On June 11th, 2010, I left Leeds, England for a bit to travel to the London area to spend time in Watford and also to meet my family in London. My family flew in on June 16th. From the 11th to 16th, I hiked around countryside of the northern-London area and checked out the city a bit. Sophie and I also went to Thorpe Park, which is a huge theme park north of London – fun stuff. On June 16th, I met my family at the London airport and we began to explore London. Since Sophie lives near London, she acted as a nice tour guide around the city to give us a somewhat unique look at the city. On the 16th, we basically just walked the city near our hostel (by London Tower Bridge). The next day we checked out more of the city, mainly by walking. Some of the main attractions we saw while we were in London were: Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abby, London Tower and Tower Bridge, Hyde Park and Green Park.
Each day we purchased a day pass to the Tube (the London Underground) which covered zones 1-6 and cost £7 each day. We walked a large portion of the town, and also took a walking tour around the city to learn more about the history of London. To see images of London, check out Part 1 of
my 3 part album on this trip.
After spending 4 days in London, on June 20th we flew from London to Dublin, Ireland to begin our 6 day trip to Ireland. The first 2 nights we spent in Dublin, followed by 3 nights in Cork, Ireland, and ended up one more night in Dublin at the end.
When we first got to Dublin, we took a shuttle bus from the airport to the city center, where we then walked to our hostel. We stayed in the Four Courts Hostel, which was quite close to the city center, was very cheap and clean, and was overall a great hostel. The rest of the night we walked the area around Dublin (which was downtown Dublin). The following day we took a 25EUR tour that took us to Glendalough and the Wicklow area. This gave us nice views of the eastern coast as well as amazing views of the mountains in Wicklow. We drove past the richiest Irish womans’ house, Bono’s (U2) house, and Van Morrison’s to name a few. We also saw many of the Guinness family’s houses, in additional to the field/forest where Braveheart was filmed. It was totally work the 25EUR – we got amazing views, a great tour guide, and a relaxing day. The following day we spent walking the city and checking out landmarks on the map we had, such as the Old Jamison Distillery.
On June 23rd, we took a train from Dublin Hueston Station to Cork Station. Cork is in southern Ireland, and is the second largest city in Ireland. It has the Apple European headquarters and many other major technological businesses there, and also has an Irish stout called Murphy’s brewed there. We stayed at the Bru Bar and Hostel, which is a 10 minute walk from the Cork Train Station. Once arriving in Cork, we walked a small portion of the city before calling it a night. The next day we took a 25EUR bus tour which drove us all over southern Ireland, including the western coast which lines the Atlantic Ocean. Ireland also has the most western point of Europe, which we were able to see. The tour was practically empty, so my family and I had pretty much the entire bus to ourselves. The tour guide did an amazing job describing the area and explaining the history of Ireland. The following day we walked most of Cork and the area around the hostel. Cork has Ireland’s tallest building, which is practically vacant because it wasn’t completely finished when the recession hit and demolished the construction industry in Ireland.
Our last day in Cork was spent traveling to the nearby city of Blarney, which has the infamous Blarney Stone. We climbed the castle and kissed the stone, and this walked the park for a few hours. The rest of the park hardly gets walked, so my family and I were practically by ourselves the entire time, which was quite nice.
The following day we took a train from Cork to Limerick, where we switched to a different train that took us to Waterford, Ireland – home of the Waterford Crystal company. We went to the newly created Waterford Crystal building/factory and walked around to check out a lot of the glass on display. After spending a few hours in Waterford, we took a train back to Dublin. When we arrived in Dublin, it was around 5pm, and we were pretty tired so we relaxed mostly (we did walk around the area around the hostel, which was practically the center of Dublin). The hostel we stayed at was different than the one we stayed at before. This one was called the Kenlay House – Dublin. It was like 10EUR/person each night. The hostel was clean, has tons of computers/TV’s for use (for free), and had free breakfast which was pretty good quality. Totally worth the price and was just as good if not better than the hostel before. I’d highly recommend this hostel if you go to Dublin.
The following day we had to fly back to London. However, the flight was at 8pm, so we had most of the day to tour more of Dublin. We did a walking tour in the morning. After that, we wanted to go the Natural History Museum of Dublin, but it ended up being closed during the time we were there (it was undergoing some renovations). After that, we went to the Guinness Brewery and did the tour. It was like 11EUR per person, and consisted of a free pint and 7 floors of the brewery process/history of Guinness. The top floor was mostly glass and has great views of the city of Dublin. After the tour, we went to catch a shuttle that took us to the airport. The plane was delayed 25 minutes or so, but once we boarded, it went smooth. We landed in London that night, and then took a shuttle to a nearby hotel. We ordered some room service for dinner that night, and then went to bed. The next morning to went to the
airport (Heathrow) with my family. They had to catch a 1pm flight back to Denver, and I had to meet Sophie at 11am to head back to Leeds (I needed to move out of Leeds, and my flight back to the US wasn’t until July 6th). So I waited in checkin with them until 11, and then went to meet Sophie.
And that pretty much summed up the trip. It was an amazing time – something that I will never forget. If you’re interested in seeing more of it, check out all 483 photos from my London/Ireland trip: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.