It's been a while since I've done a blog update from my Ireland trip... 'tis the season to be caught up in the Christmas spirit! I've started a drawing challenge for the month of December called 'Drawcember' and I completely forgot about completing my blog - Time to finish! Read on to find out more about my Ireland trip, we've made it up to Friday, after this only blog post only 3 more until this website changes into something else... Thanks for reading!
Friday, October 26 - We got to sleep in! Yay! After two early mornings to go on our day bus tours, it was nice to have a slower morning. I had a wonderful rest in a soft warm comfortable bed. We took it easy, again bypassing the breakfast in the hotel. Instead opting to look for a café, and we stumbled across a really cute place called "Hansel & Gretel". The sweet scent of this bakery and cafe was just incredible. I opted to try a matcha latte and got the yummiest croissant ever.
At the hotel front desk, we purchased a day pass each for the 'Hop on, Hop off". This was a fun green double decker bus with entertaining, witty drivers which does a huge loop around the city with pick-up times every 10 to 15 minutes. One of the stops was the Kilmainham Jail. This was something Sarah really wanted to see, and the only way to go through it was by guided tour. Once we hopped off the 'hop on hop off' at the Kilmainham Jail, we got to skip the ticket line (as we had already purchased ours online) and had to wait in the courtroom for the tour to start.
The group size was about 25 people and it seemed to go by really fast. It was interesting to hear all the stories, political and personal of the prisoners who stayed here. It was an eye opener to the history of Ireland and a lot of the stories of family and lovers torn apart from being imprisoned here were very sad. The architecture was really interesting though, but I couldn't imagine being here when it was populated with prisoners. Many were imprisoned at a time for no real crime as per today's standards. Civilians were sent to jail for begging or asking for money. Some even purposely decided to get thrown into jail as here you were at least guaranteed meals and shelter during the days and night.
Walking through the hallways was quick & we more often than not were the last ones to get into the next room. I think we were starting to annoy our tour guide at times, but we couldn't help it. We wanted to explore the decrepit hallways and look into the cells, but this tour didn't really cater to that.
The saddest part of the tour was the walled outdoor courtyard where the only sentenced deaths were carried out. Here is where, if memory serves me correct, around 15 men were shot to death for their crimes. These were men fighting for Ireland's freedom to be their own country. One of the men had to be brought in by an ambulance as he had already suffered a wound in his legs which got infected and had spread. He was the only one shot at a different area in the court yard - right next to the door leaving the jail. Did I mention it was sad? The museum at the end of the tour housed the final letters from these men. Most of these letters where notes of apologies or love for friends and family. Heart breaking.
We got outside after the tour on this bright chilly day, and got to the bus stop... only to realize that Sarah had lost her day pass. Hoping the next bus guide would understand or be able to sell her a new pass we waited patiently and not 5 minutes later the green bus pulled up. We waited to be the last two to board....
We were greeted by the driver, who was as Irish as Irish could be, and he instantly became infatuated with my friend. She told him that she had lost her pass and he took her hand and told her not to worry. He professed that he would do anything for her, marry her even, and come back to Canada with her. It was cold out so when he took her hand she had said "You are warming my hands." to which he replied "... and you are warming my heart." I laughed. Needless to say, he let her on the bus without any issue, and also offered to drop us off at a spot that would be the shortest walking distance to the Guinness Storehouse.
He dropped us off here next to the river running through the city, and pointed us in the direction of which way to go. It was quite the walk, so we made sure to stop and do some sight seeing along the way. The architecture in Dublin is amazing. Stone everywhere! I was starting to get hungry and was starting to feel shaky. I was looking forward to getting a bite to eat at the Guinness storehouse and check my blood sugar levels after the long walk.
We got back to our hotel with lots of time to spare. I was excited and anxious. I was meeting people who I've been talking to and fundraising with for the past year. We went down to the restaurant earlier to grab some dinner, we were hella hungry. We got an appetizer, and didn't like it at all (first thing we ordered here and didn't like) I can't even remember what it's called... but it was thinly sliced raw meat... that's it... blegh. The main course was really good though! Gnocchi!
Meeting all the hikers was great. I got to meet Jennifer and Elaine who would be hiking with me on Sunday and after we were briefed on what to pack and what to expect with the trail, we took a walk with the girls (who just had arrived that day) throughout Dublin at night. We wanted to get to Temple Bar so we headed to Grafton Street first and just explored and chatted the whole way. Randomly we saw people in costume and momentarily forgot that it was the weekend leading up to Halloween. It was also a Bram Stoker festival throughout the city and they light up the buildings red as one of the ways to celebrate. It looked pretty spooky, but cool.
Temple Bar was cool. They had it dressed up to the tens in Christmas Decorations, and it was beautiful! They had baubles hanging from the ceiling and had dressed up a statue in a Santa outfit in the bar. It was really busy and packed, but we stayed to have a beverage and cheered to us finally getting to Ireland!
After our drinks, we headed back to the streets of Dublin, eventually finding our way back to the O'Callaghan Hotel. Tomorrow would our last free day leading up to the pre-hike/race dinner and our big hike day. This evening was a lot of fun. Lots of laughs and it was great meeting these ladies. They honestly helped make my hike as epic as it was and you couldn't have asked for any better Team Diabetes Members. We walked past a Cathedral walking back, and passed the Molly Malone Statue we have been walking to each morning to meet up for the bus tours, and then our hotel.
- I've lost count of how long it's been since I've had a cigarette!
- 2 days until my hike with Team Diabetes at Wicklow Mountain !!!!!!
- Dublin at night is beautiful!
Thanks for checking in!
I will be posting 3 more blog posts.
Colleen lives in Arnprior and is working to control her Type 2 Diabetes by training and Fundraising for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Wicklow Mountain Hike in Ireland with Team Diabetes.