Like I alluded to in an earlier post, Mike and I took our annual vacation in Ireland this year. Mike’s mom, dad and sister were able to make it as well, and it was 9 days full of laughs, lots of walking, and good food. Our trip started and ended in Dublin, and we drove up to Belfast in Northern Ireland and down to Cork for a few days each. I’m going to recap a few of best things we did in each city/ area for those of you planning similar trips!
Here are some of our highlights from Dublin:
1.) Toured the Guinness Brewery If you come to Dublin, you’re going to hear from just about everyone about the impact Guinness has had on the country. Guinness is not only one of Ireland’s largest exports today, but it is also known for historically being one of the best employers in the country’s history; in one cabbie’s words, “working for Guinness was like working for Google – you and your family were well taken care of”. They offered worker’s benefits that were far ahead of the time, such as healthcare and high wages. In fact, Arthur Guinness (company’s founder) was a devout Christian who wanted to offer a lower-alcohol and healthier alternative to the commonplace gin. (You can read more about his amazing story and legacy here)
The tour comes with a free beer at the end, so we enjoyed our first (but not last!) Guinness of the trip: I wasn’t a huge Guinness fan before, but it tastes different in Ireland – SO creamy, full of flavor, and slightly sweet.
2.) Saw Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains
When we were researching our trip, I was drawn to the well-rated Wild Wicklow Tours, which is a bus tour leaving from Dublin that goes through the beautiful Wicklow Mountain Park to the ancient monastic site in the Glendalough valley. Our amazing driver and tour guide told us lots of interesting stories along the drive and kept the entire bus engaged and laughing. A stop for lunch at a local pub – loved the stew. More Guinness, of course… It did rain while we were at the monastic village, but the tour guide was well prepared with umbrellas and a bottle of Jameson at the end ;) Don’t worry, we don’t normally drink this much!3.) Touched a 700+ year old mummy
Yep, no joke! We visited St. Michan’s Church, which is a popular tourist stop because you can go into the crypts beneath the church – very creepy. While several of the crypts are owned and in use by families today, the true attraction is four mummies of varying ages, which were discovered by the church when their coffins began to crumble. No pictures of the mummies unfortunately(due to preservation reasons), but at the end of the tour, we were were able to rub the thumb of the oldest mummy!
Here I am, descending into the crypt:
While these coffins in a separate section of the crypt have never been opened, it seems likely that the conditions of the underground space have mummified the bodies inside them as well. Our tour guide was very entertaining and would have fit right in at Disney World – his stories, facial expressions and acting helped make the atmosphere.
4.) Walked around Dublin and Phoenix Park
There is so much beautiful architecture around the city – churches, Dublin Castle, and the like – it makes me excited to see more of Europe in the future. And although I didn’t get a chance to run there, we also walked around the beautiful Phoenix Park. Some say it’s one of the most beautiful places to run in the world, and the little we saw of the 1750 acre park didn’t disappoint. 5. Went for a short run along Dublin Bay
I didn’t run as much as I had planned on this vacation, but I did go for a few short runs while we were in Dublin. There are plenty of running paths and sidewalks, and I found my way down to Dublin Bay one morning:
I couldnt resist taking a few pictures of the beautiful scenery and buildings I passed along the way!No better feeling than greeting the day with a run, am I right?
Posts on Belfast and Cork to come! Hope you’re all having a great week.