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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Ireland

Monday, October 01, 2012

Ireland - 2012

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 01/10/2012 20:14:40

I think Bres summarised our Ireland Bucks Week experience in once sentence. "Oh yeah - I keep forgetting we are in an actual country and not some crazy fun park". The road trip from Dublin to Tralee was one with enough amazing experiences that I would never want to forget - mixed with copious amounts of alcohol destined to make me do exactly that.

Most of us flew into Dublin on the same flight from Paris and caught the shuttle bus into the city. After checking into accommodation we met up at a nice little Irish pub called Grogan's and much Guinness was consumed. Apparently this pub serves the best Guinness in Dublin - and I certainly enjoyed it much more than I remember enjoying the same beverage in Melbourne for a St. Patrick's Day many years ago. We moved on to another pub and I found an Irish beer that I enjoyed much more than Guinness called Smithwicks (but pronounced Smidicks) - which became my Irish drink of choice for the rest of the visit. The night wasn't that long as we had to get up early the next morning for the start of the road trip.

Three vehicles were hired and after a bit of dicking around to get out of Dublin we were on our way. Day one involved driving up through Northern Ireland towards Portrush - and it was a fun drive. We had a great dinner in The Harbour Bar (pretty much every coastal town has one of these) and many beverages. Waking up tired and with another hangover, I decided to pare down my drinking in-case I was needed for some of the driving.

Day two involved a leisurely drive to Donegal, and contained most of the sightseeing for the trip. We started off walking through Giant's Causeway which looked pretty incredible. The audio guide provided was designed for children but it wasn't hard to enjoy the beautiful scenery without it. After checking out the dubiously named Camel, Pipe Organ and Peanut Butter On Rye Bread geographical features, we continued on to the Bushmill's whiskey distillery.

I've just finished dinner, and I still think this looks like a piece of Cadbury's Top Deck chocolate. You delicious volcanically-formed geological feature you!

On second look this appears to be a combination of the famous Karate Kid move with one of the chicken dances from Arrested Development

I am so glad we made sure we caught the Bushmill's Distillery tour - even though I was going on a Jameson tour later on in Cork. The tour guide clearly loved his whiskey and we went through a functioning distillery with the actual product running through the operational equipment. I'm starting to appreciate the process involved in brewing beer and distilling whiskey - whereas before I was kind of nonplussed. After a quick taste of the whiskey and meal we set off for Derry (or Londonderry if you please) to check out the old walls and murals dedicated to the Battle of the Bogside before finishing in Donegal.

I'd love to know how it was discovered that half-germinating barley before roasting and milling it could cause an alcohol when fermented with yeast and distilled. Probably the same process as the first man that sucked upon a skinny cow's udders and discovered Pura Light Start

One of the murals. Rita didn't have Sunday Bloody Sunday on her iPod so streamed it from the internet while walking down the road. How about them technologies?

The next morning in Donegal we saw a really cool castle before driving off to Galway. Before driving South we went West through Killybegs (great name) and climbed the Slieve League mountain which was incredible. We almost stopped halfway up - I am so glad we didn't because the view from the top was pretty amazing (and it was nice to have sheep company pretty much the whole way). We eventually made to Galway, checked into a dodgy hostel, had a few beers and got some sleep.

The view was certainly worth the foot destroying climb

I'm not much of a footballer (I've probably kicked the oval ball less than 100 times in my life) but I really enjoyed a bit of kick-to-kick in the middle of the town square in Galway. After a day which didn't consist of much more than that, it was time for the actual Buck's Night. A delicious meal was had at The Malthouse before we moved on to somewhere for more drinks and dancing. I say somewhere because I had a few at (before and after) dinner, and don't remember too many details of the night. I am not a dancer and I avoid it as much as I possibly can. This completely changes when I've had a few too many beers, and I was cutting the rug for many an hour that night - just loving life. The photos and videos I've seen since have confirmed that the alcohol does not improve my dancing skills in any way - but certainly increases the enjoyment I feel while executing them. Thankfully I had enough sense to drink a bunch of water amongst my Jamesons - so I was feeling fine to drive the next afternoon.

I currently have no photos of my dancing available to me - so this is probably an accurate representation

The next day I drove to Tralee and really enjoyed being on the right side of the road and car. At Tralee we caught the end of the All Irish final of Gaelic Football in a nice pub, and I found myself a hotel for the night. Completely spent I enjoyed a night off the alcohol and a quiet bath with Mr. Ducky Poos. I caught a train to Cork the next day, and hung around purely so I could go on the Jameson Distillery tour. Turns out I shouldn't have bothered - it wasn't a functional distillery and while seeing some of the old equipment was interesting, the guide was clearly following a script and did not have her heart in it. I wasn't too upset - as I already enjoyed the great tour in the Bushmills distillery, and I was about to fly to London

This chandelier was created as a memorial for the spousal abuse victims of the people that drank all Jameson's Whiskey to get enough bottles to make the chandelier (Oh no, I've gone cross-eyed)

This is the 21st in the EuroJoel - 2012 series
City 1 - Lisbon, Portugal - 2012City 2 - Porto, Portugal - 2012City 3 - Madrid and Toledo, Spain - 2012City 4 - Valencia, Spain - 2012City 5 - Barcelona, Spain - 2012City 6 - Naples, Italy - 2012City 7 - Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012City 8 - Florence and Pisa, Italy - 2012City 9 - Milan and Bologna, Italy - 2012City 10 - Venice, Italy - 2012City 11 - Prague, Czech Republic - 2012City 12 - Dresden, Germany - 2012City 13 - Berlin, Germany - 2012City 14 - Legoland, Denmark, 2012City 15 - Edinburgh, Scotland - 2012City 16 - Nice and Monte Carlo, France - 2012City 17 - Lyon, France - 2012City 18 - Dijon, France - 2012City 19 - Provins, France - 2012City 20 - Paris, France - 2012City 21 - Ireland - 2012City 22 - London, England - 2012City 23 - Killarney - Ireland, 2012City 24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - 2012City 25 - Brussels and Bruges, Belgium - 2012City 26 - Warsaw, Poland - 2012City 27 - Krakow, Poland - 2012City 28 - Vienna, Austria - 2012City 29 - Budapest, Hungary - 2012City 30 - Bucharest, Romania - 2012City 31 - Nile Cruise, Egypt - 2012City 32 - Cairo, Egypt - 2012

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