I have the greatest boyfriend in the world. This last week was my spring break, and Gavin flew to Dublin to spend six days with me. Spending seven weeks without him has been hard, so seeing him was incredible. Now, I am back in France and I won't see him until the end of May. We explored tons of things around Ireland, but I will try to keep it somewhat short for this post, otherwise you'll be reading for hours!
The first two days were spent getting over jet lag and exploring the touristy stuff around Dublin city. On the night of our arrival, I had packed a meal of all regional French food for us. Many of the things we ate he had never tried before! We visited Trinity College where we saw the beautiful library and the famous Book of Kells: an exquisitely decorated manuscript of the Gospels from the 9th century. Dublin Castle, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the National Gallery of Ireland were also on our list of things to see. Gavin was sweet enough to take me to Nando's, a chicken restaurant I'm obsessed with because of One Direction (some of you know the importance of this pilgrimage 😜). We also drank Baileys coffee and ate Beef and Guinness stew at The Brazen Head: the oldest pub in Ireland dating back to 1198AD. We also went to Dublinia, an interactive Viking museum all about Dublin. It was our favorite tourist thing in the city. We discovered that unlike the French, the Irish eat dinner at 6:30pm and the pubs stop serving dinner at 8pm, so we went to the only pub in the area that still had food, which was The Porterhouse. We got a tasting tray of ribs, wings, onion rings, sausages, and fries as well as a tasting tray of Irish beer. There was a live band called "The Dingleberries," who were the most talented live musicians I've ever seen. They had all of us dancing soon enough, and we even joined a conga line around the whole pub. One night we went to The Temple Bar and tried Guinness for the first time. To our surprise, we liked it a lot! There, we also met a lovely British couple who bought us pints because they noticed we were Americans. We had a ton of fun with them; it was interesting learning their perspective on Brexit as well.
On Tuesday, we took a day trip across the country to the west coast to see the stunning Cliffs of Moher. The weather was better than expected, but it was still a little bit rainy and the wind was outrageous! The cliffs were unreal and we had a ton of fun trying not to get knocked over by the wind. Later we visited the tiny village of Doolin, the ruins of an old cathedral, and the "mini Cliffs of Moher," which are beautiful limestone rocks over the sea. The next day, we took another day trip to the fishing village of Howth, about 20 minutes from the city center of Dublin. This was my favorite part about the whole trip. When we arrived, the weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was out and it was warm. We walked around the port for a little while before heading to Baily Lighthouse on the opposite end of the island. I have an obsession imbedded deep within my heart for lighthouses, and this was the most amazing one I've ever seen. I'm so grateful Gavin and I could be together to take in the beautiful scenery (and, of course, some photos). We shared a magical moment just laying in the tall grasses overlooking the Irish Sea.
Leaving the busyness of the city, Gavin and I took a relaxing day off walking through Phoenix Park, the largest urban park in Europe. I didn't realize how massive it actually is until we tried walking to the other end, which we quickly gave up doing. It is twice as big as Central Park! There are monuments, gardens, a zoo, the President's mansion, wild deer, and the US Ambassador's home. We enjoyed taking a leisurely stroll through the park and the beautiful sunshine. We visited Farmleigh, which is a huge mansion where the Guinness family used to live. It was one of the most beautiful estates I've been to. We also had a lovely time sitting in the gardens, feeding the ducks, and watching the horses.
To end our amazing trip in Ireland together, we spent the last day on a tour of Wicklow and Glendalough. Our first stop was by the water; Gavin got to skip some rocks and I collected big chunks of sea glass. Then, we stopped at a cute restaurant, where Gavin and I ate massive eclairs. We also passed Bono's house! Next, we drove through the peat fields in County Wicklow and stopped at Loch Bré to take some pictures (it's basically my name, therefore it's my lake). The view from the top of a ridge looking down at the lake was incredible. Then, we ventured to the "valley of the two lakes," aka Glendalough. This area is as scenic as a Lord of the Rings movie, and apparently it has been a place subjected to a ton of attacks and raids over the centuries. There's some amazing history here! On another note, Braveheart was filmed at this lake. We also got to visit the bridge from one of the scenes in P.S. I Love You, which is one of my favorite movies. Our bus driver was crazy-- he was belting Irish songs over the microphone speakers in the bus the entire drive. Sadly, the week had to end there, but all in all, it was the best week of my life <3
A few interesting parts about the trip:
Everyone assumed we're Irish until we started speaking with our American accents. We've always stuck out with our blonde hair and light skin; it's kind of nice to finally fit in haha!
The stereotype of drunk Irishmen skipping down the street arm in arm is real.
Prayer requests: To learn more, to give up control, and to be pursuing Christ
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