Céad Míle Fáilte…..one hundred thousand welcomes! I’ve been in Ireland for a few days now, and feel right at home. Though it’s a familiar land, there is still a foreign uniqueness to it. The first thing you need to remember driving is opposite of home, which means looking right instead of left before crossing the street. Luckily many of the streets have a reminder right on the street at each of the crosswalks; I’m guessing one too many tourists stepped out into traffic at the wrong time.
In the few days I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve already done so much. The Guinness Storehouse is a great place to start, since Guinness has been a part of Dublin’s history since 1759. You’ll start with a self-guided tour through their history, and finish off with a pint of the good stuff at the Gravity Bar with 360 degree views of the city. For the whiskey aficionados, a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery is not to be missed. The 40-minute guided tour will bring you through their family history, the highs and lows of the business, and of course includes a taste of the world renowned whiskey at the end. The best way to get around to all the sights is with a hop on-hop off bus pass. The 2 lines hit all the major sights, plus include some bonuses such as complimentary pints, and food discounts.
Another highlight has been Malahide Castle, located about 40 minutes from Dublin city center. This castle was owned by the Talbot family for more than 800 years, and they have occupied the land since the 12th century.
After the castle tour, I set off to start a 9 day tour with Cosmos Vacations that encompasses the island. The group has 41 people, and seems to be a good mix of ages. We’ve headed up to Belfast in Northern Ireland, where we’ve just wrapped up a city sightseeing tour and a trip to the Titanic Experience Belfast, which is located at the original construction sight of the ship. This is the world’s largest permanent Titanic exhibit, and I highly recommend a visit if you are a fan of the history.
Tomorrow we head up to Giant’s Causeway on our way back into Ireland, where we will end up in Sligo for the night. I still have a full week here ahead of me, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the country has in store.