Hello there. Today’s post is about Ireland. I was so surprised and amazed with this beautiful country. We had flown from London to Dublin at 9pm and I was very tired because that day we had taken 3 flights. By the time we made it to Dublin I was the proud and relieved. I couldn’t believe I went through all that and did so well. For someone who suffers from anxiety, imagine how hard it is to take 3 flights in a day. Taking off and landing are tense episodes. So is a whole day in airports, dragging luggage and working through a rigid schedule. First of all, I made sure to eat well, and drink a lot of water. I always bring some bags of Chamomile tea with me, which relaxes me a lot. Scheduling breaktimes during travel is necessary for me and it’s very important to leave plenty of time between fights to keep stress to minimum. We had a long layover in Gatwick, London, but it was a time to recharge and find the best airport meal we could. There are some decent options for food at every price level in Londons airports, unlike others, so we took the time to refuel. Every time we were ready to take off I was kind of nervous but I was practicing a lot of breathing exercises and drinking water. By the time we took the last flight I was completely comfortable, not nervous at all. I was so exhausted that I just wanted to get to the final destination. When we arrived in Dublin, I felt as though I had manged my anxiety to a new level. I was taking control of my own stress levels and at times forgetting anxiety altogether. Travelers know that a smooth transition between destinations is a victory in itself because interruptions in a schedule can come up at any time. At this point I could take a deep breath and appreciate the now. Here I was, ready to start a new chapter in a new country. Exhausted, but confident in my ability to enjoy the next adventure.
I was more than ready to explore Dublin. We took a cab from the airport to our airbnb. Some people prefer to take a bus or a shuttle bus. It can save a little money, but we prefer a cab because its easy and more comfortable and you can take a little break from dragging luggage. It’s an acceptable investment to us to avoid the hassels that come along with finding shuttle buses, trains or whatever other transportation might be available. When we got to the area of our apartment, the cab driver couldn’t find the address. It was on a side street with no car access, so he let us out. We got off of the car with our luggage and walked around to find the place. It was in the Temple Bar district. Crowed with pubs as you would imagine and filled with people at the time we arrived. We asked a local and within minutes had a crowd of 4 or 5 people helping out. It was the first of many examples of Irish hospitality that we experienced during our stay. Eventually we found our apartment, dropped off our stuff and went out to get some groceries. We always try to make it out the first night we arrive in a new location, no matter how tired we are, even if it’s just for a short walk. Having breakfast at “home” is a great way to save money, so our mission was to pick up something simple for dinner and breakfast the following day. Not easy at 11pm in a pub district. We did find a 24 hour grocery, where we found what we needed (pizza) and went back to our apartment to eat. After dinner, I started to feel like staying in. It had been a long day, and the pizza added to my tiredness. It was starting to get late and the crowds were starting to get intoxicated. I found myself making excuses for staying in and imagining worst case scenerious about leaving. This is a common cycle for someone with anxiety and I recognized it right away. I stopped myself from being so negative and made a compromise with myself and my husband to go out for one drink. We headed to The Temple Bar, which was right around the corner, for a beer and a Jameson shot. There was some high energy music and a rowdy crowd, but I got caught up in the fun, rather than focusing on negativity. We stuck to the plan, of keeping it short and went home for some much deserved rest.
The next day we got up had breakfast in our home away from home. We explored several of the tourist attractions within walking distance from our apartment like Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Dublin Historic Core, Dublin Ballsbridge and the Guinness brewery tour which we highly recomment. It’s a really fun presentation of the unique history of Guinness beer and brewing in general that’s pretty reasonably priced and best of all, end with a giant mug of Guiness beer at the observatory/bar that overlooks Dublin. We continued walking after that in the rain and we stopped to eat at a Pub called The Brazen Head. This pub/restaurant is the oldest in Ireland and has been around close to one thousand years. The meal was a hearty and delicious Irish Stew, which warmed us up and gave us energy for more sightseeing. We found that Dublin was pretty easy to see without paying extra for a tour bus, etc. There are a lot of great sights surrounding the Temple Bar region, which is near the River LIffey, which runs through central Dublin.
