Browsing Tag:


    Ireland Part 5: Kilkenny and Dublin

    After a night in Cork, we headed back east. We made a stop in Kilkenny and saw the castle. (Photography was not allowed inside.) Much of the Kilkenny Castle had been restored. I don’t watch the show, but our friend said it was very Downton Abbey. The art gallery was especially impressive.


    Kilkenny Castle entrance


    Kilkenny Castle


    There was a beautiful rose garden in back:



    Kilkenny Rose Garden




    After touring through the castle, we grabbed a quick lunch at the farmers market then headed back to Dublin. We had two nights left of our trip. We didn’t do much the first night, and we all had different places in Dublin we wanted to see on Friday.

    Friday ended up being our only rain day, which made it perfect for checking out museums. David and I tried to go to the National Decorative Arts and History museum, but we found out we were on the wrong side of town. We stopped into the National Museum of Archeology instead. Entrance was free, which was great. We saw artifacts from 7000BC and learned about the bog areas of Ireland. They had several petrified bodies that were found in the bogs – creepy!


    Dublin Archeology Musem


    After the museum, we met up with our friends at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. St. Patrick’s was rebuilt in the early thirteenth century:


    St. Patrick Cathedral


    It was huge and incredible and beautiful. There was so much to see inside.


    St. Patrick Cathedral stained glass


    Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, is buried there:


    Jonathan Swift grave


    We stayed  to hear the Choral Evensong and I’m so glad we did. The voices and acoustics were just beautiful. It was a nice time to sit and pray and praise God.

    The cathedral is a magnificent work of architecture and I can’t imagine the time and labor that was required to build it. It’s interesting how these beautiful structures were created to be houses of God. And while I think workmanship and reverence can please God, what a joy it is to know that He cannot be housed by anything created by man! Church is not a structure, but the people. He is anywhere that two or three gather and his Spirit is with His people.

    So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” –2 Corinthians 4:18




    We had one more night in Dublin and returned to Ankara the next day. We had such a wonderful time in Ireland and are so thankful for the opportunities we have to travel!


    » Ireland Part 1: Dublin
    » Ireland Part 2: Driving in the Countryside
    » Ireland Part 3: The Cliffs of Moher
    » Ireland Part 4: Blarney Castle


    Ireland Part 4: Blarney Castle

    After a night in Galway, we drove south to Cork to visit the Blarney Castle. We were blown away by the beauty of the castle’s grounds.


    Blarney Castle stream


    Blarney Castle grounds


    Blarney Castle grounds


    The castle was originally built around the year 1210 and was later rebuilt by Cormac MacCarthy in 1446.


    Blarney Castle


    Blarney Castle grounds


    People have been visiting the castle for hundreds of years! Check out this graffiti from 1899 and 1897. I was amazed at how beautifully these serif letters were carved into stone:


    Old graffiti


    We followed a steep and narrow staircase to get to the top:


    Blarney Castle stairs


    Inside the Blarney Castle


    It’s said that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you gain the gift of eloquence (aka the gift of gab). There were signs around the castle that told about the history and legends of the place.


    All blarney


    I had no idea what it took to kiss the Blarney Stone. Once we got to the top, there was a man who offered to help us. For someone short like me, I really needed the help! You have to lie on your back, hold onto the supports, and bend over backwards to reach the stone. I can’t imagine trying to do it without the metal supports! They used to just hold people by their ankles. (Apparently there was a Sherlock movie where someone tried to kiss the stone and fell to their death.) We joined the ranks of people like Winston Churchill who have kissed the stone! Did you know that kissing the Blarney Stone is on the Discovery Travel Channel’s lists of 99 things to do before you die?


    David kissing the Blarney Stone


    Leah kissing the Blarney Stone


    The view from the top of the castle was incredible:


    Top of the Blarney Castle view


    View from the Blarney Castle


    After the castle, we enjoyed walking around the rest of the property and the beautiful gardens. There were some really unique trees:


    Large tree with low branches


    There were a few fall colors:


    Leah next to fall leaves


    The Rock Close garden had some peculiar points of interest. It was a little creepy at times!




