Trip to Ireland – Dublin, Part V

This is the last leg our our trip, our last two days in Dublin.  We take the 6:30 a.m. train from Killarney to Dublin, and of course, the day we leave Killarney it was a perfect day.


We arrive in Dublin and the city bus service is a hop-on hop-off city tour which allows you to get on at any point or get off.  It’s basically a huge loop around the city.  Another reminder, it was raining almost the entire time we were in Dublin, except for the morning we left.  It rained the entire time.

Our first stop was Trinity College, which is I believe the most prestigious Irish university.  The main attraction at Trinity College is the Book of Kells.  Here are some photos of the university.

This is looking at the front entrance from inside the university:

Our next stop was Dublin Castle, which isn’t much of a castle today, but at one time it was.  The best about the castle grounds was an amazing Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit.  Long story short,Da Vinci wrote these treatise on the way water works, basically, he sat around all day and thought about things, and one of those things that he devoted all of his time to at one point was water.  The Chester Beatty Museum had all of these pages from Da Vinci’s works.  I should also note that some guy had purchased this exhibit and named it after himself.  Bill Gates then purchased the exhibit, renamed it to the old name (I wish I could remember, but I can’t) and opened up to the public, free of charge.  So now I can die and say I’ve seen Da Vinci’s work.  Of course, no pictures were allowed, which was also the case with the Book of Kells.

Sweet Sweet and I head back to the hotel and get dressed to go out for a nice dinner in the Temple Bar district.  We decide to eat at Quays Restaurant, the food was great.

Temple Bar street scene:

After dinner, we head to the most famous pub in Ireland, Temple Bar:

Sweet Sweet:

Me looking like a BMF:

Me, a little happier:

Sweet Sweet and myself:

The next morning, we head to Christ Church Cathedral and this was maybe my most favorite stop.  Christ Church is the oldest Catholic Church in Ireland (as an aside, St. Patrick’s church is Anglican).  No one was in the church except a few tourists:

Underneath the church is this huge crypt.  I know, it sounds creepy, but it’s not.  I was also informed I wasn’t supposed to take pictures until after I took one picture.   You can see a tomb at the end of the tunnel:

Back up top, you can see the intricate work on the columns:

Back outside:

Next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  The tourists were out in full force to see St. Patrick’s so Sweet Sweet and I decided to pass.  Here’s some photos of the exterior:

Now we’re off to the Guinness Brewery:

My lovely Sweet Sweet:

At the very top of the tour, there’s a huge bar where you can get your 1 pint of Guinness and glass walls to view the entirety of Dublin city:

We’re back on the bus and we thought we were headed a little further down the tour, but there was no room in the bottom of the bus and the driver insists that we sit in the top (the buses are double-decker buses).  The catch here is that the top of the bus is open-air (all but the first 3 rows are subjected to the elements).  It starts to rain like a son-of-a-gun, and not just sprinkling, but really raining.  We are getting soaked and I tell Sweet Sweet that we have to go downstairs and just get off at the next stop.  The next stop was Kilmainham Gaol, an old Irish prison.  At this point, we didn’t care where we stopped, we just needed a place to get dry.  The jail itself was fairly depressing, lots of people spent a lot of time in these cells who didn’t belong there:

At some point during the 1800’s they added on an addition to the prison:

The tour is over and now we have to wait for the bus and it’s raining more than ever.  After 30 minutes, we finally catch a bus, by this time it’s 3:00 p.m. and we haven’t eaten lunch so we duck into a pub that former Presidents Clinton and Bush Sr. ate at called Ryan’s:

Although you can’t tell by our faces, the food was great.

We’re back in the heart of Dublin and this is the Ha’penny Bridge:

After a little more shopping, I take a few pictures of Temple Bar:

I ask Sweet Sweet if she would mind having a few beers since the weather has cleared up.  She agreed to do so, but as soon as we sat down it started pouring again which meant that we would have to walk some distance to get back to our hotel in the rain.  This is Sweet Sweet putting on a brave face:

We skip dinner because of our late lunch and just go to bed.  We have an early flight the next morning so we decide to just call it a night.

A great trip, despite the rain.  I’d do it all over again and I think Sweet Sweet would too.

Trip to Ireland – Ring of Kerry, Part IV

Rain is still coming down, but Sweet Sweet and I wised up and decided to take a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry an incredibly scenic and beautiful part of the eastern coast of Ireland.  Some of the photos might have a glare to them because some of them were taken from the bus due to the rain.  It didn’t rain non-stop, but it rained quite a bit.  Despite being on a bus, this was one of our more enjoyable days.

