The next morning, I awoke to carry out my plan for the day that I’d made four months earlier; reservations for dinner at FX Buckley Crow Street and Temple Bar at 7:00 pm. I don’t usually make a big deal out of my birthday, but I was GONNA have a nice steak. So I planned my day around that reservation.
I had purchased a three day Leap Visitor’s Card, so I caught a bus to the park. I highly recommend the visitor bus pass as it can be used for the Airlink, Dublin Bus, Luas, DART and Commuter Rail. There is also an app, which is a necessity, to find the correct bus or other mode of transportation for your destination.
I opted not to go to the Dublin Zoo and I ended up taking a woodland and hilly hike through acres (1752 acres) of beautiful landscapes.
One of my most favorite places to be in the world is the woods. So when I spotted this grove of trees, I left the main path and headed straight for it.
And there I spotted the famous Phoenix Park deer resting under the trees and even a couple sparring, filling the woods with the sound of clacking antlers.
I had no idea where I was going, but I just kept walking and pretty soon I was back on the path.
Going down the path, I saw the top of a building at the top of a pretty steep hill.
I wasn’t sure wether or not it was allowed to journey off the path and up the hill to explore. (Something you should know about me, I have a terrible fear of being someplace I’m not supposed to be and then being told to leave. Dunno why) But, I had already ventured from the path once to go through the woods, so what the heck, I’d do it again. So I began climbing the hill. Turns out, the view and what I found at the top was totally worth the climb.
Check out the snow on the hills!!!!
I had found, what I later read, was the old Magazine Fort. Built in 1735 by the British, it was eventually used by the Irish for ammunition storage until it went out of use in the 80’s.
From there, I got back on the path and continued on around the park until I could go get a closer view of the Wellington Monument which I had passed by earlier that morning.
I exited the park and headed back to the bus stop, which I found using my app. I rode to the Temple Bar area, or at least that’s what I had intended to do, but I got off too early and got to hike some more. I didn’t mind, the city is BEAUTIFUL!!!
I walked around for a couple hours, and peeped in the window of the Temple Bar Pub, which was a bit crowded for me. And I thought I’d see if I could arrive early for my steak. I followed my walking directions on my phone and whenever I looked down, it said I had passed my destination by a couple blocks. This went on for a good hour and a half (remember I said I get lost easily) with me circling a few blocks looking for street signs that I was either missing or just didn’t exist, LOL!.
Luckily, I decided to cut through what I had though was an alley. It was NOT an alley. It was my street!!! By this time, I was exhausted and it was three hours before my reservation. I was begging in my mind for them to have an open table or spot at the bar. I walked through the door of FX Buckley and up the stairs to the restaurant, and the man at the top of the stairs said, ” Are you Monte?” Shocked, I said, “Um, yes..?” He said, “That’s funny. I was just reading your reservation for this evening.”
He took me to a table, being early there were only a couple people there, where they promptly brought me some ice water. Followed by a Teelings Small Batch, neat. I ordered a ribeye, medium, with chips, and a Chardonnay.
It was a beautiful restaurant, the food top notch, and the service impeccable.
I left there refreshed, once I straightened my back, and headed out to do a little shopping.
I went into the Arnotts, where I found LeAnn a Royal Albert teacup and me some egg cups for our collection.
I also got LeAnn something from Ann Summers (not gonna link that; it’s NSFW). I was really impressed by the quality of the clothing. It makes Vitoria Secret’s pieces feel like something from Dollar Tree, LOL!
I also got LeAnn a scarf from Penneys, for her collection.
I found the AMAZING Moore Street area which had vendors set up in carts, like I’d only ever seen in the movies, where I had some Italian Gelato.
Check out the flower carts!!!!
Just before reaching The Castle Hotel, I passed through a huge Repeal The Eighth march. Again, something I’d only ever seen on TV. Too many people for me, so I skirted around, and headed to my room where I found all this!!!
Turns out, LeAnn had messaged the hotel and asked them if they could have flowers, a card, and some Guinness sent to my room. They went WAY beyond that!!! It was really SUPER sweet of LeAnn and the hotel to do all that for me.
I rested for a while until it was time for the live music and went downstairs for the evening show. It was awesome, then afterwards, I crashed again.
One of my favorite things to do, if not the most important, on vacation is FOOD. If you asked me to name a few of the best things I ate in Ireland, one of the first would be donuts. I had seen these donuts in store windows, so needless to say, they were on my to eat list. So I took a little stroll in my neighborhood and found a Mr Donut.