    Brittany walking up the wishing steps


    We were at Blarney Castle for several hours and could have stayed even longer, but it started to get dark.


    Blarney Castle at night


    We didn’t pay close attention to the signs of how long the place was open. (Afterwards, we found out admission closed at 6pm or dusk.) By the time we made it out to our car, we were the only ones in the parking lot and everything was locked up. We were worried because they had put up the guard rail at the entrance and we thought our car might be trapped there for the night. Fortunately, we found a back entrance!

    We headed into Cork for the night (a crazy place to drive), then worked our way back to Dublin the next day.


    » Ireland Part 1: Dublin
    » Ireland Part 2: Driving in the Countryside
    » Ireland Part 3: The Cliffs of Moher
    » Ireland Part 5: Kilkenny and Dublin



    Ireland Part 3: The Cliffs of Moher

    When we first started researching things to do in Ireland, we knew we had to see the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs are located in County Clare and are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction. After spending the day driving through the countryside, we finally arrived at our destination. It was a breezy and cool day. We bundled up and eagerly headed to see the cliffs. (Since we got there a little later than we had originally planned, we opted out of browsing the exhibit in the visitor center.)


    Cliffs of Moher sign


    The first view was breathtaking. I had seen pictures of the cliffs before, but they did not do justice to the amazing landscape.


    Cliffs of Moher


    Leah and David at the Cliffs of Moher


    We hopped over the "safe walking route" barrier and started down a trail that ran along the very edge of the cliffs. I was a little nervous at first, especially with strangers passing by on either side. The highest point on the cliffs is 702 feet! But the view was definitely worth it. It was awesome to peek over the edge and get a look at rocks and waves below.


    Brittany at the Cliffs of Moher


    Leah surprised me by climbing up on this rock to get a picture. I decided to join her for a Titanic-esque picture, which turned out to be more of an awkward pic because we were afraid to move.


    David and Leah at the Cliffs of Moher


    Bo took advantage of the opportunity to point towards home...


    Bo looking over the Cliffs of Moher


    Everything was so green in Ireland, which added a whole other dimension to the cliffs. The moss and grass covering rocks was beautiful. We said many times during our trip that the country is comically green. It's hard to believe the depths of green covering everything.


    Cliffs of Moher


    I slipped...


    David falling off the Cliffs of Moher


    ...Just kidding. But there were several awesome dips near the edge that allowed for some fun pictures. Bo and I had fun goofing off.


    Cliffs of Moher Boys


    Cliffs of Moher


    Another thing that intrigued me about Ireland is that there are old buildings everywhere. And by old, I mean centuries old. I think I annoyed Leah and our friends by pointing out every single old building I saw. We walked along the cliffs to O'Brien's Tower. The tower was built in 1835 to promote tourism in the area. Although it's not quite as old as some of the other buildings we saw, it was still fun to walk around it. And the view was great!


    Cliffs of Moher Castle


    The land surrounding the cliffs was covered by lush green pasture.


    Cliffs of Moher pastures


    Leah said these cows must be the happiest on the planet, getting to eat this grass everyday.


    Cliffs of Moher cows


    Cliffs of Moher cows


    I wanted to stay for the sunset, but the girls got too cold, so we headed onward to Galway. We highly recommend the hostel we stayed at called Snoozles. We only had a night in Galway, then we drove to Cork!


    » Ireland Part 1: Dublin
    » Ireland Part 2: Driving in the Countryside
    » Ireland Part 4: Blarney Castle
    Ireland Part 5: Kilkenny and Dublin



    Ireland Part 2: Driving in the Countryside

    While we were planning our Ireland trip, we knew we wanted to see some specific sites. David did some research and found it was cheaper for us to rent a car than to purchase bus and train tickets. We started in Dublin, then traveled to Galway, Cork, Kilkenny, and back to Dublin. Fun fact: Ireland is about the size of Indiana.


