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a little bit of nothing…

BRILLIANT CRAIC!

The photos from this part of the trip can be found here, here and here.

So we were off to Ireland. Specifically, Dublin.

After some helpful advice from one of the kind ladies at my mothers work we had booked ourselves on a 6 day All Ireland tour with PaddyWagon Tours.
We arrived in Dublin on the 2nd of August and the tour did not start until the 4th so we had a few days to check out the city.
Dublin is a nice place and I would love to go back and explore more. Sadly I think I will need to take out a mortgage just to afford to spend any reasonable amount of time there.
People say London is expensive, Dublin is significantly more expensive. 13 euro (around $20) for 2 drinks at a pub/club is just bloody crazy.

We made sure to get some sleep the night before our tour started, this proved to be a smart decision as sleep was not exactly something we were going to get much of for the next 6 days.

Our tour left Paddy’s Palace in Dublin a little after 8 am.

Our first stop (more or less) was the Guinness Factory. This was supposed to be done in the afternoon on the last day but since they are usually pushed for time it was decided to do it on the first morning.

Part of the tour is a free pint. Drinking pints at 10am was not exactly something any of us were too excited about (that would change), but when in Rome (or Ireland for that matter)…

After the tour it was off to Belfast (with various photo stops along the way).
On the long drive we all started to get to know each other, by the time we hit Belfast everyone was almost old friends.

In Belfast we did a Black taxi tour of the city and visited some of the more historical parts of the city (where the fighting went down).
It was a really interesting city and I learnt a lot about the history of the city and the conflicts that have shaped it today.

After the tour we went out for dinner at one of the local pubs and then spent the night drinking and listening to some live Irish music.

A late night, followed by an early morning meant none of us were overly excited to be on the road the next morning, but we were on a schedule and had to be in Derry by the early evening.

We did quite a bit of walking during our photo stops on our way to Derry; we checked out the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, walked the Giants Causeway and got some photos of Dunluce Castle.

We arrived in Derry, checked into our hostel and then went on a walking tour of the city with a local guide.
Derry is fairly significant in the history of Northern Ireland as it was the location for some of the bigger fights in recent times.
Our guide gave us an insight into what it was like growing up in the middle of it all.

After our tour we headed back to the hostel, got changed and then went out for some dinner and drinks.
We partied till the early hours of the morning and finally headed home after we were asked to leave the club when it was closing.

Next morning it was off to Gallway. A long drive awaits with only a few stops to check out some of the sights on our way.
Gallway was billed as a party city so naturally we felt the need to party.

Another late night, another early morning.

Next stop was Dingle and the Randy Leprechaun pub (owned by the tour company).
On our way we stopped at various sights along the coast, saw the cliffs of moher and got some more great photos.

When we arrived in Dingle we checked into our room, had a shower and then headed next door to the pub for karaoke and party night.
Party night indeed, after we were kicked out of the pub we took the party back to the hostel where music less karaoke continued until the very early hours.

The following morning we jumped back on the bus and headed for Killarney.
On our way we drove out and around the Dingle Peninsular and spent a few hours doing a little shopping/lunch (more beer) in Dingle.

We arrived in Killarney and did a horse and kart ride around the National Park.
It was a fun way to see the park and our driver was a funny guy who made the trip fun.

Since this was our last night on tour, tonight was party night.
Party we did. Again we were asked to leave the club at closing time and then wandered back to the hostel not long before curfew.

The last day on tour we checked out the Blarney Castle (didn’t kiss the Blarney stone thanks to a busted shoulder from the night before) but took some cool photos and picked up some Irish momentos from the massive shop that is near the castle.

Picked up some beer for the ride home (since we were not really going to be stopping again) and then jumped back on the bus for the long ride back to Dublin.

On our way back we stopped for a quick photo at a castle and some more beer (anyone see a pattern developing here)?
The weather in Ireland is not exactly famous for being sunny and beautiful, but what we encountered on our way back to Dublin was crazy.
Flash floods had basically closed the city and with the Gaelic football on at Croke Park the city was a madhouse.

Some of the people on our tour missed their planes to get back to England as the roads to the airport were flooded and closed.

We got a lift to our hotel for the night and booked a cab for 3 am to make sure we made the airport in time for our flight.

After our late dinner (finished up around 11 pm) I decided it was not worth sleeping so I stayed up all night watching movies and going through my photos.

We made the airport on time and got on the right plane and made it back to England in 1 piece.

We were headed for Brighton to relax for a week by the beach.

More about that a little later.

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