With some difficulty and help from the dear girl behind the counter, I chose, Toffee, Raspberry, Coco Rafaello. I kid you not, when I say that these donuts lasted me three days and they were absolutely DELICIOUS. I’m still havin’ withdrawals from them.
I met the coach for the Mary Gibbons Tours at a bank very near my hotel. From there we rode to The Hill of Tara where you can see 23 of Ireland’s 32 counties and 142 Kings were crowned. On the way, Mary, in typical Irish charm, gave us a detailed account of the history of the sites we would encounter that day.
When you go, I would advise wearing outdoor shoes with grips on the soles as there is a steep embankment to climb up to the monuments.
Also there is St. Patrick’s Church and cemetery. Looking out at the countryside from the 360 degree viewpoint, I could definitely feel the historical energy of the site.
We continued on to Newgrange, which is in a historical area called Brú na Bóinne. Remember in Part 1 when I found it remarkable that St Patrick’s Cathedral was by far the oldest building I’d ever been in? To put it in perspective, St Patrick’s Cathedral is around 800 years old. Now, I was about to enter Newgrange, which is 5,000 years old; that’s older than the Great Pyramids. Mind blown…
We arrived just in time for lunch in the amazing Brambles Cafe.
To see the Newgrange site, you have to go to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor’s Center and receive a visit time.
The visitors’ center is a great place to catch a first view of the ancient passage tomb.
About 10 minutes before your visit time, take the scenic walk over to the trolleys which will take you on to the site.
Photography is not allowed inside the passage tomb. But I can tell you that it is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. Each year on the Winter Soltice, sunlight shines down the 60 foot corridor through an opening above the entrance to illuminate the center of the tomb. Using a light, our tour guide will recreated the event for us.
See a short video of Newgrange here.
After Newgrange, I rode the coach back to Dublin and walked back to the hotel. I rested for a little bit then went downstairs to the pub where I had gravy chips and then a brownie with ice cream. It was SO good!!
I waited around until the music started. The show was awesome and there was even an Irish dancer. She performs there on Friday and Saturday nights. She was crazy good!!
After the show, I went back to the room and crashed.
The next morning, I had planned on seeing some more of Dublin, but this time I wanted to get out of the touristy areas and see where the locals go. I also really wanted to go to their HomeSense store because my favorite store at home is HomeGoods. Being the same store just under different names, I was quite curious to see how the two were similar or different.
HomeSense is in an suburb of Dublin called Blanchardstown, so I made the bus ride over to the Blanchardstown Centre which is the largest shopping area in Ireland. I had a pretty good walk from the bus stop to the shopping centre where I passed by the eBay and Liberty Insurance headquarters buildings.
HomeSense was located outside of the big mall in Westend Retail Park, which is what I’d what I’d refer to as a shopping center, a row of connected storefronts. There I visited several stores, including Dealz, HomeSense, and Laura Ashley. HomeSense was SO similar to HomeGoods, and much of the merchandise was the same, which I found fascinating.
Of course I took notice of some really cute kid’s furniture.
I bought a teacup at HomeSense and then went into Laura Ashley where, determined to buy something, I found some cute fabric.
That loveseat!!! (Louisiana was not in the free delivery area.)
Above: My fabric and teacup.
The mall was huge and packed with awesome stores. I visited half the stores and I picked LeAnn up a scarf from Penneys. I left the mall and headed over to Captain Americas Cookhouse and Bar, where I had a super delicious burger, The Hellfire, and yeah, it was hot, even for this Louisiana boy, LOL!
I then found, after getting lost…again, the bus stop and headed over to the National Museum of Ireland – Archeology. This is a MUST see in Dublin. I’ve never been to any museum like this. The architecture was so stunning and the relics were unlike anything I’d ever seen, among them were the famous bog people, naturally mummified bodies removed from the peat bogs. I know one is supposed to be 4,000 years old. I won’t post any of my photos in case you’re squeamish, but if you are interested just google Bog People Dublin images. But here are some of my most interesting finds.
Part of a hoard of gold objects.
Wooden Block Wheel
Hoard of Silver Ingots
Oak Tool Chest and Tools
I left the museum and headed back to the hotel, where I had fish and chips. It wasn’t on the bar menu, but they were more than happy to bring it to me.
And again that night, I hung around for the awesome live music and dancing. Afterwards, I crashed in my room again.
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in my experience!!! I only have one more installment coming, but it’s a doozie.
What’s your favorite spot in Ireland? Or which spot do you dream of visiting?