Posts Tagged With: irish

Next Stop: Galway, Ireland

~ Day 3 ~

Oh what an Irish night that was… For those that were there that night in Derry… Well, it’s our little secret! Lets just say too many Irish named shots (I.e. Irish car bomb, Irish flag, etc.)! But boy! What a night!

We woke up… Not feeling that greatest but still up and out by 9am! I was sad to leave the Paddy’s palace hostel in Derry, because it was the first hostel that felt warm and at home. The staff was cheerful and nice, with Christmas decorations all around, a constant fireplace going and a cute cat. It was fantastic.
Check it out here.

We embarked on a long bus ride to a city that I have been most looking forward to: Galway.

With Shawnie, our Irish bus driver, singing some good ole Irish tunes to get over our morning hangover, we drove through the enchanting Sligo! On the way through, we visited the sacred grave of Ireland’s national poet: Nobel Laureate WB Yates.

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Afterwards, we continued on driving through the vast archeological and cultural richness of Ireland’s North West Coast.

As we had a 4 hour bus ride, not including the two stops on the way, we all slept. Well… Tried too. We had a family with two kids on the bus, among many young, wild, party, adolescents, who were probably well rested and bored. So the bus driver put on an Irish kids film about horses… Basically, I’ve never heard so many loud and unnecessary sound effects in my life… Even the music eliciting from my headphones couldn’t drown the noises coming from this headache-inducing movie. I did manage to get 20 mins of sleep; so that’s cool.

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We finally arrived at our hostel in Galway (Sleepzone) and I slept in a 12 person room. Besides the unfortunate amount of people I had to sleep in a room with, the hostel was amazing! The staff again were very nice, and the place is beautiful! It doesn’t even look like a hostel! Even better!

Eventually, Freya and I hit the city center in Galway, where we went to the Christmas market, then Eyre Center (where I got my Christmas jumper at Penny’s, aka Primark of Ireland) and ventured to Shop street. You can imagine what was on this street. Loads and loads of little shops! Galway is known for there Claddagh rings, which basically is a heart, in front of two hands, in front of a crown. The heart is for love, hands are for friendship, and the crown is for loyalty. Many locals buy these rings and give them to the ones they love or a great friend. They are very symbolic and Freya ended up getting one of them!

32162_202648639876276_1475228920_n (1)After shopping, we walked around Galway at night and headed back to the hostel to get ready for dinner with the rest of the Paddy Wagoneers! We went to this cool Irish pub called Skeffs and had dinner and strawberry daiquiri’s. We ventured to another local Irish pub (The Quays) with live Irish music, which was really awesome! Reminds me of my favourite Irish pub back home!

That night in Galway was the last night we will be with our other Paddy Wagoneers, as they are all on a 6 day tour of Ireland  and Freya and I are on the 10 day tour and continuing to stay in Galway for 3 nights. It was extremely sad to see our new friends go.

~
We’ve made some amazing friendships on this tour and I wish we could spend more days traveling with them in Ireland.

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Categories: Autumn, Blog, Derry, Fall, Galway, Northern Ireland, Seasons, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

St. Patrick’s Day in IRELAND!

522597_10152657414370032_258668603_nSt. Patrick’s Day in Ireland has always been a
must thing” to do on my bucket list, and for 2013, I was able to cross this experience off my bucket list with a Guinness in my hand, and an irish crowd cheering on a great day in Dublin!

Back home at my university, there is a tradition that we do on St. Patrick’s Day. This tradition begins with a pancake kegger that commences early in the morning, and consists of a glorious amount of green-coloured pancakes (sometimes shaped like four-leaf clovers if you’re lucky), and lots of green-coloured beer. This is our breakfast for St. Patrick’s Day.

Sounds grand doesn’t it?

This year, we brought this tradition to Dublin and we began operation “pancake kegger” at 10am on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day. What made the day even better was the fact that we had so many people from my university back home at this pancake kegger, including my best friend Savannah, who you may recall from my trip to Oktoberfest in Germany this past year. Last year, Savannah and I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day together in Canada, and this year we were able to spend the green-filled day in Ireland together. It’s now our yearly tradition!

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2012<——————->2013

LET THE PANCAKE KEGGER COMMENCE! Sorry, got a bit too excited there…

Ireland ran out of green food colouring, so none of our pancakes were green, but we decided to just add extra chocolate chips in them, and oh boy… were they delicious! Savannah made the best pancakes I have ever had! They also went down amazingly with beer and wine. This was a great start to the morning!

