Mar 14, 2011

Everyone's IRISH on March 17th

"An Irish Blessing"
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
May the rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

It's been a very very busy last few days in the Scurlock household.  Josh had both his Physiology and Neuro midterms this week and so he was busy studying and taking tests like a mad man.  His hard work paid off, he did GREAT on both tests!  As a post-midterm treat to both of us, yes I said BOTH of us because midterms are highly stressful for me too, we took a trip over to Dublin, Ireland for the weekend. 
Dublin is about a 1 hour plane ride from Newcastle and when you fly on a cheap airline like Ryan Air, it really is extremely affordable (only about 20 pounds per person roundtrip).   We arrived Thursday afternoon and checked into our hotel in Temple Bar.  Temple Bar is a trendy area in downtown Dublin, just South of the River Liffey.  There is an Irish Pub on just about every corner and most of the major attractions are only a few minutes walk away, an ideal place for tourists like ourselves.  After getting situated in our hotel room, we ventured out to the streets of Dublin for some lunch and some exploring.  We ate lunch at a great restaurant called Elephant and Castle, recommended to us by our friends Tarrah and Kris who visited there last term.  I had the spicy chicken wings, which if you know me well, you would know that I rarely eat chicken off the bone, but these things were amazing!  Josh had a cheeseburger which he ate in about 5 minutes.  I think it was the best burger he's had since living in Europe.  We found out after that there is also an Elephant and Castle in New York.  If we end up there for clinical rotations in a year and a half, you know where I will be frequenting often!
After filling our bellies to the brim, we went exploring around the area near our hotel.  We stopped near the River Liffey to take in the sights.
River Liffey
A shot of me by the Liffey
We then strolled through the Temple Bar area.  There are SO MANY PUBS.  I think if we stayed in Dublin for one month, and went to a different pub every night, we still wouldn't get a chance to go to them all.  It is so fun to see them all though.  They're all look so authentically Irish (at least to me, but what do I know?).  At night, many of them have white lights up and flags and the small streets just look magical.

Josh and I in Temple Bar
Then I saw this sign.  We didn't actually go there, but where else in the world would you see something like this?
After walking around for a bit, we headed back to our hotel for a drink at the "Pour your own Pint" bar.  It was literally a bar where they had taps on each table for you to pour your own glass of beer.  Josh thought it was pretty cool.  He then proceeded to have his first Guinness in Dublin, which to me, seems to be what people drink here instead of water.  A man told me that if you drink lots of Guiness, you'll grow chest hair.  Needless to say, I stayed far away from it.
Dublin Citi Hotel Bar
Pour your own pint
We slept in on Friday and then headed downstairs to have a traditional Irish breakfast.  It was very similar to the "Traditional Scottish Breakfast" I had while in Scotland.  They really like to start the day off with lots of protein in these countries.
Sausage, Bacon, Beans, Haggis, Egg, Tomato, and Mushrooms
It was quite rainy on Friday, but with our umbrellas over our heads, we didn't let the wet weather stop us.  We found St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is an absolutely beautiful church and is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland.  There was a large garden on one side of the church, and though it was wet, we walked the grounds, taking pictures of the gorgeous flowers.

The inside of the church was magnificant.  It always amazes me that these churchs were built hundreds of years ago when things like bulldozers and cranes were non-existent.  How in the heck did they do this stuff?!?  My pictures don't do the inside of St. Patrick's Cathedral justice as it was dark inside and I only have a small point and shoot camera, but you get the idea.

One of the many stained glass windows.
They didn't have pews, but they did have these hand stitched knee pillows.  Every single one was different.
Next, we headed over to Christ Church Cathedral.  We didn't go inside this church, but the outside was strikingly beautiful and so we had to take some pictures here as well.
Loved this door of the church.
Just in case you're not sure which way the cars are coming from!
Our next destination was the Guinness Storehouse, but we were getting a little famished at this point, and so we stopped at the cutest bakery shop I've ever seen for a treat.

Queen of Tarts!
A cup of hot tea and a chocolate scone with cream and jam. Perfection.
With our stomachs satisfied, Josh and I continued the journey to the Guinness Storehouse in the rain.  It was about a 30 minute walk from our hotel.  Along the way, we began to notice something very funny about Irish doors.  They are all different colors!  I decided it was time to start photographically documenting them.
The doors of Ireland.
We finally made it to the Guinness Storehouse.  We had to pay 15 Euro each to take the tour, but we both agreed that it was worth it.  The storehouse was huge.  You could easily spend a few hours there.  It included a tour of how they make the beer, the different advertising that has been done over the years, the history of the man who created it, and a bar at the top of the building with a 360 degree view of the city complete with a complementary pint of Guinness for everyone, well everyone over the age of 18.

When we finally made it to the Gravity Bar, our reward was some "Black Gold."  Josh convinced me I had to at least TRY a sip of Guinness while actually at the location that it is brewed, plus it was free.  Josh said the face that I made after sipping it was absolutely classic and I can say that that was my first and last sip of Guinness ever.  Josh ended up with two for the price of one.

View of Dublin from the Gravity Bar
On our way back toward Temple Bar, we made another stop by the Liffey for a few more pictures.

Then we stopped at a pub called O'Donoghue's for some more drinks and some dinner.  Josh got the fish and chips, while I stuck with my new favorite thing, spicy chicken wings.  We called it an early night after all of our exploring.
On Saturday, we headed out for day #2 of exploration.  Our first stop was Trinity College, founded in 1592.  It is the oldest university in Ireland.  I can't imagine trying to study and go to class here, it's so old and beautiful, I don't think I'd be able to concentrate.

Then we took a walk down Grafton Street which is one of the big shopping spots in Dublin.  There were quite a few people on the street doing things for tourists entertainment, trying to earn a euro or two.

Me and the Leprechaun on Grafton Street
Molly Malone: A song that has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin.
At the end of Grafton Street is the entrance to St. Stephen's Green, a public park in the center of Dublin.  It is beautiful and had it been a slightly nicer/warmer day, I could see where it would be fun to get lunch and have a picnic at the park.

Josh and I in St. Stephen's Green

We did some more wandering around the city, but eventually we ended up back at our hotel for more drinks and watched the rugby game.  We were exhausted and since we had an early flight to catch on Sunday morning, we headed back to our room rather early.  We had such a fun time in Dublin and we are both so happy that we have had the opportunity to do some traveling while living in the UK. 



  2. How lucky we are that you are taking photos and blogging about your
    experiences and life while Josh is in school!! So exciting for both of you
    to get to experience something that very few get to do!!! Will continue to
    enjoy your blogs and photos.. Love and hugs to you and Josh!!!
    Mrs. G <3