My Possie's in Kilkenny
|Drombeg Stone Circle|
When we left the hotel, Nicole was on a mission to find Drombeg Stone Circle, also known as Druid's Altar which was supposedly not far from our hotel. With Mike driving and Nicole navigating, we were on a mission to find it, and I'm not sure why, but we were surprised when we ended up lost......AGAIN! Now, don't get me wrong, being lost in Ireland is a good thing!
The stone circles are so interesting to me. I was really excited when Nicole told me that she wanted to go find the circle, because I didn't know that there were any close by in the area we were at, but I have spent a lot of quality time reading a book series called The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon which is based around a stone circle in Scottland. Needless to say, it was really cool to be in an actual stone circle.
|Mike Kissing The Blarney Stone|
After the stone circle......We were off to Blarney Castle. And knowing that this was the most popular castle in Ireland, we also knew that we were going to be hitting up some long lines! But you HAVE to kiss the blarney stone when you are in Ireland! This was the first time we ran into other tourists in days! The lines were long, and the tiny halls of the castles were crowded, but it was really fun to tip yourself upside down, while some random dudes grab both of your ankles and hangs you over a hole. While praying that the two random guys don't accidentally drop you, you lean backwards to kiss a rock in a wall that a million other people have put their lips on all just to get a little good luck.
|Room at Langton House|
After Blarney, we needed to run down to Waterford and swing by the Waterford Chrystal Factory to pick up some Champagne flutes for my friends wedding.....little did we know, that the factory had been closed for a while. T here was not an actual "factory" to visit. I believe since this trip the factory has reopened, but if you are planning on visiting there, please check to make sure before you go. Needless to say, we didn't spend a lot of time in Waterford.
|Early morning Temple Bar, Dublin|
At the beginning of the day we had planned on making a day out of Waterford and staying the night there someplace, but with the factory closed, we decided that our luck was not so good there and headed up to Kilkenny. When we got there we had been driving most of the day so we were exhausted. We decided before we even tried to find a hotel that we would grab a beer and some dinner. The city center of Kilkenny is made up mostly of restaurants, bars and hotels. Since we were there in the off season, it was rather quiet. But it seems like the kind of place that during the busy season is a playground for drinkers and tourists.
|Waiting for the Jameson Tour|
After a couple of beers we started to wander down the streets walking into the hotels inquiring about rooms and rates. We finally ended up at the Langton House Hotel, and by holding out for the best offer, we got an awesome suite. Thanks to Nikkiy and her persistence with the guys, we got to keep the suite, and Mike and Phil graciously settled for the smaller room.
Since we were not planning on being in Kilkenny, we had an evening of dinner and drinks, and a rather odd remake of "My Possies On Broadway" followed by a night of much needed sleep! The following day we headed out early to our final destination......Dublin.
|Being trained to properly pour Guinness!|
Our #1 priority in Dublin was touring the Guinness & Jameson Factories, so as soon as we drop off the car and head into the city, we toss our luggage into the rooms and head over to the Jameson Factory, which is not an actual "factory" but more of a museum with a tasting at the end. Jameson is not actually made in Dublin, but outside of the city. So the factory is really just a tour trap. But we are okay with that. It was still fun to have a couple of drinks after a long day of driving.
|Guinness Factory Finale!|
On the second day in Dublin, we spent the day touring Temple Bar and eating at some of the local restaurants and drinking at some of the local bars, however this area is VERY touristy! When and if you plan on visiting Dublin, be prepared for crowds. The waits at bars and restaurants are long. This was very different from the rest of our trip in Ireland, but we are a social group, so big crowds just means more friends.
|The final group toast to Ireland!|
Our final stop in Dublin is the Guinness Factory! The factory is packed with tourists, but it is interesting to see how the beer is made. More importantly, I learned the important of proper storage. In the United States, I don't actually care for the taste of Guinness, but in Dublin, It is completely different. I couldn't get enough of it. Guinness must be stored at a certain temperature and must be poured in a certain manner to maintain the fabulous taste that it is meant to be served at. I'm sad to say that I wasted my entire Ireland trip's beer tastings by skipping Guinness until the final day. My prejudice on my American experience held me back from listening to my friends and drinking it in Ireland from the beginning. Needless to say, after drinking it fresh at the Guinness Factory, I am forever unable to drink it anywhere else as it just doesn't have the same flavor. The pints from the factory were amazing.
After a short six days of random travel in Ireland our trip ends with the tour of the Guinness factory. The best finale to an amazing trip with a GREAT group of friends!
Stay tuned for my next trip.............London!