Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ireland Vacation 2012 - Part 1

So here we go again. . . another vacation recap divided into "parts" since I took almost 300 pictures!!  This was my 5th trip to Ireland and it was just as amazing and beautiful as it has been each time before.  I went with my brother Allan, my mom and my Aunt Cathy.  We were there from Thursday, May 24th until Sunday, June 3rd.  This post is all about our 3 days spent in Dublin.

If you have not read my recap posts from Ireland 2010 you can do that here and here.

We left Boston Wed night for an "overnight" flight and arrived in Dublin before 8 AM on Thur morning.  It was a beautiful morning with a sunny blue sky!  We took cabs over to our hotel, Jury's Christ Church
to drop off our luggage so we could hit the town until check in time.  We were able to get into our rooms later that afternoon and you better believe I took a nap then a shower!  Amazing how much better those two things can make you feel after not sleeping a wink on the flight.

Our first night in Dublin we went to The Church for dinner and drinks.  It is the former St. Mary's Church of Ireland.  It was built in the 18th century and closed in 1964.  Arthur Guinness (yes that Guinness) was married here in 1761.  In 2005 the church was converted to a restaurant and in 2007 was renamed to The Church.  It is a very cool place.  The food and drinks were great and the atmosphere is a lot of fun.  It also seems like a "locals" place to hang out with a large after-work crowd while we were there.

After dinner we took a detour on the way to the pub. . . to the ER!  Yes our first day in Dublin was filled with a lot of excitement.  That afternoon Allan had fallen and we decided it would be best to have him checked out considering the amount of pain he was in.  Good thing b/c he had a broken hand and broken ribs.  Ugh!  Unfortunately this would mean no golf for Allan this vacation. 

On Friday we spent the day hanging out in the city.  It was another beautiful day with temps in the 70s - very unusual in Ireland and they were actually referring to it as a "heat wave."  I'll take it! 

We explored Dublin's famous shopping street, Grafton Street and enjoyed hearing the band Key West perform on the street.  They are awesome.  They were recently in the USA and have signed a deal.  I have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more about them in the near future. 

We also enjoyed plenty of "street performers" with my favorite being this "family" of statues.  It always amazes me when I see one person doing this as it must be hard to stay so still but to see five. . . WOW!  Of course in order to take a picture you should give them some money and when I did they all bend down and bowed their heads!

Grafton Street always has the most beautiful flower market.  If I hadn't been staying in a hotel I think I would have bought myself some flowers!  All the colors looked even prettier with the bright sun shining on them!

We spent the afternoon on the Dublin Bus Tour.  This is a great tour to do weather you've been to Dublin once or five times like me!  It is only 18 Euros for a 48 hour tickets and the bus goes all over the city.  We rode the whole loop once to hear the "tour" and we also used it to jump on/off at some places we wanted to visit.  It was a good low key thing to do since Allan was pretty sore and couldn't do a lot of walking.

Friday night we went to one of our favorite places in Dublin, The Brazen Head.  We have visited this pub the last two trips for the famous traditional Irish session they have on Sundays.  This trip we were not going to be in Dublin on Sunday so Allan bought my mom a ticket to "Irish Folklore and Storytelling Nights" for Mother's Day (and of course we all went along).

It was different and fun.  It was in a private room and the storyteller broke up the evening by telling traditional stories between courses.  Toward the end of the evening two men performed some traditional Irish music including some of the most popular "sing-along" songs (that probably only Americans like)!  We were excited to see a familiar face as we "know" the guy playing the guitar from past visits to The Brazen Head. 

The food was great.  It included three courses with traditional Irish choices and of course my mom and I got our favorite - vegetable soup.  Very different from our vegetable soup and so good!  We also enjoyed plenty of drinks throughout the night.

If you are ever in Dublin on a Sunday I would recommend going to the (free) session but if you can't be there on a Sunday the dinner is done most nights so that is a great option too (but book ahead b/c it is very popular).

