On to Ireland---July 1-July 9,2005
 

Belfast--Northern Ireland

From Scotland I figured I had to head on over to Ireland and see what everyone is raving about. I hopped on a ferry from Stranauer, Scotland to Belfast. Two nights in Belfast was enough, but I did find it an interesting city. It is hard to believe that it has only been a few years since there was serious bombing there. I took a day tour around the city and had a chance to see the murals that were painted on the walls denoting the Protestant and the Catholic areas and saw the docks where the Titanic was built. Overall it was a very modern city (probably because it had to be rebuilt numerous times after the bombings). After 2 days, it was time to move onto the Republic of Ireland and head to Dublin.


Dublin

After just figuring out what the British money looks like and getting pretty good of getting rid of my change that always sits in the bottom of my pocket because it is easier to give a bill than go through the coins... I leave the UK and head to Ireland, where they use Euros and speak with a definitely different accent. My first day in Dublin was a wander around the city and into the Temple Bar district where there are more pubs than I have ever seen in one place.

When in Dublin I had to do as all tourists do...I went on the Guinness factory tour. It was a well laid out tour of the history of the beer, but the treat was having a pint a the top of their tower overlooking the city of Dublin having a "perfectly poured" pint of Guinness. They even draw a cloverleaf in the foam on top of the beer!

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more Dublin

Also when I was in Dublin I wandered around Trinity College. I also went to see a show. Riverdance was playing at the theater that made it famous, so once again since I was in Ireland I felt I had to go see it. Definitely worth blowing my budget for the day. (http://www.riverdance.com).


A wee wander around Ireland

Next I took a tour of Ireland and saw some of the highlights of the country. I saw more castles (I think I have seen enough to keep me busy for a while). I spent a night in Galway, a very up and coming city. Actually the fasted growing city in Ireland so it was nice to see a lot of new growth in the area. The next day the highlight was seeing the Cliffs of Moher. These were breathtaking and an amazing site to see. Definitely mesmerizing.

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and more of the cliffs...

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next stop Killarney

I have had the chance to sample more of the local fare including Irish Stew and more local beer at the local pubs. I spent one night in Killarney. This was a nice relaxing night. Went on a horse drawn carriage ride through Killarney National Park. The park is only accessible by foot, bike, or horse carriage. This was a nice way to arrive into town.

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Blarney Castle

Next stop on the way back to Dublin was Blarney Castle. I kissed the Blarney Stone (hope their weren't too many germs from all the previous kisses). Then it was back to Dublin to catch an early morning flight to Russia. This will be my first travel out of English speaking areas. Should be a challenge!

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