After Scotland, we took a short ferry ride across the Irish Sea to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Belfast is where Titanic was built, so we had a great time learning more about the work that was put into this ocean liner at the Titanic Museum. I was wildly embarrassed to be an American when one of the older ladies on our tour asked her husband loudly, “Is this the ship we saw in Pearl Harbor last year?” Oy.
Soon we were in Dublin and ready to take in the sites. Here are the highlights:
- Oscar Wilde was born and raised in Dublin.
- We toured Trinity College and also saw the Book of Kells—an extremely rare manuscript of the four gospels.
- Quick visit to St. Patricks Cathedral.
- We took a canal cruise and at one point I ordered a Coors Light. The waitress asked, “Would you like a glass?” to which I replied, “Yes, please.” And then she asked, “With ice? A glass with ice?” Wait, what?
After Dublin, we headed west and here are the highlights:
- We visited a farm to learn about sheep and how dogs help farmers.
- I kissed the Blarney Stone to receive the gift of eloquence (Lord knows I need it).
- We took a jaunting ride through Killarney state park where we saw the Ross Castle. And I bonded with Kearney the horse. Then we explored the Ring of Kerry.
- Pop and I found The Grand where I begrudgingly drank my first Guinness…but the live music was great.
- The Cliffs of Moher were incredible.
- We ate dinner at Bunratty Castle. This was a midieval-type dinner that required us to eat with our hands. This picture is special because it was taken approximately 45 minutes before I got a piece of chicken stuck in my esophagus. Don’t worry, I got it out, but it was touch-and-go there for a bit.
- Clanmacnoise monastic site was an incredible site of religion. It’s incredible seeing things that are 2,000 years old.
My big takeaways from my time in the UK and Ireland?
- Their coffee was incredible. I didn’t have one bad cup of coffee overseas. No more Starbucks drip for this girl!
- The movie Braveheart was super wrong. I’m going to need to go back and watch it to tell you exactly why, but the Scottish kind of laugh at it.
- The Irish and Scottish are so proud of their land—And they know how special it is. Everything is pristine and taken care of. Never once did I see a junked up yard or trash on the streets. And the flowers—oh my goodness. Flowers were everywhere. I wish Americans loved their land as much as these folks do.
- I’m ready to move there. Why? Because even though it rains, it never gets warmer than 70. Also, in the summer, sunset is about 9pm and sunrise is about 5am. Can you imagine it being light outside at 5am?!? So much time for activities!
The Scottish have a saying: “Haste ye back,” and it means “Come back soon.” Well, don’t you worry- I’m already planning my next trip. Who’s with me?