Saturday was another beautiful day!  I walked out of our hotel and saw a cloudless blue sky.  Amazing!  This was our view when we walked out of the hotel.  Christ Church is right across the street - not a bad view!

My mom and I decided to do something we had never done in Dublin. . . visit the zoo.  Let me tell you much to my surprise it was awesome!  I guess since there is SO much other stuff to do in Dublin the zoo doesn't get much attention.  But when you've been to Dublin several times like us it is nice to find new things to do and with the weather being so nice it was the perfect place to be!

We got to the elephants at the exact right time as two of them were showing off by the water!  I love watching them drink water!

We were very lucky to see the baby sea lion who was only 4 days old.  He was born on the Tuesday before and let me tell ya his proud mama was VERY protective!  She was "barking" like crazy when one of the other sea lions got to close.  The cutest thing to see was her kissing and "comforting" him!

I think the giraffes are my favorite!  They are just so beautiful.  I love looking at their markings.  They are just such an interesting animal.  There were a lot of them at the zoo and they were all up and active while we were there.  One of them even walked right over to us which led to some great photos!!

Yes I realize this zebra is likely meant for the kids but hey I'm on vacation and never pass up the opportunity for a silly photo!  Oh and I love the zebras too!

The Dublin Zoo is really gorgeous.  The flowers and landscaping are spectacular!  I felt like I was far away from the big city.  It was something fun and different to do while in Ireland and I'm glad we did!

While we were at the zoo, Allan and Cathy were at Whisky Live (which is partly why we had planned to be in Dublin this particular date).  Allan is a BIG fan and they had a great time at the event! 

That night we met up at one of my favorite bars in Dublin, The Bank.  We've been to this bar on several trips and I really love it.  It is quite the opposite from the traditional pubs and it is just really pretty inside.  And in case you hadn't guessed by the name - it use to be a bank and has been around since the 17th century!

We then took the short walk to the Temple Bar area to have dinner.  Every other time in Dublin we've staying in Temple Bar (due to the great location) but this time couldn't get a room.  So this was actually our first trip to the area since we had arrived!  We ate dinner at Farringtons's which was really good. We I picked this place to eat b/c they had chicken curry on the menu.  Although not traditional for some reason Irish pubs often have this dish on their menu and I LOVE it.  

After dinner we went back to our hotel for our free drinks (one of our "gifts" as an apology for Allan's fall).  Unfortunately the kitchen was closed so we couldn't get any dessert!  Don't worry as you will see in future posts we sure made up for it on the rest of the trip.

Sunday morning we got up and were on the road to Killarney!  More to come soon. . .


  1. Ahh! Loving this :) It looks like a blast and I'm dying to go there!

  2. It's funny how you look forward to familiar places on your follow up trips, my favorite is O'Donohues, always lots of music. Hope your vacation progresses with no more mis-haps, It really is tough when such a thing happens at the beginning,

  3. Oh no-- broken bones?? That sucks. :( But so far everything else looks AMAZING. I love bus tours like that-- they're such a great way to see everything.

  4. Great blog! Love the photos!

  5. Looks like fun! I think if I ever go to Dublin (which I may possibly get to do next year, depending on how healthy I am!!), The Church is definitely a place I will try to remember to visit for dinner - SO cool!

    Also, giraffes are my favourite zoo animal too, and I totally would have sat on the fake zebra. :)

  6. wow looks so awesome!! i am totally jealous,ireland is at the top of my "to-visit" list :)

    thanks for the sweet comment on my blog, here is the link for the scone recipe i use (super easy and simple)from allrecipes.com,just type in "simple scones" and it is the first one. for my cinnamon scones i use king aruthur cinnamon chips and they are the best!

    happy week!

  7. ER visits while on vacation are never fun...but they sure make for good stories later don't they haha :)

  8. Killarney is a refreshingly unspoiled destination for travellers seeking an escape from the crowded city. Visit for an authentic country experience.
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