Journey to the Emerald Isle
Everyone associates Ireland with leprechauns, rainbows, gold, shamrocks, and luck, but what is there to see and do in Ireland? Here is the journey to the land of luck by a student abroad in London telling you her thoughts on her weekend in Ireland.
When I was little I absolutely loved the legends of Leprechauns sitting at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold.
I knew it was fake, but I liked the legend and because of this I absolutely loved when Disney made a movie called “The Luck of the Irish.”
In fact, I still love it to this day. This is why I was so excited when the chance to travel to Ireland for a weekend arose.
This time I wasn’t so nervous on the traveling portion of the trip because we were flying.
However, I was still fighting the cold I got from traveling to Paris, so my head was still pretty congested.
This meant that before ever even taking off, my ears were already pretty clogged up and I was struggling to pop them.
So when, typically, your ears clog up and you chew a piece of gum to pop them during your flight, my ears just clogged up even more and only popped slightly adding to the pressure that was already at the front of my head.
About 45 minutes into our flight I started getting this really bad searing pain starting just above my nose and it slowly worked its way over to the end of my eyebrow and down the side of my left eye.
I knew it had to do with the amount of pressure I was dealing with and couldn’t wait to land.
By the luck of the irish, a few minutes after the pain started we began our descent to land, so the pain slowly eased.
Finally arriving in Dublin, we hopped straight onto the coach bus and headed to our hostel.
After dropping our stuff off, we headed on a nice walking tour of the area including the Dublin Castle.
This was a small, yet very charming, castle and, in its days, well protected.
We learned about how it was protected by two rivers. The River Liffey and an old river that is still flowing, but underground.
The tour guide actually took us to where it was flowing just underneath the ground we stood on, which was really cool.
We passed by Christ’s Church on this tour as well, but it was unfortunately closed.
Circling our way past Temple Bar, the area we would be free to roam later that night, we ended our walking tour at Trinity College.
It was old and beautiful like something you would see out of a movie.
Oh wait, it was.
The library of Trinity College was actually the inspiration behind the Jedi archives seen in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.”
The buildings were made of a light gray brick and laid out in a square formation making it really easy to see all of its magnificence as soon as you walked in.
After this tour we were free to explore Dublin for the rest of the night.
I, luckily, was able to meet up with a friend from home, who is studying abroad in Dublin, for the night.
We visited St. Stephen’s Green Park, which was really pretty.
We were able to circle through the entire park in about 35/45 minutes.
It had several interesting pieces of art such as sculptures and statues in it as well as several beautiful fountains.
After visiting this quaint park, we decided to go to dinner at the oldest pub in Ireland called the Brazen Head.
If you want to go somewhere to get good quality Irish food, and are willing to pay a little more, then this is the perfect spot.
However, if you’re a picky eater and a little stingy on your money, I would suggest going somewhere else that’s cheaper to get the Irish food experience.
Being an extremely picky eater, I chose the wings and a side of chips with a coke spending, if I remember correctly, a little over 20 euros, which was a bit much for me.
After dinner, we stopped by Ha’Penny Bridge and took pictures before heading back to our hostel and crashing for the night.
The next day, we had to rise before the rooster crowed to begin our journey across Ireland to the Cliffs of Moher.
We made a few stops along the way, including my favorite, Dungauire Castle.
It was right on the edge of a lake and even though the sun wasn’t out, the water sparkled and the misty, foggy weather seemed to compliment the castle.
Then we stopped at Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, which was interesting.
I wouldn’t say this is a must see site in Ireland, but it was worth stopping for a few minutes.
It was basically three slabs of stone put together as you would playing cards. One on top and two on the side holding it up.
It was surrounded by a sea of rough rocks that the only way to get to it was to work your way through on foot. I thought it was fun, but you should definitely be careful if you’re clumsy.
After this stop and a quick stop for lunch, we finally made it to the Cliffs of Moher.
It was absolutely stunning.
I had never been more cold in all my life, but I really didn’t care too much because it was just that beautiful.
I think it’s beauty would have been perfected by the sunlight shining on it, and I’m not saying that just because I was cold.
I could just imagine how it would look when the sun was rising into the morning sky and wish I could have come back to see that site.
I don’t know if you’re a country person or a city person, but either way I think you would enjoy driving through the countryside of Ireland as much as I did.
It was so peaceful and relaxing just watching the perfectly green fields fly past you with cute little stone fences and sheep out and about every once in awhile.
That was probably my favorite part of Ireland, other than seeing the Cliffs of Moher.
Anyway, we spent the night in Galway, which I would highly recommend if you find yourself visiting the Emerald Isle.
It was filled with cobblestone streets and little shops here and there and, let’s not forget, a very lively night life.
The next morning we made one last stop at the Monastery of Clonmacnoise before heading back to Dublin.
If you want to learn more about Ireland, then I would suggest visiting here. I don’t think it was a must see stop, but it was neat.
They showed us a short film explaining the history of the Monastery, which gave the stop more meaning, before letting us roam outside.
I liked it, but it was a little weird to walk around in basically a graveyard without any set pathway.
Back on the bus, we started our long drive back to Dublin.
Arriving early, our bus driver was kind enough to drive us through the biggest park in Ireland, Phoenix Park.
This was something I wish had been planned because I thought it was beautiful and it showed the culture of the folks in Ireland, housed the Dublin zoo, and it is where the residence of the President of Ireland is located.
After that we made our way to the Guinness factory to see how their famous beer is made.
If you love beer, do this. If you don’t, I suggest still doing it.
I don’t like beer, but I still found it interesting. I also learned how to pour a perfect pint of beer and received a certificate.
I may never need this or use this skill again, but it was something fun to learn.
Next, was the airport, and I was sad to go.
Ireland was absolutely wonderful and if you ever pop over to the land of luck, make sure you visit the Cliffs of Moher.
And who knows, you might find a rainbow and travel to the end of it to discover a pot of gold. ;)