Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dublin, Ireland

Back in March, during St. Patrick's Day weekend, we went to Ireland!
It has been a trip that we have been trying to plan for the longest time. Drew's grandparents were from Ireland, they emigrated over to Canada, had Drew's mom and her siblings, and the she had Drew and his siblings. Haha.
Long story short, going to Ireland has always been a dream for Drew, especially since he still has lots and lots of family there that he has never met before! Drew's Grandfather passed away in March of 2014, but before we moved over to Germany in 2013, we knew that Ireland would be a place we would visit. We talked to him about going to Ireland and what we should do, he told us that we definitely need to see Dublin (that's where he was from), but we also needed to drive across the country to see the country side. So of course that's what we did! (I'll save that for another post.)
Drew's mom, Gwen had been visiting us from Canada the week before and we continued the visit by heading to Ireland!

Dublin, March 2015

We flew with Aer Lingus from the Munich Aiport straight to Dublin. We could have flown with Ryanair again, but that would've meant we either had to fly out of Memmingen, Prague, or Frankfurt-Hahn, all airports are about 3 hours away from us and had us flying out and in at odd hours. Instead we chose to pay just a little bit more and fly a direct flight out of Munich.
This was our first time flying out of Munich. It is a BIG airport. Very confusing, but it is nice. I read an article where it ranked Munich as one of the best airports to have a layover at. I wasn't impressed. Honestly I prefer smaller airports.
We parked at P41N for 40 Euros for 3 days, it was the cheapest and furthest parking lot from the terminal. We had to catch a shuttle which brought us to the terminal. (Side note, Make sure you know which terminal you're departing from, the bus doesn't tell you!) It wasn't too bad, just full and cramped, but that's life. (Next time I would just pay a bit more to park closer, because when we got back we had no idea where to go to catch the bus, AND the last shuttle was one we caught at 7:40p!)
The flight wasn't bad, 2.5 hours, then we were in Dublin! Although Ireland is a part of the EU, they still give out passport stamps (which I was happy about) but they are huge, the stamp takes up half the page!
From the airport we gathered up our belongings and made our way through the airport to the Car Rental place. We ended up renting a car with Sixt. After a crazy mishap (someone forgot to book the Rental Car *Drew cough cough) But no harm no foul. Everything worked out for the better.
We made our way down the Highway to Drew's Great-Aunts house. I can't give you any recommendations on where to stay in Dublin because we were lucky enough that Drew's Aunt Mai let us stay with them for our visit. We had lunch with them (Fish & Chips of course) before heading off to the Jameson Distillery. Tony (Drew's Uncle) was kind enough to drop us off into town. We had plans to meet up with Drew's family at his cousin's boxing match later on that night. But since we only had a short period of time we wanted to fit as much as possible into our trip.

 They have to remind people which way to look when crossing the street, since they drive on the left side of the road!

Funny thing was, I kept telling Drew that he remembered to book the Jameson tour, but he couldn't be bothered to remember the rental car. He told me that he had only enough brain power to remember important things and Jameson was on the top of that list. Some back story, if you know Drew, you know that he LOVES Jameson. His drink of choice is Jameson and Ginger ale. He love Jameson so much he's already decided that our first son will be named Jameson! No, I'm not kidding!

In front of the Jameson Factory

We started off our Dublin experience at The Old Jameson Distillery. The Old Jameson Distillery is an Irish whiskey tourist attraction located just off Smithfield Square in Dublin, Ireland. Since opening as an attraction in 1997, it receives between 300,000 and 350,000 guests per year. The journey begins with an audio visual presentation followed by a walk through the recreated distillery and culminates in the Jameson Discovery Bar with a complimentary glass of Jameson and a chance to become a "Qualified Irish Whiskey Taster". The Jameson Gift Shop, Bars & Restaurant all offer so much more than just a tour, but an exciting and engaging experience at the Home of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
The tour was fun enough, our tour guide was knowledgeable and funny. We got a free drink at the end, and I took one of the Jameson glasses. No one stopped me when I walked out with it! Haha.

We ended up spending a mini fortune at the gift store (umbrella, flask, t-shirt, a bottle of the distillery reserved, and had it personalized!). Drew = big fan. Good thing for tax returns right? As a birthday present, I bought Drew the Distillery Reserve that you can only get at the Distillery and even had the bottle personalized, that's true love.

Our guide talking about why Jameson is the best!

Sidles' @ the Jameson Distillery

Jameson Barrels

American, Irish, and Scottish Whiskey, American & Scottish whiskey aged 12 years, Jameson only aged 6 years.

From the Jameson Distillery we thought about checking out the Guinness factory since it looked like a was only a couple blocks away. Some how we got turned around and ended up in the ghetto. We were the only ones on the street and walked pass a car that looked like it had just been broken into! Red Flag!! We turned around and got out of there as quickly as we could. We headed in the direction of town to where we were going to meet up with Drew's family, knowing that along the way we would see all the major sites.