There was some small town at the beginning of the tour where the town-folks honored a goat each year.  The town swells to a population of 30,000 during this goat-celebrating-festival.  Here’s a photo of a statue of said goat:

Part of the countryside:

This photo was taken off the side of a road, our first stop, which was some pub where they wanted you to spend a little cash.  Sweet Sweet and I opted out of the spending money part, but we did notice that the same woman who almost caused an international incident was on a similar bus making the same tour.

The bar and the tourists, having their Irish Coffee:

The locals, having their second beer by 10:30 a.m.:

An incredibly hazy but nice picture of Sweet Sweet and myself:

Sweet Sweet:

Photos of scenery:

Here’s the same photo, but I’ve played with some of the color, the first one is the original photo and the second is the revised:

The next stop was a sort of dog show.  A man had put on a display of how his border collies could herd sheep.  It was a little bit of cash, but Sweet Sweet and I are suckers for puppy dogs, so we decided to go.  Very enjoyable show and learned a lot too.  There’s no need to bring in the sheep in Ireland at night because there are no natural predators, thus the dogs are really only used for herding and separating the flock.  The man was able to control the dog with a series of whistles, letting them know when to go forwards, backwards, right or left.

The dog.

The man and some different variety of sheep:

The dog about to bring the sheep to the bottom of the hill:

We got back on the bus and headed to a seaside village for lunch:

Back on the bus after we grab a quick bite to eat.  The next stop is almost at the apex or center of the trip with a beautiful stop off the coastline up some fairly steep terrain.

It’s about this point that the battery on my camera is a little low so I have to start conserving some battery power.

Beautiful river in Sneem:

The next set of photos is from the McGillycuddy Reeks was the next phase of the trip with picturesque scenes of the mountains and lakes:

The next morning, Sweet Sweet and I head to Dublin for the last leg of our trip.

Trip to Ireland – Muckross Abbey and Muckross House, Part III

Okay, this is the day that the rains really came down.  Sweet Sweet and I decided the day before that we would rent bikes and ride them all day.  Traveler Tip:  this is a bad idea to do in the rain.  The rain started out light, but after an hour or so of riding a bike in the rain, it gets to a person.

We were riding to Muckross Abbey and Muckross House, they were in the Killarney National Park.  When we arrived at Muckross Abbey it was in the middle of some serious renovation so you won’t see any pictures of the outside, but the cemetery surrounding the abbey was nice and the yew tree in the middle of the abbey was pretty neat.

On our way to Muckross House there was a small clearing where you could see an island that I thought was pretty neat.

I didn’t take any pictures when we got to Muckross House because of the rain.  I didn’t want to ruin the camera (I’d rather be safe than sorry).  We decided to get out of the rain and take the tour of the house itself.  It was incredibly beautiful, but there was one funny instance.  It was almost the end of the tour and we were the bathroom that was built for Queen Victoria.  Sweet Sweet and I are standing there and this woman who was also part of the tour thought it would be a great idea to sit on some antique piece of furniture that didn’t look at all very sturdy.  I was literally holding my breath and I nudged Sweet Sweet and she was in shock too.  The woman doesn’t think it’s any big thing to make an antique table her biatch and why should she, I’m sure everything was insured.  Luckily we escaped without international incident, but it was funny nonetheless that someone would have the gall to just lean on something incredibly old.

Up next will be the Ring of Kerry and then finally Dublin.  I’m hoping to get caught up this weekend.

Trip to Ireland – Killarney, Part II

Digression:  If anyone wants me to email them some of these pictures, I’d be more than happy to, just drop me an email or leave a comment.

After a couple our trip to Blarney, Sweet Sweet and I took the bus to Killarney where we had previously booked a hostel.  I know what most of you are thinking, that the hostel would be a real dump, but it was actually pretty nice.  We had a room to ourselves (bunkbeds – yah!) and it was quiet.  The hostel was about 3 miles out of town, which was the biggest drawback.


When we get to our hostel, we decide to take a walk on a trail along a golf course.  Eventually, the trail would hit the Killarney National Forest.

Sweet Sweet.


A man and his dogs.

A concrete fence, who would have thought.

At the end of the trail was this beautiful pasture, complete with a picturesque church in the background (I believe it was St. Mary’s, Killarney’s local Catholic church).

Sweet Sweet and I just keep on walking and we are right in the thick of Killarney National Park.  We see a sign for Ross Castle and because we have nothing else better to do, we keep on walking.