After a few days in Dublin, we started a new adventure, to rent a car and travel through the southern half of Ireland. Road trips are not easy for me, although I get very excited at he same way I get a little bit anxious. When I do, I always try to have fun and play some music to relax and distract me from negative thoughts. We got a late start, but drove toward Waterford, a town known worldwide for it’s crystal artworks. My husband was a little stressed too, having to drive on the opposite side of the road, and car, than what he’s used to. The highways in Ireland were extremely well maintained though. We made it to Waterford in time for a late lunch at another great pub/restaurant and to hang around for a few hours, to see the famous Crystal factory. When we went to the gift shop however, we found out that Waterford Crystal went through a series of buyouts throughout the early 2000’s and now sells crystal primarily bought from other countries! We did manage to buy some local Irish crystal gifts from a separate source, but a little more research would’ve helped in this case! We had mapped out our trip months in advance, but found ourselves having to cross many sights off our list, since we got a late start and with so much beauty and uniqueness in the Irish countryside, there’s just no way to rush through a trip like this. Our final destination that night was Cork and we had hoped to see the Ring Of Kerry, a series of beautiful views and meandering roads on the Southwest Coast. That was crossed out unfortunetly, but we were driving through the countryside on narrow, winding roads, which were wonderfully scenic. Often times, partial ruins of old castles sprung up in the farmland. We were heading to Cobh to see the famous Cobh Cathedral and made it at dusk, just in time to catch it in the last light on the day. It did not dissappoint. There are many beautiful cathedrals throughout Ireland. There seems to be one in every town, but Cobh Cathedral was our favorite. Cobh itself was amazingly beautiful too. It was the last port of the Titanic before she headed to NY. We left Cobh feeling like we needed more time there, but had to make it to Cork that night. On the way to Cork, driving at night along the narrow, hedge lined street, we hit a curb. A little bit after that we heard a weird noise and we were sure it was a flat tire. Guess what, we were right. We had to look for a place to stop with tall hedges lining each side of the road and no shoulder at all. It took a while, but eventually we found a driveway outside of a house in the country. When we were trying to fix it a man came out and asked if we were ok, we told him we had a flat tire and he let us come into his house and offer us some coffee and told us that his son was a mechanic. His son came and had the spare tire on within minutes and didn’t want to take any money from us. It was the best experience ever! Being alone in the country, with a flat tire and only the light of a cell phone to work from seemed pretty dismal and we thought it would delay us for hours trying to work in those circumstances. Instead we met some great people and had another great story to tell. Irish people are very warm and friendly, it happened a few times when we needed help, and they were always amazingly helpful, going out of their way to give directions or advice. We made it to Cork even more behind schedule but actually inspired by the events that took place. This time we broke our rule of exploring the neighborhood and stayed in at the Metropole Hotel, a luxurious hotel that felt like a remnant from a more classy era, with an enormous lobby, grand chandaliers and a great breakfast! The next day we had to get a new tire for the car, which put us even more behind schedule and caused us to scratch even more destinations from our list. We did see Blarney Castle which was lovely. It’s more or less the remenants of a Castle, not upgraded or updated, but there’s and erie beauty to the worn stone alleys that lead up to the top of the tower where the famous Blarney Stone resides. Unfortunetly, being rushed for time, we missed exploring the grounds around the castle which seemed to have a lot of great features. We drove on toward Galway and got to see more of the amazing countryside. There were several locations we’d hoped to hit before Galway, but found ourselves taking them off the list due to time constraints. We were set on seeing the Cliffs of Moher however and were glad we made sure to see them. It’s a truly amazing natural wonder that rivals every other we’ve seen with the exception of the Grand Canyon and Niagra Falls. Truly spectacular, the 800 foot cliffs lead straight to the shimmering sea that seems to crash into the foot of the cliffs in slow motion. It seems like the edge of the world and was particularly beautiful at sunset, when we arrived. It was also extremely windy, probably a constant situation due to the location but it was very extreme and difficult to walk through. We even saw a baby carriage tip over from the wind! Luckily the baby wasn’t injured, but it seemed like bad judgement on the mothers part to bring the baby to such a gusty location. The drive to Galway wasn’t far, but it was through the narrow, winding countryside that we were discovering was very time consuming to drive through. We again arrived there late at night and our B&B was kind of far from the city center, so we stayed in a got ready for our last full day in Ireland.
