Ireland

At the end of January, I finally managed to reunite with Sophie on her home turf in Dublin, Ireland. We managed to pack an absolute ton into four and a half days of travel, breaking here and there for a Guinness. The first day we traveled into the Wicklow Mountains, a short drive away from Dublin. I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly the urban area transformed into country lanes and open pastures after only driving 15 or 20 minutes. Here is a photo of the sun setting over the Wicklow Mountains:

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And again, a bit closer:

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We walked to the mountain’s edge in order to get a better view of Guinness Lake, so named because of it’s resemblance to a pint of the good stuff (notice the black aqueous body and the white, creamy head comprised of strip of beach to the right-hand side), and the fact that it is situated on the edge of an estate owned by the Guinness family:

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A panoramic view of the lake and surrounding mountains:

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Nearly the same view, a little later in the evening:

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We even managed to get one selfie with the lake in the background:

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The next day we strolled around Dublin’s downtown, stopping at Trinity College Dublin’s famed library.Thanks to the generosity of Sophie’s friend and student of TCD we were able to gain free access to the library, including it’s main attraction – The Book of Kells. Here’s a photo of Soph looking studious as ever:

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Both of us pretending to be excited about being in a place of learning:

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Outside in Library Square lies the Campanile, pictured here.:

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Legend has it that if a student passes underneath this bell tower and the bell starts to ring, they will fail their exams – thus some students choose never to pass underneath the tower until they have graduated from the college.

Later in the afternoon we made it over to another of Dublin’s oft-visited attractions: the Guinness Storehouse. After a 90-minute self-guided tour through pure propaganda and interesting insights into the brewing process and Guinness’ excellent success in advertising, the tour ends with a free pint at the 360° bar located on the 7th floor. The bar offers incredible view of the city, a relatively low city flanked by the Wicklow Mountains to one side and the sea to the other. This was easily one of the more peaceful moments of the trip, and a great place from which to watch the sunset. Here is Dublin from bar window, with the Wicklow Mountains in the background:

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Photos did not do the sunset justice:

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The second-last day of the trip we made the drive West to the Cliffs of Moher. After having arrived in Galway the night before, we drove a bit further South-West into County Clare. On the way we drove up possibly Corkscrew Hill:

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Finally we reached the famed Cliffs of Moher, as seen in films like The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (when Dumbledore takes Harry to the horcrux cave). Here is a photo of the Cliffs, looking South:

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A view of the Beach:

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A closer up (for scale – those white specks are seabirds):

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Looking out to the sea, with the Branaunmore sea stack partly visible in the background:

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The view from the trail, looking North:

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The beautiful thing about Ireland is that, although Soph had much planned for us to do, there is still so much to see. The country is naturally stunning, lush, and rugged, especially along the coast. I would highly recommend taking the Wild Atlantic Way when driving along the Western coast. I could not have asked for a better host – I’m already looking forward to when we can continue exploring this beautiful country!

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