Ross Castle.

Trying to be artistic.

Sweet Sweet in front of the lake next to Ross Castle, followed by some incredibly good looking  fellow.

As we began the trip back, we realized that we were only 500 meters from the town of Killarney (yes, that means we walked over 3 miles) so we headed into town and found a nice little restaurant called Danny Mann, had a few pints of beer, I had fish and chips, the first of the trip, and we took a cab back to the hostel (walking at this point was not an option as it was raining).

Dinner at the Danny Mann.

From this day forward, it rained every day.   The next post won’t be very long as we trekked by bicycle to Muckross House and Muckross Abbey, in the rain.

Trip to Ireland -Cork and Blarney, Part I

Sorry it’s taken so long to get up some pictures and some new content. I found it a little overwhelming trying to catch up on Texas Tech and DTN while I was away. Despite my other duties we’ll get into the first leg of the trip.  Don’t forget that you can see all of the photos from the trip on Puppy Dog Blue’s Flickr page.  I’ve organized all of the photos into sets, so click on sets to see the photos organized.

Sweet Sweet and I left on Friday (5/17) and flew to New Jersey where we were to catch a flight to Dublin. When we scheduled the flight we decided to save a little money (I know, surprise, surprise) and have a short little layover in Newark. And when I say short I mean 6 hours. To set things up, we also left Dallas at 7:00 a.m., which meant that we had to leave Kaufman at 4:00 a.m. Thankfully, Randy and Ann drove us to DFW.

I decided not to shave for the entire trip.  That’s a days worth of not shavng. Not too bad.

Sweet Sweet and myself.

The Newark airport, in all it’s glory.

High above the clouds.

Our original destination was Dublin, but as soon as we arrived in Dublin we were to catch a train to Cork. Normally, this wouldn’t be so bad, but we had taken a 4 hour flight from DFW to Newark, a 6 hour layover, a 6 hour flight from Newark to Dublin and now a 3 hour train ride to Cork. Sweet Sweet was a champ through the whole process and I thank her for that.

Cork is an industrial town, but it’s coming along. We knew that the Blarney Castle was nearby and that was our real point of destination. It rained every day while we were in Ireland except for one day which was Blarney. On this blog post we’ll cover Cork and Blarney.

Here’s the main shopping street in Cork.

This is looking over the bridge on the main river going through town.

My Sweet Sweet.

Across the street from the river.

All of these photos were taken before we were to take our bus to Blarney. The small town of Blarney is one of those quaint little towns that you see on postcards. Of course there is also Blarney Castle which has in it the Blarney Stone, which legend has it if you kiss it they you will receive the “gift of gab”. As most of you know, I already possess that gift so it’s simply been amplified.

Here’s a small river running through the grounds of the Blarney Castle.

Blarney Castle.


The trip up to the top of the tower was a small and narrow stairway so if you are at all claustrophobic then this is not your something that you should do.

This is a view of the grounds on the first level of the castle.

This is overlooking a field from the top of the tower that had just been harvested for hay.

Spectacular view.

These are the tourets and as you can see by the line, this is a popular exhibit.

Look at me try to be artistic.

Local legend has it that the staff urinates on the stone, but considering that it had been raining non-stop for quite some time before this day, we weren’t too worried about it. Besides, it’s just rumor and you only live once. Carpe Diem.

Here’s Sweet Sweet.


Sweet Sweet and me.

Although a little gross, this was the bathroom in the castle and this was, well, the toilet.  Some of you will find this interesting, some of you will find this gross.  I am trying to appear to the former.

This is part of the outer-wall of Blarney Castle.

Me, smirking for no apparent reason.

We finished the day by watching two local soccer teams play their Sunday match.  It was a good way to end the day.

All in all a great first day of seeing the sights.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  After seeing the sights in Dublin we headed back to Cork.  I was only able to watch one athletic/sporting event the entire trip and it happened to be the semi-final hurling match between Cork and Waterford.  Sweet Sweet and I ducked into a pub (which happened to be Miranda’s first pub) and I ordered her a Carlsburg and myself a Murphy’s.  Hurling is a cross between baseball, Australian Rules Football and rugby.  Brutal as hell and the athletes are incredibly skilled.  I won’t get into scoring or how the game is played, but let it be known that the entire town was into the game.  Everyone was wearing their Cork jersey.  As it turned out, Cork lost to Waterford and as you can imagine the mood in the pub was less than jovial.  A great way to end the day.