Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 2 - Explorations Begin(Pre-Tour)

After my sleeping for so long, at about 8 the next morning I went down to have breakfast. According to Mom she came back within 5 minutes to switch rooms and pounded on the door and yelled at me, doing everything short of getting a maid to open the door to try and wake me. I found this out next morning at breakfast while she pouted for the rest of the meal about my wasting a perfectly good bath but otherwise I hadn’t missed much; They had gone to a pub for lunch and walked around the city a bit before having dinner. Today we were going to take a ‘hop on hop off’ bus tour to get around the city and visit a few sites.

Our First Stop: The National History Museum of Ireland

Ireland’s other language is Gaelic, or Irish, which is technically their native language. The vast majority of the country speaks English despite this fact. It does, however, require all their signs be printed in two languages.

The one on the left is Diana(or Diane, to be honest I never was sure which), a couple my Mom and Robbie had met on the Scotland tour had come with us to Ireland early and we spent the two early days there with them. The one in the middle with the hat is my stepdad, Robbie and the one on the far right is Gary, Diana’s husband. I don’t have too many pictures of the people on the tour, but there were, in-all, 40 of us. And I don’t know who the lady walking out is, she was just in the picture unrelated to anything we did.

The museum was originally a military yard and converted at some point. We spent a lot of time there due to Gary and Robbie’s desires to read every. single. sign. in the place.

Once done there, we got back on the bus and headed to the Jameson(pronounced Jam-eh-son, not James son) distillery who make, I must say, some delicious whiskey. I convinced Mom to raise her hand for the volunteer ‘taste testing’ and of course they picked her. I’m the devil on her shoulder. They provided the volunteers with small samples of Jack Daniels Black Label, Jameson, and some other one I don’t remember, they all agreed(minus two guys who liked the Jack) Jameson was better but of course it’s probably set up somehow. When I tasted the Jack they offered it was definitely not as good as normal Jack Daniels. Import problems? I know Guinness bottled isn’t nearly as good here in the states as in Ireland, for example.

After Jameson we went to the Bodies exhibit at the Ambassador Theater. To be quite honest the exhibit was a let down. I suspect it was much reduced from the displays at other venues, perhaps because of the controversy over how the bodies were gained.  Obviously pictures couldn't be taken inside

We went to the hotel, had dinner and went to sleep. Not before switching rooms, though. They wanted that whirlpool bath.
Tomorrow the real tour starts.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 1(Pre-Tour)

Something of note, yeah if you search these posts you'll find another site with the exact stuff. I'm copying my stuff over to this blog so my friend doesn't have to keep hosting it.

This is the first day in Ireland. The tour hasn’t begun yet so we have time to burn doing whatever we want in Dublin. We plan on going places the tour isn’t going so we won’t see anything twice.
We landed at around 11 and got a taxi to our hotel, the Trinity Capital. Upon walking in we were greeted with a pretty interesting reception area. I didn’t get to admire it much right away. As we checked in they told us the rooms would be ready around 2. I wasn’t aware of just how tired I was. I sat in a chair to wait I quickly found out just how tired and fell asleep for an hour.

I was woken by Mom saying I had to get up, my first question was “Is it 2 yet?” with the answer of “No, it’s 1″ I fell back onto the chair fully intent on falling asleep again. She pulled me back up saying I had to go to the room. Utterly zombified, walking in a dream, I took my luggage to the elevator and went to my room. I don’t remember walking down the hall very well, I just remember Mom exclaiming “Oh my god look at your room, it’s so much better than mine, YOU HAVE A WHIRLPOOL BATH? We’re switching rooms” to which I replied “Okay yeah sure” and fell onto the bed. I remember nothing else except that I woke up at midnight and watched a movie for about 3 hours and then fell asleep until 7.

Some people may say that I completely wasted a day but I contend by saying I was completely adjusted to Ireland time and my sleeping schedule was perfect for the entire trip after this day.

Also this is our hotel, it was built into a combined fire station as well. We changed to the Hilton once the tour started.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Preface, but the pretty pictures are coming

A few notes to start: I’m a very amateur photographer and my camera wasn’t anything special, a Kodak M340(10.2 MP, 3x optical zoom with 1/30th ’shutter’ speed) It was very susceptible to shaking and it doesn’t help that my hands aren’t extremely steady which made zoom shots a tad difficult. A good bit of the shots were taken while riding our bus(coach) so there are some reflections/glare but I’ll try to only include the better pictures. I ended up taking around 1500 pictures before removing duplicates/terribles and ended up with about 1200 though I didn’t get the idea to make this post until a day or two after the tour started so I didn’t take as many pictures for those first few days.

I also don’t know how to go about making this post so I’m going to pretty much tell the story of what we did as long as I have pictures to go with it.

About a year ago(as of 2009) my parents signed up for a tour to Ireland led by Alex Beaton, a musician whom they took a Scotland tour with. Originally I wasn’t going but a few people dropped out so space opened up and upon being asked if I wanted to go my answer was, of course, ” Are you serious? I can go? Hell yes“. The tour was to last 10 days and we were starting on the East coast, in Dublin, and ending on the West, in Limerick. We travelled South to the coast, then West along it, and then North along the West coast. We made various trips inland and we were not at all restricted to the coast but it was the general path we used. The entire country is extremely small, only about the size of the state of Maine, so we could travel fairly far inland 
without too much time invested. The longest of bus trips was about 2 hours.

The months roll by, I finish the semester, and summer break starts. We pack, etc and get up at like 5 in the morning. My plan, as with anything involving long bouts of doing nothing, was to not sleep the night before and sleep on the plane. The trip to LAX was harrowing as the shuttle driver was utterly insane: imagine a driver who knows only brake or gas, nothing in between. Now put him in a shuttle bus with you as a passenger. But everything else went fine and we arrived at the Dublin airport.
This is mostly a picture log of the trip. I’m going to split it up for a post for each day and plan on having a minimal amount of words, using them mostly to describe the pictures. I'll likely post all of the pictures I took at some point rather than just the best of list I'm working off of to put in posts.