Cliffs of Moher

Aug. 30th – With Will’s friends, we would drive from Dublin to Galway, swinging down to the Cliffs of Moher along the way. We lucked out for the early afternoon with blue skies and sun. The coast is really windy though! The afternoon light from the south was perfect the further out we walked (it’s a two hour walk, one way! Time accordingly), to look back at the coasts. At times the winds were so strong, it was nerve-wracking to hike the rocky terrain (no fences) because it felt like the wind might blow you into the sea.

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Galway was a nice city to spend the night in, because the nightlife and all the buskers. So much music around every corner, as long as the weather’s fine. And of course, my first chance to drink Guinness. More than two, and I’m in trouble!

best lunch: Moran’s Oyster Cottage (The Weir, Kilcolgan, Co. Galway, Ireland). The staff was so friendly (especially after experiencing French service), and we ordered so much food, and we amazingly finished almost all of it. Everyone wanted oysters and mussels, but after having the freshest quality shellfish in Sète, I was good.

best bar: Tig Cóilí (Mainguard St, Galway, Ireland). They had WiFi, a friendly crowd, and — of course — live music. This seems to be absolutely required for a number of Irish bars. A little group of three or four serious-looking musicians fiddling away despite the noise.

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Here’s one badly made panorama:

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~Jessica

Dublin

Aug. 29th – Will and I flew into Dublin, while Amber continued on to Barcelona. Our plan was to meet up with other NYC friends and drive to Galway. I would return to Dublin Aug. 31st and fly back to Germany myself the following afternoon, so these photos mainly comprise of a morning bus ride, an evening dinner + pub crawl, and a day’s worth of touristing under relatively decent weather conditions (for Ireland). I was fortunate in my friend Arianna offering to both be a host and tour guide! She lived out in the suburbs south of the capital, about an hour by bus or tram. Her sweet landlady, Ann, who in turn had a sweet cat and dog, was kind enough to regale me with Irish culture, history, and local attractions. Thank you, Ann and Arianna! I now know more about Riverdance than I ever have before. It was “grand” 🙂 The following are the tourist attractions I did get to see — sadly I had not time for the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology that Ann recommended!

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Ha’Penny Bridge over the river Liffey

The Book of Kells (Latin: Codex Cenannensis, Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais) is an illuminated manuscript of the Gospel, written in Latin in 800 A.D., of the New Testament and “widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure” (Wikipedia). The rooms leading up to the actual viewing of the book (a little anticlimactic) were very enlightening in describing who wrote the texts and illustrated them, as well as the process of how books were made on animal skin and preserved in those olden days. I liked best the use of animal illustrations (loads of symbolism) to decorate various pages. But also, who doesn’t like books decorated with gold/silver? There’s an adorable animation of the Book that I’m glad to have seen before the real thing, for a little (fictional) historical perspective. No photos allowed!

The Book is housed within Trinity College Library, which is also part of the Kells tour ticket. The Long Room in the Old Library makes it one of the top 10 most beautiful libraries in the world. “The 65-metre-long (213 ft) main chamber of the Old Library, the Long Room, was built between 1712 and 1732 and houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books… The Long Room also holds one of the last remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic… the Trinity College Harp (also known as the “Brian Boru harp”) in The Long Room that is the oldest of its kind in Ireland dating back to the 15th century. The harp is made out of oak and willow and includes 29 brass strings.” (Wikipedia).

Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle was one quick visit I wish I had had more time to properly explore. Unfortunately there had been a line for the Book of Kells that threw my plans in turmoil. The collection of international art and literature there is open to the public (free admission), and such a treat! Wikipedia says they: “exhibit manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and some decorative arts from the Islamic, East Asian and Western Collections”. Fun fact: the library houses “the largest collection of jade books from the Imperial Court outside China”. Again, no photos allowed. But oh how I wish..!

best lunch: Gallaghers Boxty House (20 Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland). I finally got to try the Irish stew. Perfect for a cool, cloudy day. Yum!

best dinner: El Grito (Merchant’s Arch, Dublin 2, Ireland). Mexican hole-in-the-wall takeaway. Arianna had been there so often, it was impossible for me to pass up some ethnic American cuisine.

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Some panoramas, showing where The Edge (U2) and Enya have (castle!) residences by the eastern coast, south of Ireland:

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~Jessica