International Travel Blog



Next it’s off to Dublin on Monday to hang out with their ancestors for three days. Sites to see include Temple Bar district, River Liffey, Gallagher’s Boxty House, Temple Bar, Ha’Penny Bridge, Liffey Boardwalk, O’Connell Bridge, GPO (General Post Office), Spire of Dublin, Rock of Cashel, Cashel Castle, Blarney Castle, Blarney Stone (kiss for eloquence), City of Cork, St. Patrick’s Bridge, The English Market, The Oliver Plunkett, Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, The Brazen Head, Chinatown Dublin, Madigans, Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour, The Bank of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin (The Book of Kells), Dublin Castle, The Shack Restaurant, Christchurch Cathedral, Dublinia, St. Patricks Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse, Phoenix Park (The Wellington Monument), James Joyce Bridge, Fitzgeralds, Samuel Beckett Bridge, St. Audoen’s Church, Kilmainham Gaol (aka prison), Croke Park (GAA headquarters), Quinn’s Pub.


20140127-194955.jpgWe landed in Dublin Monday afternoon not so well rested but ready to roll.

20140127-195734.jpgFirst item on the tour was food so we made our way down to the Temple Bar district on the south side of the River Liffey.

20140127-200415.jpgWe had an early dinner at Gallagher’s Boxty House. The authentic Irish food had lots of gluten-free options and was some of the best eats of the entire trip.


20140127-201104.jpgAfter dinner we moved on to the Temple Bar so Mark could enjoy a few pints of Guinness on tap while we all enjoyed some live music.

We were hoping to find some authentic Irish music. Temple Bar did not disappoint.

20140127-201551.jpgOnce Mark had his fill of Dublin’s finest, we made our way over the Ha’Penny Bridge.

20140127-202202.jpgBack on the north side of the river we took a stroll along the Liffey Boardwalk.

20140127-202630.jpgThe boardwalk ended at the O’Connell Bridge where we then turned north up O’Connell Street Lower to explore a few more Dublin attractions.

20140127-203108.jpgThe GPO (General Post Office) located along the city’s main thoroughfare is one of the most impressive Georgian-style buildings in Dublin.

20140127-203927.jpgThe last stop of the evening was the Spire of Dublin aka the Monument of Light. The all stainless steel tower is nearly 400 feet tall.

20140128-234645.jpgTuesday morning came early with a bus tour down to the city of Cork. On the way we made our first stop at the Rock of Cashel. The Rock of Cashel is a collection of Medieval buildings constructed during the 12th, 13th and 15th centuries that includes a fortress, monastery and cathedral.

20140129-000226.jpgThe main event of the day was a stop at Blarney Castle. Blarney Castle is a Medieval stronghold that was constructed in the 15th century and is home to the famous Blarney Stone.

20140129-002732.jpgTo “Kiss the Blarney Stone” we had to hold on to an iron rail and lean backwards over a 90 foot drop. After a couple of pints Mark was thoroughly convinced that the stone did in fact bestow upon him the gift of eloquence.

20140129-003427.jpgWhat would a Medieval castle tour be without a visit to the dungeon (even if it requires crawling through a dark, damp tunnel).

20140129-003812.jpgThe last stop of the tour was a visit to the charming city of Cork.

20140129-003950.jpgThe late 18th century St. Patrick’s Bridge spans the River Lee in Cork.

20140129-004556.jpgWe had a late lunch near the English Market at the Oliver Plunkett.

20140129-004721.jpgAfter lunch we made a final stop at the Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. This magnificent Anglican cathedral in Cork dates back to the 14th century.


20140129-005427.jpgAfter returning back to Dublin we enjoyed another authentic Irish meal for dinner at Ireland’s oldest pub the Brazen Head. This pub first opened in 1198 A.D. and is still going strong.

20140129-005814.jpgAfter dinner the boys took a hike over to Dublin’s China Town enjoying a cigar along the way.

20140129-010008.jpgJust around the corner was a slightly more familiar nationality.

20140129-011920.jpgThe evening concluded in the traditional way with a pint of Guinness at Madigans – the only pub in Dublin that is owned and operated by the same family that still bares the name of the establishment.


20140129-215606.jpgWednesday morning started off cold and rainy as we began our Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour.

20140129-220049.jpgThe first stop on the tour was the Bank of Ireland. Notice this building has no windows. Supposedly the saying in Ireland is once your money goes in it never sees the light of day.

20140129-220556.jpgWe then proceeded across the street to Trinity College Dublin that was founded in 1592 A.D. Along with a beautiful little campus we were able to see The Book of Kells dating back to 800 A.D.

20140129-221105.jpgNext we visited Dublin Castle. The tower is the only surviving structure of the Medieval castle established by the conquering Normans in 1204 A.D.

20140129-221906.jpgBefore moving on to the next site we went to The Shack Restaurant in Temple Bar for more traditional Irish cuisine including the island’s best fish and chips.

20140129-222640.jpgAfter lunch we made our way over to the Christchurch Cathedral that was founded in 1030 A.D. and contains the original tomb of the Norman invader Strongbow.

20140129-223423.jpgConnected by a bridge to the cathedral is Dublinia. Dublinia is a historical recreation museum that shows how the Vikings settled in Dublin over a thousand years ago.

20140129-224239.jpgThe next cathedral on the route was St. Patrick’s Cathedral that was founded in 1191 A.D. and is the largest church in Ireland.

20140129-234107.jpgOnce the rain let up a bit we were able to ride on top of the bus for an open view of the city (St. Anne’s Cathedral in the background).

20140129-225356.jpgThe big tour of the day was the very modern and interactive seven story Guinness Storehouse.

20140129-225804.jpgIn addition to getting to drink a few fresh pints straight from the source, Mark was taught the art of the pour.

20140129-230142.jpgWe finished the bus tour with a drive through Phoenix Park home of The Wellington Monument as in the Duke of Wellington.

20140129-230413.jpgAfter finishing the tour we headed over to Fitzgeralds on the River Liffey to continue with our all Irish food diet.

20140129-230928.jpgAfter dinner we decided to go for a stroll along the river to view the Samuel Beckett Bridge at night. The bridge was designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava who also designed the world renowned Puente del Alamillo Bridge in Spain.

20140130-141116.jpgThursday morning started with a visit to St. Audoen’s Church. This is the oldest active Medieval parish in all of Ireland and the only one in Dublin dating back to 1190 A.D.

20140130-141837.jpgLook who decided to swing by St. Patrick’s Cathedral to say hello.

20140130-142028A most proud and fitting name for a local minimart wouldn’t you agree?

20140130-142150.jpgThe big event of the day was a tour of the infamous Kilmainham Gaol. This prison first opened for business in 1796 as a “modern” prison and was eventually closed down in 1924.

20140130-142418.jpgNext was a visit to Croke Park stadium which serves as the official headquarters of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association).

20140130-142758.jpgOur final stop in Dublin was Quinns (notice the classic Irish photo bombing in the background). This pub bares the name of one of Ireland’s most legendary families. The Quinn name was originally derived from the Gaelic O’Coinn.

20140130-143406.jpgAt the airport and our way back over St. George’s Channel to London Heathrow. So long and farewell to the Emerald Isle.

20140130-143953.jpgAnd we’re off. Next stop Iceland!