 882161_10152673579900032_1265473501_o902318_10152673580925032_1987098120_o893983_10152673579940032_1401738973_o904139_10152673581245032_1622047313_o891819_10152673581375032_10707097_oAfter a few shots here, and a couple of fake tattoo’s there, we all made our way to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! As I walked through Trinity College to get to parade, all I could think about was “Wow, you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland… I’m so lucky to be here and alive”.

Once we got to the parade, all you can see is 50 shades of green throughout the enormous crowd. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many people jam-packed together in a street, let alone Dublin, in my life. Everyone had big smiles on their faces and eager to see the parade! I don’t really remember much of the parade – all I can remember is feeling the energy of the crowd and how amazing it was to be in this moment with my friends talking, drinking, singing, etc.

Here’s what Savannah captured of the parade:
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SO MANY PEOPLE, SO MUCH GREEN! THE STREETS OF DUBLIN WAS CRAYCRAY.

After the 2 hour-long parade, we headed back to my friend’s place where we either continued to drink, eat or nap (as you do mid-way through St. Patrick’s day). Afterwards, we all got refreshed, and started to get ready to hit the city nightlife hard. Savannah, Jenn and I ended up touring the streets of Dublin for a bit and then ended up in this irish pub called “The Duke” with barely any tourists, and had the real authentic irish experience! It’s great that I have a friend whose a local in Dublin and knows where the best places to go!

In the end, silly drunk Ryan thought to further this irish experience he would try some irish whiskey… Ryan had been drinking since 10am and finishing the night off with whisky was a no-no. Silly Ryan. Oh well! Overall, Ryan and Savannah had an amazing time in Dublin and had a spectacle St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. There’s something I can finally cross off my bucketlist! I recommend that anyone and everyone who has thought about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland…. DO IT! It was one of the best days of my life! If I were to come back for St. Patrick’s Day again, I would definitely go to a smaller city/town in Ireland, such as Cork or Galway, because there would be less tourists, and more irish locals that would be willing to show tourists a good time!

Until next time….

544643_10151504664912969_1674852668_n (2)Check out my bucketlist!
Coming To Dublin? Check out my post here.
Want to see where I’ve been in Ireland & get inspired by the beauty of this green country? Click here

Categories: Blog, Dublin, Holidays, Ireland, Seasons, Spring, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Next Stop: Aran Islands, Ireland

Planning a trip to Ireland for a few days or even a week or two? I highly recommend taking an intensive and well-worth tour of Ireland with Paddywagon Tours. I personally recommend that it is the best (and often quickest) way to see as much as Ireland as possible in your travels.

738357_10152380997745032_552581417_oOn my 4th day in Ireland, I got the amazing opportunity while staying Galway to travel to the Aran Islands, which are among the many hidden gems of Ireland.

My best friend from Canada visited her family in Ireland in the summer of 2012, and told me about the Aran Islands, and said it was a MUST SEE. She was absolutely right. It’s not part of a lot of tours in Ireland, so if you are traveling Ireland independently, make sure this is on your list to see. (Directions on how to get there will be explained below)

The Aran Islands constitute of three islands situated at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. The islands from west to east are named: Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer.

739963_10152380997990032_1331778413_oInishmore is the largest island and the one I was told to visit. You will have to take a coach from Galway to the docks outside of Galway where you get a boat ride to the Aran Islands. There are travel companies in Galway that offer this coach+boat ride deal to the Aran Islands, so it should be no problem getting there. When I arrived to Inishmore, there only seemed to be one bus tour awaiting for tourists to arrive. Because I went during the winter time (extremely low season), there was only 3 tourists on the whole entire island. It was absolutely deserted and we 737798_10152380995020032_580019433_ohad the whole island by ourselves to explore. It was so surreal and amazing.

In terms of getting around the Island, there are bikes for hire (great option during nice weather/summer time, but beware that it is extremely hilly and exhausting), as well as cheap bus tours. I took a bus tour of the Island with a local who spoke very interesting english, and fluent Irish. He even had a leprechaun dangling from his front mirror. He was full of knowledge and taught us about the island and its history.
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The island is constructed of limestone, and by this, I mean there are hundreds and thousands of limestone walls around the fields. The island was entirely made of limestone and almost inhabitable, but with hard work and dedication from the Irish locals, they gathered great amounts of limestone and constructed unaccountable amount of walls around the entire island. It was miraculous to see in person. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it.

