So, we spent 4 days on the island of Ireland and it was a good visit.
We spent 1 day in rainy Belfast and the rest of the time in a sunny and windy Dublin.
We got a really early flight so Jamie (in her wisdom) decided that we should stay in a hotel close by the airport overnight. Wisdom that I am thankful for. It sure beats leaving in the really early hours of the morning to head to the airport.
The flight was an OK flight and a relatively short one. It seemed that as soon as we reached cruising speed we were making our descent to the airport (seemed the same for both ways). The landing in Dublin seemed to be pretty rough. It felt as though the belly of the plane hit the ground it was that hard of a landing (obviously it didn’t though). The landing back in East Midlands was way, way smoother – thank goodness. Take off and landing are the parts I hate the most about flying.
The hotel told us they provided a shuttle bus back from the airport. Well, since we walked a thousand miles from the gate to customs and immigration, we missed the 8am bus and I had to call the hotel to find out how to get there as we didn’t fancy waiting 2 hours in the wind for the next bus. Thankfully, you can get public transport buses from the airport into the centre of Dublin. It took us about 30 mins and cost €5.60 for us both to get to the hotel. Jamie – with her flippin wisdom again – booked a hotel that was close to a bus stop and the city. Thank goodness!
The hotel allowed us to have an early check-in – YAY! We decided to have a nap for a couple of hours. After we were done, we decided to head out into the city.
We made our way to Dublin Castle and did a tour there. It was a guided tour and cost €8.50 per person and lasted a little over 45 minutes. The guide seemed to be quite knowledgeable – something you’d expect from a guide I guess. Ha ha. I’ll post a couple of pictures from the castle below.
The next day (12th) we planned to go to Belfast.
Jamie and her darn wisdom reared its head again. I wanted to get the early train (07:30) and Jamie wanted to get the next one (09:35). The wisdom won… again! I was thankful for it. Not a hugely early morning needed.
We got to the station and bought some hot chocolate. It turned out to be the most disgusting hot chocolate I have tasted. Expensive to boot.
The train journey was a little over 90 minutes.
We arrived to a nice rainy Belfast. It was like being back home in March! We walked for what seemed like ages to the hop-on-hop-off stop (it was apparently the one closest to the station). As it turns out, it was not the right stop at all. I had to call and have a bit of a moan. It was another 10 – 15 minute walk to the first stop. The rain was not letting up at all.
We found somewhere to have a quick drink and bite to eat before the bus left.
The tour guide was really friendly and personable. This was a live commentary tour.
We got to see some of the areas affected by the Northern Ireland troubles. It was really strange to see. You could see it was a well covered area in CCTV. There were murals everywhere depicting the troubles. Some of the placed were also heavily fortified.
We rode the entire route (albeit with a bit of a comfort stop – my fault!) and it was a really interesting place to see. I can’t decide if it is somewhere I would like to go back to.
We got back to the start of the tour and did our usual souvenir shopping. We got back on the bus again and this time we got off by St Anne’s Cathedral and had a wonder around in there. It was nice to get away from the rain and cold.
It was an age of a walk back to the central station. It was pouring with rain still and by this time we were ready to be back at the hotel in Dublin. We spent the best £20 we have ever spent – we booked the next train home instead of the one we should have gotten. Neither of us fancied a 4 hour wait at the station.
Here are a couple of pictures from Belfast.
On Friday and Saturday we did the hop-on-hop-off tour of Dublin.
Jamie went to see Animals Inside out and I went on the tour. They guides were a bit confused that the ticket said 2 and there was only 1 of us. I had to explain it a couple of times to them.
I did the red and blue routes myself on the Friday. I got a frantic phone call (after I hadn’t received the frantic texts) from Jamie saying she had a migraine and needed to go back to the hotel. I told her to take a taxi and go lie down and that I would give her a few hours to sleep off the migraine.
I carried on with the tour. The sun was really deceptive that day. It was absolutely freezing – not enough to keep me off the top deck and the opportunity for pictures. I was pretty much an ice cube when I got back to the hotel to pick up Jamie.
The red tour lasted 90 minutes and the blue tour lasted about 60 minutes. We took in sights such as the Georgian Quarter, St Patricks Cathedral, Kilmainham Jail, Phoenix Park, Glasnevin Cemetery, Croke Park and the city centre.
I went back to the hotel to pick up Jamie and we headed in to town. We were both hungry so found somewhere to eat. On Earl Street North (Off O’Connell Street) there were 2 little eateries. One was a noodle bar and the other a Mexican sit down cafe.
We did the noodle bar first – Noodle Box, filled ourselves up and headed off on the bus. About 20 minutes into the tour, we had to get off as the migraine had started to happen again. We found the bus back to the hotel and headed back there for the night.
On Saturday, we did the red tour and went all the way round. All 90 minutes of it. We were a bit pushed for time as we were heading home that day.
Once we got back into the city, we were sufficiently cold enough to get hot chocolate. We also headed to the Mexican food place. I’m not sure if it was nice because we were really hungry, or if it was genuinely nice. I think a bit of both. The cafe was called Saburritos. Value for money for sure. You get a lot for not a lot.
After we were done eating, we got our souvenirs and headed back to the hotel to wait in the semi-warmth for the provided bus to the airport. We finally got onto the plane and got to East Midlands. We were shocked that there were no controls at East Midlands Airport. The flight was only about 40 minutes and we had a much smoother landing this time. Phew
Here are some pictures from Dublin.