The following day we explored Galway. Although the suburbs of the city are fairly familiar and modern looking, there’s a medieval section in the city center that has magical, old world charm. There’s a pedestrian only section that is a great blend of modern shops and boutiques set in stone buildings and roads that probably havent changed much in centuries. There were street musicians that seemed to go along with the presentation, playing old world instruments and classic Irish folk songs. We took a street train tour (not running on a track) that covered a lot of the downtown area and was reasonably priced at 10 euros. We were slightly depressed, knowing that this would be our last day in this amazing country, but still amazed by the beautiful, historic aspects of the city. We left Galway in the early afternoon, heading back to Dublin and our flight home to New York the following day. There were several locations we had to scratch off our list this day as well, but we did manage to make it to Trim Castle in central Ireland. Unfortunately, we arrived at 5:04 pm. Four minutes after closing! It also happened to be raining, which added a little despair to our mood. We wandered around the grounds and saw what a grand majestic structure it was, and how we could’ve spent hours exploring it. We later found out it was one the first and probably most impressive Castle built in Ireland. From there, we headed to Dublin. There was so much more we wished to see, but made it to our final hotel in Ireland that evening. It was called the Clayton hotel, right outside of Dublin airport. We had a final dinner of fish and chips and our last pint of Guinness on Irish soil, making sure to toast the beautiful, charming and hospitable country we had fallen in love with. We promised ourselves to return again and get to see some of the things we missed.
El dia de hoy les escribo de Irlanda. Un pais donde todo el paisaje es verde y de gente muy especial y amable. En la ida a Irlanda tuvimos un dia un poco pesado, despues de tres vuelos en el mismo dia, el ultimo fue de Londres a Irlanda a las 9:00pm. Para alguien que le de duro viajar o alguien con ansiedad, imaginense que duro es 3 vuelos en un mismo dia. Pero nos aseguramos de tomar descanso y comer bien que es muy necesario entre cada vuelo, y especialmente si hay un horario apretado.
Al viajar siempre me aseguro de comer bien, llevar agua conmigo todo el tiempo y tambien me gusta llevar te de manzanilla y tomarlo cada vez que pueda: antes de despegar y aterrizar en cada vuelo que para mi es la parte mas dura, me aseguro de hacer mis ejercicios de respiracion que me ayudan demaciado. En Londres tuvimos una excelente oportunidad para descansar entre vuelos y fue muy necesario para recargar baterias. Cuando tomatos el ultimo vuelo estaba super relajada y esperando llegar a la nueva destinacion y disfrutarla al maximo. Luego llegamos a Irlanda y a pesar que me sentia demaciado cansada estaba feliz de estar alla y haber pasado todo este corre corre de vuelos y arrastrar todas nuestras maletas que por cierto llevabamos 3 maletas, una Inmensa y 2 morrales. Bueno la verdad como les decia tuvimos un buen descanso en Londres antes de el ultimo vuelo y a pesar de todo el estres del viaje tuvimos excelentes vuelos, y maneje muy bien los niveles de tension.
