Luck of the Irish
Our first stop was Dublin! To get the fun factor experience you have to go to the very touristy downtown part of Dublin that has the famous Temple Bar. This area is such an upbeat place. The atmosphere, yes touristy, but is also just such a lively atmosphere. This was my favorite part of Dublin.
We also did the Guinness Factory. Now I am not a huge beer person but learning all the facts behind it was so interesting. The factory itself is so unique and the architecture is amazing. There is a 360-degree view at the top that you can see all of Dublin. This place is truly a must see.
We later slept our jet lag off at Issacs Hostel. They were great and very accommodating. We had a private room, so it was a little more expensive than your average hostel price. I still think it was somewhat pricy for being a hostel, private room or not. Besides that, they were very kind and helpful in answering all of our questions. It was also conveniently next to the train station, so we were able to take off on our next conquest early the next morning.
We took a train to Belfast from Dublin the next day. This journey was beautiful, and the train station was easy to navigate. The area was so green and lush I just wanted to roll down every hill I saw.
We had a great Airbnb in Belfast. It was so cute and was the perfect location to walk into the city. The first activity we did was the Titanic Museum. On TripAdvisor it says it takes two hours, but if you are really into it (like myself), and are getting the most out of your money, we spent four hours there. It was truly incredible. I have always had a fascination with the Titanic, so it was interesting to find out new facts that I did not know before.
If you are walking around town and looking for shopping, or just a cool place to hang out, check out Victoria Square shopping center. It is decorated so beautifully, very modern looking, and is super clean. There are a lot of shops and even a movie theater.
We took a lot of time just exploring the city. We had dinner at this awesome restaurant, even though it kind of looked sketchy at first it turned out to be incredible. It was called Blu and it is somewhat of an Asian fusion kind of place, but they have a vast menu and the BEST dessert.
The next day we went more into the countryside about an hour out of Belfast and went to the Rowallane Gardens. This was stunning, with a perfect little coffee shop there and the best little tea pots. There were numerous gardens and long strolls all through the property. After spending a while there we were told there was a bus we could take to the city of Downpatrick. Well… we missed the bus, so we started walking hoping to find another bus stop. We walked over two miles and it honestly felt like forever, but finally we came across this kind farmer who gave us a bus time table and we got back on our way. We finally made it to Downpatrick where we then took a taxi to the Ballynoe Stone Circle. This was a lovely walk through the coolest little forest that then spits you out in an open field with a giant circle of stones in the middle of it. The history behind it, is that it was an old burial ground that since has surfaced. There is something so ethereal about this place. I felt so at peace and calm here, the silence was piercing. I sat there for a long time. It reminds me of a mini Stonehenge.
Our taxi driver was really accommodating and said he would come back for us in two hours or so, if we were done early we could go get a bite to eat at the pub down the street. So, we made our way to the pub only to find it was closed! I had myself a day guys, really, no transportation seemed to want to work out for me that day, so we waited by the pub hoping he would know to still get us here since we could not call him from the pub like he told us to when we were ready. He almost drove past us, but he did eventually show up!
We hopped on a bus home with no trouble and made it back to Belfast. Honestly this whole vacation was a transportation nightmare, but I will say I learned a lot and I feel like I know a lot better for next time. There is something about Europe and public transportation that we are not exposed to in America, so it was a good cultural learning experience. I just need to refocus myself and get less frustrated with these kinds of situations.
On to the next!
-Good Vibes and Adventure