Ireland (ii): Land of the rainbows

I definitely did not expect Galway to be as great as it was. Upon arrival to downtown my senses were thrilled with all kinds of sights, sounds and scents.

13680697_10153604679976436_5415760361339878812_nCobblestone alleyways filled with al fresco dining, banner flags strung throughout the street, happy fiddlers playing such fun tunes and crowds of people flocked through each establishment. We checked out a few establishments for our first night. We had dinner at the only restaurant that was not overly full – it was an Asian noodle house. But then stopped at various pubs like the Quay, The King’s Head, The Cellar Bar for a pint. When we head back to our Airbnb accommodation we were surprised with a massive loud street party put on by Red Bull energy drink with a live DJ turning tables in a trunk out on the street. It was the craziest and funnest random party ever!

Our first day in Galway was pretty great, although the one thing that I noticed about Galway was that everyone smokes everywhere and the smoke made my eyes dry and my head hurt. Aside from that downtown Galway was beautiful!

13876613_10153604704576436_3723355539356678484_nWe decided to drive to Kerry to do the Ring of Kerry, backwards. We drove around the craziest narrow roadways and the scariest part was that large (I’m talking ginormous) tour buses drove around it. We didn’t pick the greatest day to travel there as the weather was not on our side but it was lush, green and full of sheep 🙂

The next few days spent in Galway were just staying around town lounging and adventuring around neighbouring sights. We checked out the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle & the Folk Park – both were definitely sites to check out.

13879475_10153604707611436_8167719958109592884_nThe last day my fiance took me for a drive further north of Galway, past Connemara. Our drive took us around some lakes and it was just breathtaking. We stopped at Abbeyglen Castle where I was surprised with a night’s stay…and my now beautiful engagement ring. I won’t go in too much detail but we arrived at the castle and were greeted with a champagne reception, a 5 course dinner and dessert then a beautiful cozy engagement by a fireplace.

 

 

A mid-summer dream: Ireland (i)

A month ago I, along with my then boyfriend, embarked on an adventure to Europe. We set out to meet his family in Ireland, party at Temple Bar for my 30th and then lounge by a beach in sunny Portugal. While we did all those things – the trip was just so much more than I could ever have imagined.

As a teen stuck at home with religious regimented parents, my escape came through novels and sometimes I indulged in the cheesy but gloriously romantic Nora Robert paperbacks. I remember picking up a particular three part saga set in Ireland which likely started my fascination for this country – along with the famous St. Patrick’s Day. Who wouldn’t want to travel to a country with beer, rainbows and pots of gold?

Well, it was as magical as I had imagined it to be!

13900145_10153604668826436_163431437208945735_nIreland is filled with lush greenery, meadows of sheep and horizons filled with ruins and castles and cliffs. Their little towns, narrow roads and the most wonderful people make this country one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. We drove to a little town in Wicklow called Gleanealy, checked out Black Castle, Glendalough, the Sally Gap and Britta’s Bay. Our B&B apartment right in Wicklow town called the River’s Inn was run by a friendly older woman with the strongest Irish accent. She brought us coffee and tea every morning which always came with a wonderful cheery chat.

Our second night in the country we were invited by my fiancé’s auntie to dinner – this was my very first experience with a large Irish family for a meal. I’ll be honest, I was very anxious and I don’t get anxious much. It turned out to be an amazing evening, everyone was so chatty and happy! It might have had to do with the yummy food that his aunt had laboured over, or the endless wine, or the glorious cheese!!! Needless to say I left feeling happy.

13895286_10153604669906436_1841810436899885581_nIrish people are just such happy people. For my 30th birthday I rallied up my boyfriend’s siblings and dragged them out to Temple Bar to celebrate with me. Temple Bar is an area in Dublin full of pubs, bars and eateries. While the most touristy bars had loads of people there were no fights or anyone showing aggressive behaviour. Sure there were those who were quite drunk but bouncers/door security aside, everyone seemed to be in a happy and peaceful drunken state! This area was mostly filled with tourists but this was my general observation as I traveled throughout the counties in Ireland (as I was of course stopping at pubs and bars along the way).

At the end of our first week there we attended a christening for my fiancé’s god-daughter who is one of the cutest wide eyed chubby cheeked ginger babies I have ever met. After the christening we were again served with glorious delicious food. I was definitely beginning to see the parallels in the Irish culture with my Filipino one!