that we did.
Months ago I told my aunt Shuli about my trip and she said she was going to join us. A while later she backed out because of an impending shotgun wedding (pg niece)- but decided to come anyway. Shuli along with my other aunt Effie (both are my mother’s sisters), made their way from Israel to Ireland.
We all got into Dublin on a Friday morning at separate times, and off we went!
We rented a car, which of course was the only way to see the countryside but seeing as though my husband had never driven on the left side of the road, it was quite the adventure.. you know, hoping not to die.
My cousin Shirley lives in Ireland. Shirley was born and raised in Israel, but while working in Ireland 2 summers ago, met Sean in a pub. One thing led to another, and now they live together in Ireland.
I wonder if meeting in a pub is the way most Irish folk find their potential mates?
Sean & Shirley invited us over to their apt for dinner. I think Shirley was so nervous that she was actually having family over (since this was the first time) that she ended up burning her dinner.
She ordered Chinese food instead.
Let me just say this… Irish Chinese Food… umm….well….
My Aunts who were originally supposed to stay by Shirley, decided against it last-minute(as she lived 30 minutes from Dublin and it would be a little out-of-the-way) so they hauled their suitcases to our hotel room. We were so worried that we were going to get caught by the hotel staff. It was like mission impossible.We had two beds so it was ok. The bed they slept on was a tiny twin bed. It was HYSTERICAL to watch them try and sleep on that thing!
The following day we decided to make the 4 hour trek to the Cliffs of Moher. The views on the way there were BREATHTAKING.
We stopped every so often to take pictures
The best part about not going on a guided tour was being able to stop off in little towns and villages that are out-of-the-way. In my opinion, that’s where the real treasures are:
Once we arrived at the Cliffs…. I had no words.
It was a looong drive from the cliffs to Dublin, so my husband was pretty pooped by the time we got to the hotel (4 hours each way). We all had some dinner at the hotel restaurant .. which was surprisingly good (more on Irish food later).
We made our way to a city named Athlon. The river Shannon runs through it, but since it was off- season, we couldn’t charter a boat. It was sad, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves.
We had a nice time after we realized that the shops opened at 12pm.
We met Shirley and Sean and had coffee with them.
That night, we all went out to Temple Bar.
Temple Bar is an area in Dublin where all the pubs are located. There are MANY MANY pubs.
Did I mention a lot?
anyway, we actually met up at a bar named “Temple Bar” in the area of “Temple Bar” …creepy…
Sean was hysterical. He decided to purchase green hats for all of us to wear to the bar. How could I refuse?
We then continued to bar hop throughout the night…
We spent a few hours at the lovely Temple Bar and then went back home.. you know, after being verbally attacked by a Gypsy because we wouldn’t gve her any money.
We decided to hop on a Dublin tour bus and do the tourist thing.
First stop: We took one for the team (my aunt was dying to go) and went to the writers museum in Dublin.. which smelt of mold and potpourri.. wish I were joking.
Oh, and I am pretty sure it was haunted.
Next Stop: the Jameson Factory.. because how could you not?
Did a little gift shopping there, before heading to Trinity College:
We then grabbed a quick lunch (which was surprisingly good)!
And went to the Dublin Castle.. which wasn’t exactly what you would imagine a castle looking like (apparently the orginal burnt down in the 18th century)- but it was still quite the experience:
Things you should know about Ireland/ the Irish (if you decide to go):
1) Black Crows Everywhere!
which is VERY unsettling. They have NO FEAR of G-D at all. They wait right in your face for some food. They. Will. Not. Move.
2) The Irish are SO NICE.
I am a New Yorker, and therefore not used to this. I was waiting for a hidden agenda… and there WAS NONE! (shocking I know!)
3) Irish men… OMG.
They are just BEAUTIFUL.
I truly had no words. My first boyfriend was half Irish/ half Italian. He was beautiful and tall. The men in Ireland make my ex look like a lemur.
I felt so badly checking out other men in front of my husband, but hey.. I’m not dead yet, am I?
My husband kept tellling me that guys were checking me out there too. Not surprising, since I dont “look” like everyone else there (you know, middle eastern).. I warned him that if he ever cheats on me or divorces me, I am buying a one way plane ticket to Ireland.
Where I would be appreciated.
Afro and all.
4) Why so many roundabouts?
OMG. I think the word round-about will haunt me in my dreams for the next few months. There were THOUSANDS of them on the road. Luckily for us, we were smart enough to get a car with a GPS. But hearing the GPS say roundabout every 2 minutes, almost made our heads explode.
5) Malls close at 6:30pm!??
No joke. We wanted to do a wee bit of shopping – to have the full mall experience in Ireland.
Once the sun goes down, the malls close!
My theory was that they close the stores so that everyone will be able to get to the pubs. This isn’t me making assumptions, this is me making an assumption along with my cousin’s Irish boyfriend.
6) Irish Food…
OK, I dont want to badmouth ALL Irish food… just the meals that I had the “pleasure” to eat. or to order. Not eat. I had to send food back. CONSTANTLY (and because the Irish are so nice, I am sure they didnt spit in my food. Well, at least I hope not)
I did have a surprisingly good meal once or twice… but for the most part.. i lost 3lbs in 4 days! Thanks Ireland!
All in all, I had an AMAZING trip. The fact that I got to spend a few days with my husband (sans kids) and my favorite aunts was so great.
I looked like this by the end of the trip:
I would totally recommend Ireland to anyone.
Oh… and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!