Sunday, August 24, 2014


This was the view from my hotel room at the Shelbourne, a historical hotel that dates back to 1928, located in the center of Dublin.
 I ended up not spending as much time in Dublin as I expected too, this was a result of traveling outside of Dublin in Galway and the areas south of Dublin like Greystones.
 This is the exit of Dublin from Heuston Station the morning I traveled to Galway.  The next morning I returned to the same spot, checked my luggage into locker and went to the Guinness storehouse and museum which is almost across the street from Heuston Station.
 The tour offered by Guinness is rather amazing, it's a really thorough account of the history of Guinness and the process to make Guinness. The tour also includes the 9000 year long lease signed by Mr. Guinness for the land the factory sits on.
 A few fermentation tanks.
 The museum part of the tour had really cool model boats, used at one time to export Guinness.
 The end of the tour includes a pint.  As she poured these beers she made the point that these were the freshest two Guinness' in the world.
 The bar is the top floor of the factory, the view looking over Dublin is very nice.  Very relaxing.
 You can see rain off in the distance, almost in every direction.
 Good-bye Guinness factory, thanks for the tour!
 Outside of the factory is Dublin.  This is the Spire of Dublin.  It's a 121.2 meter tall spire in the city center.  A previous monument called Nelson's Pillar was here until it was destroyed by the IRA in 1962.
 You can also see the spire from the O'Connell St. Bridge.  This bridge is notable because it is called the only bridge in Europe that is wider than it is long.
 Daily protest, Dublin says No to almost everything.
 Trinity College campus.
 This is a good place to find shelter when strong rains hits without warring.
 I also made an effort to visit St. Patrick's church.
 The interior is amazing, dates back to 1191.
 Nice stain glass too.
 A statue of St. Patrick.
 A view of the outside of my hotel, the Shelbourne.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dún Laoghaire and Greystones, Ireland

South of Dublin is the towns of Dún Laoghaire and Greystones, it's easy to reach these areas along the coast using the DART train from central Dublin.  Never considered this, but hey, might be fun career change.  But I don't think Irish language uses the word 'fancy' very often, that sounds more like British.
 Dún Laoghaire must be Irelands first line defense against England.  Cannons ready.
 There is a long pier that runs out from the mainland at Dún Laoghaire.
 You can walk to the end of the pier and visit the base of a lighthouse.  It takes about 20 minutes or so to walk out to the end of the pier, along the route you can get some ice cream and other snacks.
 This is the tunnel to the lighthouse.  It started to rain as I approached the lighthouse so I took shelter under here with a couple of other people who did not have an umbrella.
 Good place to park a boat.
 This is kind of the understatement of the year.
 A nice quote from Samuel Beckett, I assume he was writing about this area.
 South of Dún Laoghaire is the town of Greystones.
 A DART train departing from Greystones station.  You really need to watch the schedule, only one or  two trains per hour leave from here.
 Greystones is a small beach community too.  There is also a town along the back side of the beach with restaurants and shops.
 You can see the danger in the painting of surfers below, look at that strong sun, those kids better be Sunning Smart.
 Sun Smart!  I think this is a really important sign for local people.
 Another thing I learned during this trip, the body of water between Ireland and the United Kingdom is called the Irish Sea.  I guess it's not that I did not know what the name of this body of water was I just never thought about it before.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Galway, Ireland

Ireland was kind of a difficult place to reach from Southern Italy until earlier this year when Ryanair started to offer twice a week direct flight from Bari airport.  I was able to take a long weekend and visit Dublin but before spending to much time in Dublin I went direct to Galway.  First things first, you need to get to Galway, I decided to take Ireland rail from Dublin.   Trip was around 4 hours but it's nice, train cuts a straight line through the center of Ireland and offers free Wifi.  During the trip you can see the country side and sheep everywhere.
 One of the reasons I wanted to visit Galway was this was a city John F Kennedy visited and made a very popular speech.  This monument makes note of this event and marks the spot in Eyre Square (park) where he spoke.
 This steel structure is also in the park, I like stuff like this.  We need to paint this thing orange like the one in Detroit and Chicago.
 Galway was surprisingly crowded.  The city center is filled with restaurants and shops, everyone seem to be out and enjoying the shops.
 Water safety is very important in Galway.  A Stolen Ringbuoy - A Stolen Life... Can't really argue with that.
 Houses along the waters edge are beautiful.
 This is the Spanish arch, a very popular tourist spot in Galway.  I actually walked though the Spanish arch while looking for the Spanish arch before realizing there it was.
 There are also open air markets all over the city.  Markets sell things like souvenirs, vegetables...
 ... and of course the best fresh fish in the world.
 Boat on the left, for sale.  This boat was made in 1943 by the famous master boat builder named Jack Tyrell.   Last 50 footer strong boat in made by this guy in Galway.  Not sure how much but for a second I thought to myself, hey that might be a fun restoration project.
 If I'm ever lost at sea, which I barley ever go on a boat so I should not be.  But if I am lost, I want to be lost on an Irish flagged boat, all over Galway and I assume all over Ireland are moments to people lost at sea.  
 Ireland is also very green.  It rains often here, daily, so rugby pitches always look perfect.
 So look at this sign.  It's at the entrance of the Mutton Island Causeway and I thought to myself "cool, a causeway and the gate is open."
 Walked to the end of the causeway to find the gate to the island closed.
 You can see how far the walk was by looking back to the mainland of Ireland... It's off in the distance.
 View looking west from the causeway towards Salthill.
 This is a park between Galway and Salthill and on this monument was one of the saddest stories I have ever seen carved in stone.  If you want, you should be able to click on the image and read it, but be ready, it's sad.
 On the rocky water front of Salthill.
 A perfect pint in a small bar at Salthill.
 Galway is very serious about Salmon farms.  This sign encouraged me to go do some research about farmed Salmon.
 I only stayed one night in Galway and had to wake up early the morning of the second day to rush to the train station.  The city was empty and quiet, these alleys were numerous between my hotel and the train station.  
 The Kings Head, a popular bar in Galway.  As I passed this bar at 6:45am on my way to the train station, three people rang the bell and entered.  Not sure what was going on.
 One last stop at the JFK memorial.
 Two ways to spell Galway.  I arrived at the station about 30 minutes before the train left for Dublin, not much to do at 7am.