Jul 8, 2014

Europe with a Toddler, Part 5: Dublin, Ireland

The much awaited final post in our Europe with a Toddler series is here!!  The final destination happens to be Dublin, Ireland - one of the most wonderful places I've ever visited.

Here are the 4 previous posts in the series, just in case you missed them (do catch up because it's good stuff):

So, you may ask, what's so great about Dublin?  Typically, you hear that it's mostly an industrial city, it rains a lot, the food is kinda "blah", and it's all around gloomy and gray, BUT (and that's a really big "but") it was none of these things to us.  Dublin is the most amazing place filled with friendly people, tons of culture, delicious food, beautiful places, and unique experiences.  And, we even got sunshine while we were there.  Bottomline...book your ticket today, folks, because it's a best-kept secret that you don't want to miss.  Dublin, and it's surrounding areas, rocked!

First stop, just a block from our Radisson Blu hotel, was St. Patrick's.  It had the prettiest little park/church yard with a much-needed playground and lots of pretty tulips.

We played and ran around a bunch, then we indulged in the most delicious and classic Irish fare we could find...fish and chips, of course!  We happened to be just around the bend from the ultimate fish and chips place - Burdock's - which has been serving fish and chips (and not much else) since 1913.

It was SOOOOOO super good.  I don't even like fish, but I was digging on this yumminess.  The cheesy fries helped quite a bit too.

(Every time I look at that photo, I sorta drool)

Here's the view from our hotel room - which I must put another plug in for the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin because it was awesome.  

As I mentioned in other posts, we stayed in Radisson Blu's in every city we visited this time, and it's a sure shot for a great value and dependably lovely accommodations.  Their modern pops of coolness never hurt either...like this chandelier in the lobby.

Our next destination - The Guinness Storehouse - was just a short cab ride away.  (Our dear cabby indulged us in all sorts of Dublin tips, history, and magic tricks for the kids...it's great to be in a city where locals want to talk with you!)  This is a must-visit place, y'all.  I love Guinness...it's the only beer I actually like...and it's just so iconic to be there and experience the greatness of such a longstanding family-run company.

Guinness has been a staple in Dublin history and culture since 1759.  Since then, the family and business has always been a welcome presence in the city.  They're know for always having treated people right - their employees, the neighborhood, and the Dublin community at large.

We learned all about the brewing process (so cool!) and the history of Guinness.

Then, we got to indulge in the most delicious glass of Guinness I've ever had in their Gravity Bar - a tower topping bar with 360 degree views of Dublin.

Look how cute!  (Can you say that about beer?)  They poured each glass with a finishing flourish of a shamrock!!

Don't worry, the kids got as much Orange Fanta as they wanted...

We finished up the day with a delicious meal at a local pub with the hardest-working one-man ballad-singing man I've ever seen/heard.  He played about 12 instruments (some at the same time) and sang for hours on end.  I ate some delicious Guinness Lamb Stew.  Hard to capture the goodness of the savory magic, but it was divine.

The next morning we arose early and ate at my favorite little Dublin eatery - Rosie's Cafe on Weburgh Street. Their raisin scones were TO DIE FOR.  They served them with a ramekin full of fresh Irish butter and another crock full of homemade raspberry jam...it was like Heaven.  Yes, I went two mornings in a row and still crave them to this day. (note: no photo because it was inhaled as soon as it arrived at the table)

After breakfast, we headed out to catch our tour bus.  We're missing our beloved photographer in this photo, but you can see we're a happy bunch.  That is Justin's happy face (guy in aqua blue).

Waiting for our bus to arrive...  Hello, lovely pop of orange!

Yes, that's sun in Ireland!  We had phenomenal weather the whole time were were there.  It was "warm" for April - only a light coat required - and it was bright and cheerful and sunny.

Our first stop with the full-day Wild Wicklow Tour was a lovely coastal town called Dun Laoghaire.

The water was crystal clear but so very cold.

We just skipped rocks, but there were some crazy people trying out the polar bear plunge.

Our next stop was at a store called Avoca - which reminded me of a giant Anthropologie store but on the grounds of a beautiful secret garden sanctuary with a cafe that made the most delightful cappuccino and carrot cake muffin, and a nursery that had the most gorgeous flowers I'd ever seen.

Imagine...Anthropologie + garden + flower nursery + cafe....does it get any better than that?  Maybe if they added a spa??  I was so ready to move in.  It's a good thing we left when we did, because otherwise I would have been submitting my application for a job there.  

Back on the bus to drive through the Wicklow Mountains National Park.  Check out this mystical scenery!  Braveheart and many other epic movies have been filmed on these lands.

We got to hop out and walk through the peat fields and hear the pretty little streams trickle down the mountain side.

Then we came upon the splendor of Lough Tay (Gaelic for Tea Lake, note the water color).

It was so lovely and very quintessential Ireland to me.  If you look close, you'll see a white castle-looking structure in the photo below (on the right side).

The property belongs to the Guinness family, who else?!?  And tons of famous people have stayed there to get away from it all.  I wonder what I need to do to make the guest list?  Inquire about a housekeeping job perhaps?

Our final destination on our bus tour was an old monastery town called Glendalough.  Did I mention that the Gaelic language is beautiful!!  All these town names just flow off the tongue so beautifully.

It was originally built in the 6th century and flourished until the early 17th century.  Now that's a place with some history....

We took a hike and drank in the crisp, clean air before we headed back to the city to turn in before our long trek home the next day.

So, you can see that Dublin was quite the trip-finishing destination for us.  I'm itching to get back to Ireland and see more of what the country has to offer.  You really must go someday too!  Has anyone else been?  Did you enjoy it as much as we did?


Mindy said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I guess I need to start saving my pennies!!!

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