ireland honeymoon, part four
Then we visited the Tullamore Dew distillery which was combined with a little town history museum. This tour was self-guided and was pretty interesting. We learned more about coopering, the art of making those wooden barrels the whiskey is aged in. I can't imagine ever making even one barrel that could hold liquid. My luck, after all this time and labor, I'd go to char the inside and would burn the whole thing down. Props to the coopers.
We ended the tour with the requisite sampling. The Husband tried the whiskey while I had the liqueur, Irish Mist. Now that's something I could get behind. Much less harsh when compared to straight whiskey. We also had some lunch and an Irish coffee. Turns out the Tullamore folks were responsible for popularizing the drink in the US.
Then we drove the short distance to Kilbeggan to tour their distillery as well. Also a self-guided tour and you could really get up close and personal with the equipment. Again, even though we toured multiple distilleries, they all had something unique to offer and it didn't seem like you were just seeing the same ol' thing repeatedly. And they had a real live cooper working on the premises. Fun!
Because we didn't need a car in Dublin and also didn't want the stress of returning it by 8:00 the next morning, we found a B&B to stay in right outside the city. We returned the car to the airport the night before, ate McDonald's (blasphemy, I know) and headed back south via the bus. We ended up getting a great bus pass that included roundtrip airport transport, any city buses and the hop on and off bus tour. Too bad their bus system is incredibly confusing. No one really knows what's going on--even the locals. Even the transit employees. At least everyone is nice and tries to help as much as they can. On our way back to the B&B that night, we ended up on a bus with other B&B guests. They were kind enough to show us the short cut from the bus stop to our temporary home.
We chatted with those folks over breakfast the next morning and the dad gave us two free passes for the Guinness tour (that they hadn't used). Very nice. After breakfast, we took a cab to our hotel. It was the only place we stayed 2 consecutive nights while we were there. Reasonably nice hotel but no one knew where it was...that always makes for a fun cab ride. We were able to check in early and lounged around a bit before heading to the city.
Our fellow American tourists (as well as guidebooks) recommended taking the Trinity College tour before seeing the Book of Kells. The tour guide was a current student--very funny and informative. It's crazy to think that here's this college...and it's older than our country. The Book of Kells was amazing when you really think about the work that went into it and the technology that was available at the time. I'm glad we got to see it since you probably don't get the chance very often in life.
We spent some time visiting the National Gallery and seeing some of their art for free. Then we headed on to Bruxelles Pub for a quick bite before seeing Ray LaMontagne in concert. Perhaps this was the real reason for the trip, not to celebrate the joining of our lives, etc. :) Really, it was probably why I consented to us leaving a few weeks after the wedding. I found Ray's music while wedding planning and even used one of his songs for the recessional. It was a great show with a fantastic opening act...The Low Anthem. These people played 3 times the number of instruments as they had people. Seriously. And, then there was Ray...
Friday was our last day in Ireland. We slept in, tried to figure out the bus schedule so we'd be able to leave the following day, were told misinformation (we later realized), and ate lunch at Flanagan's. The rest of the day was pretty much spent on the on-and-off bus tour. We saw some interesting sites including the Custom House, Phoenix Park, and Christ Church Cathedral. We also toured St. Patrick's Cathedral and Guinness. The best part about Guinness was the bar on the top floor. It's round with the bar in the center and all the walls are windows. You have a great view of the city. That night we had pizza and dessert at the hotel and packed up for the early Saturday morning flight.
The Husband would like for me to tell you (I'm sure) that we tried to take a bus Saturday morning but realized that they didn't start running early enough. Fortunately, there were lots of available cabs. We took one and the driver said his meter was broken--it was charging us a lower rate but what can you do? He told us how much he estimated the fare would be and The Husband looks to see how much cash he had. I also had some left but soon realized it was probably in my pants pocket. The pants I wore yesterday. The pants that were packed in my suitcase in the trunk of the cab. Turns out, we had just enough money to pay the fare without worrying about the misplaced cash. The flight back was thankfully uneventful.
It was a really good trip. I'd highly recommend it (although yours may not be as good since you probably won't be honeymooning with my hubby--but perhaps your travel companion will make a Guinness mustache, too).