On the tour, we were dropped off at Dun Aengus for about two hours to explore an ancient stone fort, with an amazing view of the coast, as well as shop and eat in the little village. The nature walk to the ancient stone fort was beautiful and relaxing. This ancient stone fort was my favourite site on the island, because of the spectacular view. Be careful along the edge of the cliff because there are extremely strong winds and no guard or rail to protect you from falling over the edge. This does offer some amazing photography opportunities however. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at the view from the edge of the cliff.

739739_10152380994755032_1868391530_oThe island is completed isolated and you get that feel when you drive around the island. It almost feels like the inhabitants are still living in the 1930’s. Many of the houses on the Aran Islands are thatched homes, which are so interesting to see and learn about. Here is an image of one of the thatched homes.

Driving along the coast of the island was also amazing to do. The island is just as green as you would expect Ireland to be (besides the innumerable amount of stone
and walls). I spent the remainder of the day checking out 737896_10152381000450032_467011268_oall the little shops that offer homemade clothing by the local inhabitants, as well as the famous Aran sweaters.

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I ended the day if a chill visit to one of the local pubs and, of course, a fresh pint of Guinness. The server even put a four-leaf clover on the top of my Guinness (as they often do this for tourists) and this made my day.

 

Overall, I had an amazing day on the Aran Islands, and it was something different to see. A place I had not expected, and still one of my favourite, and most relaxing places I’ve travelled too. If you do get a chance, it would be interesting to go during a high-peak seasons for tourists, like the Spring or Summer.

Also, make sure you finish the day off with a pint of Guinness!

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Directions on how to get there: Find a tourist agency in Galway and look for a package deal on getting to the Aran Island Ferries. This service operates a year round service, but offer limited ferry rides, so do get there early. All the ferries are passenger only, thus, no car ferries are available. Make sure you set a full day to visit the Aran Islands, and please let me know what you thought of the islands if you do plan to visit 🙂

Check out my journey in Galway, Ireland
Check out my journey at The Giant Causeway, Ireland
Check out my journey in Derry, Northern Ireland
Check out my journey in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Check out my journey in Dublin, Ireland

Categories: Aran Islands, Blog, Galway, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Seasons, Spring, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Next Stop: Dublin, Ireland

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Ireland, here I come!

My Australian friend Freya and I arrived in Dublin early in the morning and began our day with a nice Irish breakfast in a cozy Irish pub. We then went on a “Free Tour of Dublin”, which is highly recommended for those who want a tour of Dublin and want to know the history behind the sites and monuments. Although it is technically a free guided tour, the guides earn their wages based on tips, so you can pay the amount you think the tour guide deserves.

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We visited the Dublin Castle, O’Connell street and O’Connell’s monument, as well as the “pointless thing” (which has many names and is literally a metal spire), city hall, Trinity College, a few parks within the City, and the most popular area of Dublin: Temple Bar.

For those travelers who don’t know what Temple Bar is, it is not actually a bar, but the area in which many amazing bars, pubs, restaurants and shops reside. There is an actual Temple Bar in the Temple Bar area, which most tourists go thinking that’s where the best pub is, Photo 08-12-2012 16 39 05however, I’d advise those to go to The Auld Dubliner or The Storehouse as recommended by a local.

After the free walking tour, we checked-in to our hostel (which was Paddy’s Palace), and had dinner. We ended getting together with Freya’s Aussie friend Jen, who is studying on exchange at Trinity College, and spending the rest of the night in a bar with a vast amount of Irish people and no tourists.The bar was called Flannery’s and I had a blast getting to know and dancing with the locals! I also had my first Guinness in Ireland here! It was actually image_1356002789923081quite good!

Because I spent my first night with all the locals and majority being Irish, I had an amazing first night in Ireland!

~

The second day we were in Dublin, we met up with some friends we met at the bar last night for a delicious brunch at the Elephant Castle. Afterwards, I went to a famous jail on the outskirts of Dublin called the Kilmainham Gaol.

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There was a guided tour throughout the historical site and walking around the dungeons and jail cells was extremely eerie. I highly recommend those who visit Dublin to check out the Kilmainham Gaol.

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We then took a stroll afterwards through a very picturesque driveway towards an art museum. It was too late for us to visit the museum but I was able to get some nice pictures.

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By the end of the night, I walked around the city all lit up with Christmas decorations.

Because we had to wake up at 8am, we went back to our hostel and had an early night. Absolutely loved my time in Dublin!

Here’s to 12 days of traveling Ireland!

Categories: Blog, Dublin, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Seasons, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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