Cuando aterrizamos en Irlanda Pense ahora puedo respirar tranquila y disfrutar del ahora. Recuerda si sientes que es demaciado para ti hacer un viaje donde haces tantas paradas y tomas tantos vuelos, si piensas que es mucho, puedes tener la opcion de ir a un solo lugar y quedarte un tiempo largo donde puedas descansar y conocer al mismo tiempo. Si no viajas por el stress de este corre corre lo puedes hacer de una manera mas relajada. La idea es que tu ansiedad o preocupacion por como vas a salir un viaje asi de largo la pierdas y disfrutes de las maravillas y experiencias que ofrece cada pais. En cuestion de dinero lo puedes hacer con un presupuesto que se acomode a tus necesidades. Bueno les seguire contando, llegamos a Irlanda y tomamos un taxi para mayor comidad, algunas personas prefieren tomar los buses que los llevan a la ciudad aunque son muy economicos te tomas mas tiempo, mi recomendacion es un taxi para llegar mas rapido y comodos. En camino a nuestro Airbnb el taxista nos dejo una calle a una cuadra de distancia de nuestro apartamento y tuvimos que caminar y buscar, vimos un grupo de 4 personas que estaban en una esquina e inmediatamente todos pararon lo que estaban haciendo para ayudarnos, fue algo especial. Los Irlandeses tienen fama de ser muy hospitalarios y tratar muy bien a los turistas y asi fue. Cuando llegamos soltamos todo y nos fuimos a un mercado que estaba abierto por 24 horas, copramos pizza para la comida y tambien para desayunar al proximo dia.
Nuestra rutina de viaje y algo que no nos puede faltar y siempre lo hacemos es tener agua, frutas y pan con nosotros. Luego de comer nos fuimos al famoso Temple Bar por una Guinness y un trago de Jameson que son la cerveza y el licor mas famosos de Irlanda. Dia siguiente listos para explorar Dublin y todos sus lugares turisticos como, Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Dublin Historic Core, Guinness, Dublin Temple Bar, Dublin Ballsbridge. Y luego de caminar todo un dia en la lluvia, por que llueve mucho en Irlanda, un buen consejo si lo vas a visitar, no olvides un paraguas. Bueno fuimos a comer al Pub/Restaurante llamado Bracen Head este restaurante ha estado abierto por mas de mil años, la comida super deliciosa y lo tipicode la comida Irlandesa es Irish Stew que es como una sopa con carne de oveja y papa, zanahoria y mas vegetales. El pure de papa de alla es lo maximo. Asi pasaron un par de dias en Dublin, hasta que decidimos alquilar un carro y dirigirnos a las afueras de Irlanda. Manejar para mi en carro es un poco tenso, pero esta ves con todos estos paisajes donde el verde era algo que parecia pintado fue increible, pasamos por pueblos como; Waterford, Cohb, Cork and Galway. Estar en Cobh fue muy emocionante por que fue el ultimo puerto del Titanic antes de tomar rumbo para America ( New York). Algo que son hace muy famoso a los Irlandeses es su hospitalidad como lo habia mencionado antes y cuando estabamos manejando de Cobh hacia Cork una llanta se nos desinflo y lo primero que hicimos fue parar afuera de una casa y un hombre mayor salio y nos pregunto que si necesitabamos ayuda y claro mi telefono estaba sin bateria, estaba oscuro y muy frio el nos hizo pasar a su casa, nos ofrecio un cafe y nos dijo que su hijo era mecanico que lo iva a llamar para que viniera a ayudarnos y asi fue en 10 minutos el hijo llego nos remplazo la llanta y no nos quiso cobrar nada de dinero. Eso para nosotros fue como un milagro. Imaginate fue como algo irreal. Son cosas que les suceden a muchos viajeros, de verdad que esto si ha sido una gran anecdota, despues de un momento de estres de estar en otro pais, con una temperatura muy fria y oscuro y que te suceda esto y despues inmediatamente se arregle de esa manera, fue increible. De verdad que los Irlandeses son muy amigables y calidos.
La verdad Irelanda es como un cuento de hadas, sus castillos y sus paisajes son de pelicula. En camino a Galway se ven un paisajes de ovejas, paisajes muy verdes y hermosos castillos como Trim Castle, Blarney castle olvide mencionarlo un hermoso castillo en Cork. Y lo mas magnifico y que no pueden dejar de visitar es Cliffs of Moher fue una experiencia unica algo fuerte estaba haciendo un viento espantoso que pensamos ivamos a salir volando, su inmensidad era imaginable. Bueno amigos viajeros espero disfuten leer tanto como yo lo disfrute escribiendolo.
Hasta la proxima aventura.