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Ireland – Ahh the luck of the Irish

Before the weather started turning bitterly cold, we decided to take a trip to Ireland. Our friend Marty Xureb has been living there for a number of years after meeting his gorgeous girlfriend Aiofe (and we think he has a definite hint of the Lepricorn accent – Ai Marty?)

Our lovely hosts - Marty and Aiofe

Our lovely hosts - Marty and Aiofe

So after a rather stressful early morning flight (picture two crazy people charging through Stanstead Airport only to make the flight by a minute), we arrived in Dublin.

Marty and Aiofe live in a very cute town called Maynooth (pronounced May-noof) about 40 minutes drive from Dublin Airport. This town is home to the National University of Ireland so there is a large student population residing there and the nightlife is pretty big particularly since they opened Mantra Bar (www.mantrabar.ie) in 2009.

Lis in the main street of Maynooth

Lis in the main street of Maynooth

St Patricks College is also a large Seminary on the edge of Maynooth and next door to Maynooth Castle. Both are definitely worth wandering through. One priest in training was kind enough to give us our own personal tour of the Seminary.

Inside St Patrick's Seminary - looking out (feeling a little artistic)

Inside St Patrick's Seminary - looking out (feeling a little artistic)

From Maynooth to Dublin takes about half an hour by train and there is plenty to do and see in Dublin:

Kilmanhaim Gaol – the tour is extremely interesting with information about some of the famous prisoners but this gaol is also well known for appearing in the Movie ‘In the Name of the Father’

Familar? Inside Kilmanhaim Gaol - this is where the riot was filmed in 'In the Name of the Father'

Familiar? Inside Kilmanhaim Gaol - this is where the riot was filmed in 'In the Name of the Father'

The Guiness Brewery – even if you don’t like Guiness, its a place to see

Dublin Castle – wander through this beautiful building in the centre of Dublin. You can visit the Chapel and also take a guided walking tour

St. Audoen’s Church – a medieval church where the staff are only too happy to take you on a guided tour and show you some of incredibly old monuments and talk through the history of the chapel and archeological artifacts.

St Patrick’s Cathedral – the most famous cathedral in Dublin, built in honour of St Patrick

The City itself is fairly small so its easy to walk from place to place and along the way see a variety of shops and PLENTY of Irish Pubs.

For a great night out head to Temple Bar. Its a really funky area that is essentially a laneway lined with great pubs, clubs and restaurants. Our first night out with Marty and Aiofe was a great night out in Ireland.

Temple Bar - great night life

Temple Bar - great night life

Thank you also to Aiofe for inviting us to celebrate her Mum Anne’s birthday with the family. We were definitely spoilt with a delicious dinner and samples of Guiness, Liqueurs and our first Irish Coffee – Yum!

Pete's first Irish Coffee - creamy, delicious and STRONG!

Pete's first Irish Coffee - creamy, delicious and STRONG!

We also hope Fiona and Sergio’s wedding (we’ll never forget the 12/11/10) was an amazing celebration.

Following our time in Maynooth, we hired a car and took a road trip around the south of Ireland, taking ourselves from the East Coast to the West Coast. Roads in Ireland seemed to be extremely narrow in places and people drive SO quickly but we got used to it and thanks to Marty’s GPS we navigated our way around with ease.

Our first night on the road was spent in a very small town called Quin Village in the County, Clare, where we attended a Medieval Banquet at Knappogue Castle. The Banquet night is so much fun. All the staff are dressed in traditional Medieval clothing.

The driveway leading to Knappogue Castle

The driveway leading to Knappogue Castle

On arrival everyone is served a goblet of ‘Mead – a honey wine’

A welcome toast by one of our Medieval Kings

A welcome toast by one of our Medieval Kings

After being told the ‘Rules of Chivalry’ expected in the Castle (a great lesson for Pete), we were shown into the dining hall where a 5 course meal was served and we were entertained by music, singing and dance. The evening is presided over by 4 Kings (who are selected out of the group of guests) – sadly we weren’t King and Queen material. Oh well, still a great night out. (www.shannonheritage.com/Entertainment/KnappogueCastleBanquet) The cost of the banquet is 45 Euro per person.

"My Lord and My Lady" enjoying soup the Medieval Way

"My Lord and My Lady" enjoying soup the Medieval Way

N.B. Another very popular location for the Medieval Banquet is Bunratty Castle.

The following morning we were back in the car and making our way to the Cliffs of Moher where you see stunning views of the West Coast of Ireland and can take some walks to get the best viewpoint.

Just one of the beautiful viewpoints from the Cliffs of Mohe

Just one of the beautiful viewpoints from the Cliffs of Moher

After a morning of walking, we highly recommend a quick stop at StoneCutters Kitchen for a light lunch (delicious home made soups), good coffee or a devonshire tea.

As this was a quick road trip, we were back in the car in the afternoon and making our way to Kinsale ( a recommendation of Marty’ and Aiofe’s). We decided to take the scenic route which was very scenic. The houses on our way particularly in the beach towns are beautifully maintained and all sorts of colours.

One the waters edge of Kinsale

One the waters edge of Kinsale

The town of Kinsale is absolutely beautiful. A small port filled with beautiful yachts and a quaint town that if we’d had longer we would have spent a night or two there. Instead we sat by the water and enjoyed the famous Kinsale Fish and Chips and then made a late night dash back to Maynooth – a very early flight back to London that we wanted to get without the stress felt on our arrival.

Thanks Marty and Aiofe for having us to stay. We loved seeing you both and spending time with you in beautiful Ireland.

See more photos of Ireland in our Gallery:


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