Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2013 Ireland - Day One - Old Jameson Distillery

One trip that I took while abroad that I never really published at all (the photos stayed in my Lightroom until this weekend, actually) was to Ireland.  The idea of Ireland was originally brought up by my friend Alex a year before we even went abroad.  She was sharing that she would love to spend St. Patrick's Day in Dublin.  Unfortunately, in addition to St. Patrick's Day in Dublin being ridiculously expensive and almost completely booked up, it didn't really work with our school schedule.

We booked our round trip flight (required for our student visas) to Genoa before we knew the official dates for our program (so that we would be able to apply for our visas in time... see a problem here?).  Well the date that we were scheduled to move out of the villa was a few days before the date that we had booked our plane home.  So, it was decided that Dublin would be our last hoorah before heading back to the United States.  We booked a round trip flight from Genoa to Dublin through Air France (I knew at the time that I would not be traveling back with the other girls, but with my family, but the round trip flight was a better deal).

After much debating, it was decided that instead of flying back to Genoa with the girls that I would take a flight to Barcelona where I'd board the Norwegian Epic for a four-night cruise.  So, I had to bring ALL of my luggage with me (two large rolling bags and a rolling carry-on).  Well, our flight was a connecting flight (in Paris), so of course, my bags were lost.  Luckily, it only took a few hours before they were delivered to our hostel in Dublin.

I will admit that the entire time we were in Europe, we were somewhat spoiled when it came to accommodations.  We lived in a giant villa on the hillside.  When we traveled as a class, we stayed in hotels and bed and breakfasts that were almost always at least a 3-star property.  And then when we traveled independently, we either stayed in a hotel or booked a private room in a nice hostel.  We weren't your typical students backpacking around Europe - we never had to worry about sleeping with strangers or large, common bathrooms.  So when in Dublin, we stayed in a four-person room with a private bathroom at Jacobs Inn which has an 85% rating on HostelWorld (one of the highest for Dublin).  What I enjoyed about hostels is that the desks were almost always staffed by young, friendly, outgoing people who really wanted to make sure that you had a good time in their city.  Jacobs Inn was no exception (it was also a relief... and completely strange at the time... to hear people speaking English).

The first thing we wanted to do when we arrived in Dublin was eat.  So we set out to find food... any food.  So we wandered into a bar and just happened to spot a familiar face - one of the girls from the Clemson group in Paris that we had visited with earlier that semester.  She was staying at the brother hostel to Jacobs Inn called Isaacs Hostel.  We exchanged contact info with her so that we could meet up later.

04.28.13



04.28.13

Dublin looked to have some pretty great shopping, and I was really sad that there wasn't enough room in my suitcase to hit up the stores.

04.28.13

04.28.13

We wanted to do something our first day so decided to tour the Old Jameson Distillery.  The price was 11 Euros for students and it included a whiskey drink.  Also, if your name is Jameson, you can enter for free.  We had to wait about half an hour before our tour, and there is a bar with mixed whiskey drinks (quite good, actually) conveniently located for your time-killing purposes.

04.28.13

04.28.13

The tour was interesting.  It took us through the Old Distillery and went through the process of making whiskey.

04.28.13

04.28.13

04.28.13

04.28.13

04.28.13

04.28.13

Of course, everyone's favorite part was at the end when you actually got to taste the whiskey.  At the beginning of the tour, they asked for official whiskey tasters, and they were all men.  I should have volunteered because I think I had a good chance of being chosen just because I was female.  So if you're a female taking this tour, don't be shy - raise your hand!  In the end, everyone gets to taste whiskey, but the official tasters get a souvenir.

04.28.13

04.28.13

04.28.13

04.28.13

04.28.13

We had booked a day tour to the Cliffs of Moher for the next day, so we went to bed pretty early.  We actually picked up some food from a grocery store for dinner and then called it a night.