July 2009: Ireland | Great Britain

I didn’t start blogging my travels until recently, so I’m still finding photos and material buried in boxes and (fortunately for me) on Facebook.  Here’s the trip I took in 2009 to Dublin, Ireland, to Cork, Ireland (home of the Blarney Stone!), and to Newcastle-upon-tyne, Great Britain.

Our trip started off in San Francisco, and we took Aer Lingus directly to Dublin.  When we arrived, it was lunch time, and we were famished.  Someone directed us to a section called “Temple Bar”.  Yes, it does have a lot of bars, but that’s not why its called that.  It got its name from the Temple family who lived there.  

From Wikipedia: In Irish: its Barra an Teampaill,  which is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin, Ireland. Unlike the areas surrounding it, Temple Bar has preserved its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets. It is promoted as “Dublin’s cultural quarter”and has a lively nightlife that is popular with tourists

In Temple Bar, we had lunch at Gallagher’s Boxty House.  We had no idea what to expect, except they like to eat potatoes (and that’s true!).

The meal I had was called “bacon”.  I was some sort of pork… perhaps it was the side of a small pig, as it was huge… and my meal came with cabbage and, of course, potatoes.

It was a great way to say “welcome” to Dublin!


Here’s a glimpse of the streets of Dublin:

Gallaghers Boxty House, serving traditional Irish food in the Temple Bar

The Ha’ penny bridge. It used to cost 1/2 penny to cross. Now it is free

Dublin home


Samuel Beckett bridge

Viking ship on the River Liffey

Temple Bar

Dublin at 10pm

Dublin is most famous for their Guiness Beer.  The biggest tourist trap is their Guiness museum.  I thought they would show us how they made the beer.  No, its literally a museum, and it wasn’t cheap!  The end of the tour, you get a free pint of beer (not worth 10 euros) and a spectacular view of Dublin.

Guiness museum, not how they make the beer

Guiness museum

Cheers… its the end of the Guiness tour!

View on top of the Guiness

We heard that Dublin rains a lot.  We were lucky to have had only one day of rain, and decent weather the entire trip.  Here’s photos of other Dublin landmarks.

Molly Malone: The tart with the cart

Oscar Wilde

Brown Thomas Dept Store

St Patricks

St Patrick’s

On another day, we flew from Dublin to Newcastle-upon-tyne to visit my friend Karen.  She used to live in Southern California as a nanny and went back home.  I promised her each time I went to the UK, I’d make it a point to visit.  Luckily it was very cheap to fly.

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK

Newcastle priory


Newcastle United football team

I did kiss the Blarney Stone.. honest!

 Since we were in Ireland, I wanted to “kiss the Blarney Stone”.  I had no idea it was on the other side of Ireland, in a little town called Cork.  It was about a 3 hour bus ride (maybe longer), but a one hour plane ride.  Also, it was cheaper to fly than it was by bus. 

Since time was money… we woke up at 7 am and took the early bird flight, took the bus to the Blarney Castle (about half hour from the airport) to kiss a germ infested stone in the pouring rain.  To add humor to this wet trip, our camera broke just as we got to the Castle, so there’s no proof we kissed the Blarney Stone! (oh no!)