Ireland

Ireland (in two minutes)

A short video of my time in Ireland in 2017.

It only took me a year and half to get around to compiling the video footage I had for this Europe trip. I wasn’t going to make a video initially due to lack of footage, but I had an editing urge and managed to scrape this together.

I’ll do the other countries from this trip soon too hopefully.

Day 5 – Glendalough

Posted on July 1, 2017

I climb higher and higher, I climb until the entire sun shines on my face.

Another road trip today! This one was a bit shorter though. We drove south to a small seaside village named Greystones, along the east coast of Ireland (about forty-five minutes from Dublin). We had breakfast there at La Creperie, a french cafe overlooking the water. I opted for the Banana and Chocolate crepe.

Once we had finished eating, we drove to our main destination, Glendalough, another forty minutes south. It is located in the giant Wicklow Mountains National Park. We were fortunate with the weather today, and actually had some sunlight and warmth!

When we arrived and parked the car, we began following the hike trail leading up the nearby mountain. There was a short detour to the Glendalough Monastic City, which has some old buildings, ruins and cemetery.

After looking around and taking a few photos, we continued the hike to the Upper Lakes, which was supposedly a 14km hike. The trail winded through beautiful forest and led us further and further up the mountain.

We had been walking for an hour or so when the others decided to head back down, so my sister and I continued on our own to try to reach the top or find a nice outlook of the area.

We managed to find a clearing in the trees after another half an hour or so and took a bunch of photos looking out over the lake. It is quite stunning from up there.

It was hard to tell how much further we had before reaching the top or the end of the trail, so we started heading back down, as we wanted to ensure we got back to Dublin with enough time to get everything organised for our departure tomorrow. We were also pretty hungry.

We met up with the others when we reached the bottom and had lunch at a nearby restaurant. I had a burger (always a reliable choice) and copious amounts of water. Then it was back to Dublin for some rest and final organisation. It’s always a bit sad to leave a country, and Ireland will be no exception, though it’ll be a nice change to have some warm weather for the rest of our trip. Probably too warm, but we shall see.

Tomorrow we fly to Bordeaux – probably a less event-filled blog, as we will be mostly travelling, and won’t arrive until the afternoon, but I will try to do something a bit interesting at least.

Until next time Ireland.

Day 4 – Dublin

Posted on June 30, 2017

And if your skin was soil, how long do you think before they’d start digging?

Today was mostly spent recovering from our non-stop adventure days, and started with a sleep in, followed by a late brunch at Kilkenny’s Cafe once again. After we ate, the others insisted on doing some shopping, so I walked around the city a bit, including a stroll through St Stephen’s Green Park.

After that, I walked around the main streets in the area (Grafton St. mostly), which has a bunch of shops/restaurants and always some interesting buskers which are nice to stop and listen to.

We also tried going to the National Gallery of Ireland once more to see the Vermeer exhibition but once again the timing of the next session wasn’t favourable. So instead we just headed back to the hotel for a bit more of a rest and relaxation.

At around 5:30pm, we headed out once more to get some dinner at a great Italian restaurant, before going to see the musical we had booked, Once. The show itself was great, and felt especially authentic as we’re seeing it in Dublin itself. I didn’t actually realise at the time of booking, but it was the show’s opening night.

Also something cool the show has, is a working bar on stage, from which you can order drinks and hang out on stage before the show starts. Additionally, the cast (who are also the musicians) come out around fifteen minutes before the show starts, and play a few songs together, which then seamlessly merges into the actual start of the show.

Tomorrow will likely be a big day out, so it was good to have a slower day to rest up. It’s actually our last full day in Ireland tomorrow as well, so hopefully we can make the most of it (and the predicted good weather), before travelling to Bordeaux for the next leg of our journey.

Day 3 – GoT Tour (Northern Ireland)

Posted on June 29, 2017

Winter is coming.

Today was our Game of Thrones tour to various locations in Northern Ireland. It started with a hot chocolate before joining the rest of the group at the meeting point.  We had a small group which was nice – under twenty people.

We all got on the bus and were introduced to our tour guide for the day, Eric Nolan, who works as an extra for GoT (and Vikings). He was super nice, fun to be around, and full of great stories and information about the show and his time on set. He was also involved in the Battle of the Bastards (Season 6 Episode 9) and told us about the super long days of grueling fighting which lasted a month. He said there were about 150 extras, shot and enhanced to look like thousands, and that Season 8 was going to have a scene with 1000 extras… so… that’ll be huge.

There wasn’t much info he could give about seasons 7 and 8, but he did say Miguel Sapochnik would return to direct some episodes for Season 8, which would premiere in 2019. And once GoT ended, the spin-off show/s would start airing very soon after (apparently there could be five spin-offs?!).

Anyway, our tour began by leaving Dublin, headed for the first location, Tollymore Forest. This was the forest where the opening scene of Season 1, Episode 1 was shot, as well as the scenes where the Starks find the direwolf pups. It was a typical Ireland day, wet and cold, but it was a pleasant trek nonetheless. The weather only made the experience more immersive and realistic.

It was cool to see the locations used in the show, but everywhere else was equally scenic, if not more interesting to see.

After the forest, we headed to a small town for lunch and a bit of a break. After our lunch, we got a nice surprise and were able to meet Summer and Grey Wind, the dogs used as direwolves in the series. The family who owns the dogs were also there and told us the story of how their dogs were chosen and some of the extra work they’ve all done. Fun fact: each dog is insured for one million pounds.

Next we headed on to Old Castle Ward, which was used as Winterfell in the first episode, when Robert and the Lannisters visit Winterfell.

There was also a tower which was used for The Twins. There were a few other locations along the way as we trekked up the coast. It was even colder, wetter and windier here, but still an enjoyable hike.

Our final location on the tour, was Inch Abbey, where Robb Stark is crowned King in the North. It was here we were given cloaks and replica steel swords to use and take photos with. They had Needle, Longclaw and a couple others, including Ice.

After photos were done, we headed back to the bus and began the trip back to Dublin. It was a two hour drive, so they played the two best episodes of GoT for us. Oh and as we drove to each location they also played some behind-the-scenes videos and other GoT-related stuff.

Once back in Dublin, we said goodbye and began the walk back to our hotel, eager to warm ourselves and dry off. I did remember there was a highly recommended Vietnamese restaurant close to our hotel (Pho Viet), and suggested we eat there first, as it’d help us warm up.

We each ordered Pho, and it was the perfect meal to fight off the cold. So tasty, and such a huge portion. None of us could finish it, which is rare for me.

And that was it! Overall, a wonderful experience, with some really cool locations. Special thanks to Eric for making the tour memorable and engaging. Next time, you’re singing a song though.

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