Bucket list: Ireland? Check! (part 1)

We didn't see any leprechauns.  But we did enjoy a pint (or two) of Guinness.

Our trip to Ireland was limited to Dublin, since we only had a few days.  But I think that it still qualifies for being checked of the bucket list, right?   I am hoping that we will get a chance to return to Ireland to take in more of the country side.  While Dublin was interesting, my feeling (and from what I have been told) is that the beauty of the country is mostly outside of Dublin.

This was J#4's for plane trip--and she was a pro!  Barely a peep out of her.

not quite at the smiling on demand age, I guess. 
This trip was special, because we met up with our good friends Kara and Mike (from Minnesota) in Dublin.  Yippee!
said friends meeting J#4 for the first time

J#3 was just a "bit" excited about seeing familiar faces.  do you see him
holding Mike's hand?  the kid barely EVER holds hands.  with anyone.
I tried something new before this trip.  See, I am not one to delve into history books. Pretty sure that history didn't rank in my favorite school subjects.  But before this trip, I read "101 Things You Didn't Know about Irish History".  Huh.  Who knew visiting a city (or country) would be so much more interesting once you know some of the history?  

After trips to our hotels and a quick rest...our first stop:  Dublin Castle.  Never in my life did I think I would be visiting so many castles. 

the throne room.  Queen Victoria, I believe was the last
royalty to actually use the chair.  
We were talking about how perfect of a photo it would have been if J#3 would have jumped up into the chair.  We would have gotten kicked out.  But, seriously, wouldn't that have been a perfect picture?

J#3 making himself comfortable at
Dublin castle.  Queen Elizabeth had done the same
(but on a chair-well, I just assume) a few days earlier
in this very room. 

Sunday morning, we rose early to meet at Trinity College.  The plan was to take a hop on/hop off tour bus from there.  But, first we wanted to view the Book of Kells (an extremely old written version of the four gospels, circa 800 AD).  An interesting fact about Trinity College--Catholics weren't allowed to attend school there (without getting special permission from the Bishop) with out the threat of being excommunicated from the Church until 1970.  

one of the older buildings on campus.  the college was founded in 1592. 
Of course, you aren't able to take photos of the Book of Kells. Or what can now be considered one of the top ten places I have seen.  For some reason, the library at Trinity College took my breath away.  This photo doesn't do it justice, but can give you an idea: 
The massive amount of books.  VERY old books.  The wood ceiling.  

Maybe you had to be there?   Have you been there?  Am I the only one that thinks it is awesome? 

J#3 tired of acadamia, so we moved on
So, we headed to the bus.  Thought we would get on right near Trinity College.  But, due to a certain visitor (more on that soon) who chose the same week to visit Ireland as we did, we had to walk through a shopping area (closed.  boo. hiss.) to get to the bus. We hung on the bus for awhile, passing the many other historical churches and neighborhoods of Dublin.  On the open, top level.  In the rain.  Good times.

Next stop?  Here is a hint... 

doesn't help, does it? 

maybe this will?  
Or not.  Well, maybe a few of you will have a guess based on that photo. Here is one that will give it away.  For sho.


That's right folks,  the Guinness Brewery.  President Obama (yup, that would be the visitor) said something in an Irish pub about how the Guinness in Ireland is better than you can find anywhere else.  He wasn't lying.  In fact, I think he stole that line from us.  

And, as far as brewery tours go, this one ranked up near the top.  It was self led--which usually means I speed through to the samples--but kept my interest.  And the top floor?  Gravity Bar.  Your ticket gets you a free Guinness.  Well, I guess since you have to pay for the ticket, it isn't really free. 

settling.  (the beer, not us)
awesome views.
But, the cost of the ticket was worth.  Good beer, good company, and good views.  Pretty much the perfect trifecta. 

Uffda (don't worry-haven't lost my MN speak).  I'm tired.  How about you?  More of our Ireland trip to come.  Soon.  I promise!  

Still to come?  A prison visit.  It was riveting.  Well...maybe not for J#3.  

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