I think looking back now we should have picked another weekend to go. We were in Dublin, St. Patrick's Day weekend. I know what you're thinking, that it's the best time to go. It is, the Irish are such friendly people, even when they've been drinking, but damn it was soo crowded. The city was decked out with Irish Flags, and all the major landmarks had green lights. The city was Green! We found Temple Bar and debated if we should attempt to get a drink, but you couldn't even walk into the pub! People were literally squished together out the door. No thank you!

Dublin Castle

Instead, we kept walking, and exploring, we even found the Hard Rock Cafe! Drew got a glass that was unlinke any of the other pint glasses we've gotten from the other HRC, instead it looked like a Guinness Glass and it said Dublin on it! (He collects Steins, his mom had gotten him an Ireland one a couple days before hand, so there was no need to look for one)

From the Hard Rock we started to look for a place to sit down for dinner. Since it was a Friday and in the middle of Lent (I'm Catholic) We had to find a place that had fish. You know how hard it is to find Fish that's not Fish and Chips (Chipper) in Dublin? Harder than you would think. We walked by countless restaurants that didn't serve fish, and if they did it was ridiculously priced!

After doing a little souvenir shopping, we stumbled upon a little cafe called, K's Kitchen that served fish, swordfish (YUM!) and had something Drew wanted to eat. At this point we had been walking all afternoon, had been up since 5am, I had not slept on the plane and all I wanted to do was sit down, have dinner and have WiFi so we could figure out where we were and how to meet up with Drew's family.
When we finished with dinner, we figured out that we were only a couple blocks away from the bar where Drew's cousin was doing the charity boxing match for ALS. We showed up to a full bar, looking like tourists with all of the things we had bought from the Jameson factory and the little shops along the way.
We had made it just in time to see Drew's cousin Julie, fight her match!
After Julie's fight everyone trickled out of the bar, and headed to the bar next door for drinks!
By this time it was midnight and I was exhausted! Maybe it was because we finally sat down, but after my first drink I started to headbob. So we called it a night and headed back to Drew's Auntie Mai's house, while Gwen partied on without us. Haha.
The taxi ride back was an interesting one, the taxi driver talked our ear off, first about taxi etiquette, apparently, the man needs to get in first for two reasons, one so that if the girl is wearing a skirt or a dress she doesn't have to slide over, and the second, the man needs to get in, to make sure that the taxi driver doesn't drive off with just the girl in the car! Haha.

Another pic of the Dublin Castle

The city was Green!

The 1st bank of Ireland was Green!

Saturday we headed off to the Cliff's of Moher, so our next full day in Dublin wasn't until Sunday. Sunday morning we had more time in Dublin, but first we had a wonderful Sunday brunch at Drew's cousin Ruth's home. I love being able to visit family overseas. It's such a great opportunity to connect!

It was so crowded you couldn't see inside
The Tart with the Cart!

Found the Tart with the Cart, rubbed her tits for good luck

From brunch we headed back into downtown Dublin to find all the major sites, mostly we just wanted to soak up the Irish culture, especially since it was St. Patrick's Day weekend. I would love to go back to Ireland one day, but I won't do it again during St. Patrick's Day weekend, too many people.
On our last night in Dublin, Tony took us to his bar right up the street where they had traditional Irish music playing, (people just show up with their instruments and they all play together, anyone can join in!)  we showed up a little late, and there was another band playing in the other room, but we sat right next to the little band and they played a few songs. The guy playing the Bodhran (Irish drum) even let me try to play his since I've never seen an instrument like it before!

An Authentic Bodhram
With Aunt Mai before we headed home

Leprechaun Drew & Tony 

Drew thought this was the best HRC shirt ever, I wasn't impressed.

Since our flight didn't leave until the afternoon, instead of lounging around the house Drew and I decided to check out Malahide Castle, it is just outside of Dublin about 10 minutes away from the airport. It was a win-win! Malahide Castle, parts of which date to the 12th century, lies, with over 260 acres of remaining estate parkland, close to the village of Malahide, nine miles north of Dublin in Ireland. Malahide Castle isn't as grand as the other castles in Germany, but this castle had beautiful gardens. We chose not to tour the castle, instead we walked around taking pictures of the outside and just enjoying all the lush green! It was still snowing in Germany after all.

But it was such a good weekend, made even better thanks to the incredible hospitality from Drew's Auntie Mai and Uncle Tony, and the multitude of family we got to meet while in Dublin. They were such great hosts and we had lots of laughs with them! I would go back just to spend more time with all of Drew's family, but more importantly Mai & Tony's amazing couch! :D