    Our Ireland Road Trip


    We loved the freedom of having a car… Even though it was a little terrifying at times. David drove on the opposite side of the car on the opposite side of the road! The car was a manual, so he had to shift gears with his left hand. He did great! We were all very impressed. It may be hard to see from this picture, but some of the roads outside the city were very narrow!


    Driving in Ireland


    I loved traveling through the Irish countryside! Everything was so picturesque. We marveled at how green everything was. Ireland definitely earns the title of the Emerald Isle. We stopped several times to take photos.


    Irish country side


    Ireland country side


    Here’s our little rental car:


    Our Rental Car


    We found an incredible spot on our way to Galway. We walked across a rocky area to the calmest, clearest lake. It was so beautiful and peaceful. It was a really cool place to explore.


    Ireland Lake


    Leah standing by the lake


    A clear lake


    Exploring an Ireland lake


    Our friend brought her GPS, but it didn’t have our location, so the boys navigated old school style with a map. We did get very lost at one point in the middle of nowhere, but the Irish that we talked to were kind and helped us with directions. (It was super nice to travel in a country where everyone spoke English!)

    After many long, winding, and narrow roads, we finally made it to the Cliffs of Moher. David will tell you about that next!


    » Ireland Part 1: Dublin
    » Ireland Part 3: The Cliffs of Moher
    » Ireland Part 4: Blarney Castle
    » Ireland Part 5: Kilkenny and Dublin


    Fall Break in Ireland Part 1: Dublin

    The last few weeks have been a whirlwind and we have quite a lot of catching up to do!

    We had the week of October 14th off of school because Kurban Bayramı. David and I traveled with two of our friends to Ireland. (Because of where the holiday fell last year, we only had a few days off instead of a whole week!)

    We flew into the capital city of Dublin on Sunday. While we were waiting for our luggage, the first person who talked to David thought he was a national and asked how long he was home for! Gotta love David’s red hair! (David does have some Irish heritage, though it’s far back.)

    Our first night, we walked around the city and got some food. The walking bridges and canals were so pretty!


    Friends by the canal in Dublin


    Our hostel was close to Trinity College. David and Brittany ran through it one morning (they’re training for a marathon), and we all went later to see the Book of Kells.  It was a stately looking campus. There was an interesting mix of students and tourists:


    Trinity College


    Here’s the Sphere Within Sphere sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro that sits outside the college’s current student library:


    Berkeley Library


    The Book of Kells exhibit was very cool. The Book of Kells is part of the New Testament that was handwritten by monks sometime around the year 800. The pages were beautiful. No photography was allowed, but you can see images online.

    After we saw the Book of Kells, we went to The Old Library. This is the main chamber of the Long Room:


    Trinity College Library


    Trinity College Library


    It’s easy to get around Dublin and see a lot by foot. Here’s some of the colored doors Dublin is famous for:


    Old buildings in Dublin


    We loved, loved, loved the food in Ireland. It was a nice change of palate and all so delicious. We ate a ton of fish and chips, Irish stew, and chicken wings.

    One afternoon, we were all super hungry and tried to find a place for a late lunch. We stumbled upon the cutest little café called Brother Hubbard and were so pleasantly surprised!


    Brother Hubbard


    David and I both ordered their smoked salmon sandwich, which kind of changed my life:


    Brother Hubbard in Dublin


    After two nights in Dublin, we traveled to some other cities in Ireland. We’ll tell you about Galway, Cork, and Kilkenny soon!


    Sunset over the Dublin canals


    » Ireland Part 2: Driving in the Countryside
    » Ireland Part 3: The Cliffs of Moher
    » Ireland Part 4: Blarney Castle
    » Ireland Part 5: Kilkenny and Dublin