Monday, 25 August 2014

Ireland Road Trip 2014

Hello hello! It has been far too long… Well like I said in my previous post (if you can even call it that) I have had an amazingly amazing, but also very busy summer. I was fortunate to go to lots of festivals this year which were all incredible, I would highly recommend Somersault to everyone next year; it was absolutely beautiful and I saw the one and only Jack Johnson…
Amongst all these festivals I stayed down in Cornwall with my friend Ellie where we took little road trips to beautiful hidden tidal pools, surfed all morning, took sunset surfs, watched surfing competitions in the day whilst lying on the beach (I got horribly tanned - lesson to me to always wear suncream) and then went to Boardmasters Festival in the night.

After all this I went with my family to Ireland. Now my dad's family are from Ireland, a town called Wexford in the South East and we go pretty much every year to visit everyone but we decided this year to venture out of Wexford and go see what else Ireland has to offer.

So we got the ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare and I have to say I despise the ferry but for once the journey wasn't agonising so I survived that one. We arrived in Wexford at my Grandparents house where we stayed for two nights, this included celebrating my Nanny's birthday with our family and her friends and having a good Irish sing song around the dinner table.

Blarney Castle, home of the famous Blarney Stone

On the Sunday morning we woke up early and started on our roadtrip of the South. Our first stop was Blarney Castle which holds the famous Blarney Stone and legend has it that if you kiss the stone you get the gift of the gab ("great eloquence or the skill of flattery") The castle and its grounds were absolutely beautiful and the gardens were equally as beautiful, even the Poisonous Garden which Im still unsure as to why is was poisonous, presumably poison ivy or something. Anyway, we walked around  and started to make our way up to the castle and see the stone. The queue just in to the castle was absolutely massive, it stretched all the way through the castle and down the path which meant walking around the castle and up the stairs to the stone was a long and slow effort. I would say we stood in line for about 45 minutes before we decided to give up and leave because God knows how long it would've taken us to get up the hundreds of steps. We kissed off the stone which I wasn't too disappointed about because the whole thing has become very touristy over the years, for example you can get your picture taken while you kiss the stone but it is like the cameras you get on roller coasters and then you had to pay 10 euro for this picture… you see where I'm coming from?


After Blarney Castle we made our way to Kinsale while stopping off in some towns along the way. Kinsale is a lovely little sea-side thats famous for its fish restaurants and sailing. The town was very small and had some lovely little restaurants and shops and there was a fair in the town centre the night we were there. My dad was hugely keen on visiting this restaurant called Fishy Fishy which is apparently very famous as far as fish restaurants go, and I'll admit that I did sulk a little bit at the thought of going to a fish restaurant where there was probably nothing I could eat and if there was it probably would be horrifically boring. My mind was changed when we got there as I ordered spinach risotto (the only vegetarian dish on the menu…) and as I like spinach and risotto it was a winner.

Drombeg Stone Circle

Drombeg Stone Circle (please ignore how hideous I look…)
 Who doesn't love a Solstice stone circle? I certainly do and probably got way too over excited when we went to this one. It was lovely and as you can see from the top picture the view was beautiful and we could just see the sea over the hills, the only downside to Drombeg was the size; our Stonehenge back in England is much bigger…

As we drove from Kinsale to Trallee we went via the coastal roads meaning we saw so much sea which was so beautiful, but then as we drive on further past the coast we drove up into the mountains of South Ireland and I have to say I have never seen anything so amazing in my entire life. The road was on the edge of the cliff and as you looked out the window all you could see was a sheer drop into a valley which was completely green with fields and trees. The mountains seemed to just carry on forever … I'm really struggling to put into words how amazing it was and annoyingly the pictures really don't do it complete justice. All I'll say is you have to go see them because they are mind bogglingly beautiful.

Finding Manning's all over the place

Lakes of Killarney
Ultimately one of my favourite parts of the entire trip was the Lakes of Killarney. It was so beautiful and peaceful and officially my new favourite place in the entire world. I went a bit picture crazy here...
Lakes of Killarney

Lakes of Killarney

Lakes of Killarney

Lakes of Killarney
 After going to the Lakes of Killarney we carried on driving to the town Tralee. I have to say our stay in Tralee was definitely an experience. The days we were there coincided with the Rose of Tralee festival, and for those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically a beauty pageant, the biggest one in Ireland, and has now developed into a huge festival where in the town of Tralee  they hold mini concerts and hundreds of stalls etc. The town was absolutely heaving and there were bookies everywhere trying to get us to bet on which girl we thought would win, which I obviously didn't want to have any part in. For those of you have have seen My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Tralee was a lot like that.

After a night in Tralee we made out way to Galway, a University town famous for its Port on the West Coast. Galway was an absolutely amazing town. There were buskers of all kinds on every street and every pub played live music, trad and folk. This town had such an amazing atmosphere and as my dad and the Irish would say; 'the craic was great.' My dad treated us to an Arran Jumper, traditional jumper of Ireland and then my dad and I went on a pub crawl around Galway and listened to lots of music resulting in having a big sing-song of Irish folk songs and doing a jig with a random lady who high-fived me afterwards. Galway is definitely my new favourite town, and I have to say I preferred it to Dublin much more.

Dublin from mine and my sister's hotel room.

Our final stop was Dublin for two nights, the capital city of Ireland. Annoyingly I got the flu so I didn't get to see much of the city, I did however go to the Hugh Lane Gallery and Dublin Castle and I did see a lot of the city as most of it is in walking distance. However on our last night in Dublin we went and saw Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre and oh my golly gosh it was the best thing I have ever seen. Riverdance is one of the best Irish Dancing shows and the one Michael Flatly is best known for back when he was lead dancer in 1995. I've seen it hundreds of times on the tv and we also have the cd but seeing it live was absolutely incredible, I had goosebumps throughout the whole show, the dancing and  music was all so beautiful.

My sister, mum and I are clearly Irish dancers...

So there you have it; my families little adventure around Ireland. Please let me know if you have ever been to any of these places and what you thought of it, would love to know!

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