Irish Castle

Ireland – Off-the-beaten-path Dublin Activities

So week two in Ireland was just as fun, if not quite as filled with touristy things. Now that the three-day weekend was over, it was back to work – 4 hours in the morning, a 3-hour break, and 4+ more hours in the afternoon.

Tuesday, based on a suggestion by Miss Model and Tall One, BFF and I went on one of those splash boat tours. The tour in Dublin is Vikings themed – complete with Viking helmets. The bus goes around the Viking area of Dublin, then into the river, but I didn’t think the information particularly focused that much on the history of Vikings in the city. Or perhaps that’s just because we already went to a museum that has a whole floor dedicated to Vikings so I was underwhelmed. We did, however, get to growl and scream at people as our bus went down the road. Our group managed to startle one person; most just looked at us with amusement. It rained on Tuesday for about two hours. Can you guess when? That’s right while we were on the bus! We were in the first row without a roof. Kind of miserable. Definitely plan for rain and sit where the roof will cover you. We treated ourselves to hot chocolate from Butlers afterward. Yummy! BFF and I tried different kinds, and we both recommend the marshmallow one.

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Wednesday was a girls’ day. BFF and I went out for some fish and chips (not actually worth writing about) and found a super cute gelato place, Isabella’s Gelateria and Cafe. It was decorated like and old school ice cream parlor. My recommendation?Get mint with cookies and cream (not cookie crisps to chew, just creamy goodness). We went with Miss Model to get our nails done – I did a bright color to celebrate (?) my new singledom. While we were there Miss Model got an invite to some fabulous event – premiere of Wonder Woman to be exact – so while she whisked away to the life of the famous, we went to a weird, but tasty Mexican restaurant, 777. Truthfully, I almost felt like it was too trendy for me, but the food was wonderful. You should definitely order the tacos. You basically make your own!

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Thursday (our last full day), BFF indulged me and went on a bit of a culinary adventure with me. Whenever I travel, I like to find at least one place that is barely known even the locals, but has good reviews. I knew we both wanted to go to botanical gardens, which are a bit out of the way from normal touristy locations, so I thought this was the perfect chance. I did some research and discovered at place called the The Washerwoman. The restaurant is located on Glasnevin Hill, which is locally called Washerwoman’s Hill after the many women who came to wash their clothes in the Tolka river. The owners converted a stone cottage from the 1700s into a quirky restaurant. With that history, how could we not try it?

It was DELICIOUS! I think a contender for the top three meals we had the whole trip. We indulged and got drinks, an appetizer, main courses, and a dessert. And everything was perfect. Plus the décor was adorable. If you make it to Dublin, you need to plan a meal here.

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Passion Fruit Fritz

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Irish Mezze Plate – Delicious Hummus

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Boar Nachos

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White Chocolate Raspberry Brownie with Peanut Butter Ice Cream

As you can see the dessert was so tempting we both ate some before I could even take a picture! We walked off the calories in the botanical garden. It was a bit misty, which just lent to the mystical feel of Irish gardens. Make sure to make it to the creek before you leave the gardens.

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Friday morning – we’re off to the airport after a last walk in the park with Tall One and Miss Model’s puppy and a quick coffee shop breakfast.

Little did we know, we probably should have skipped our morning activities and headed to the airport even earlier (we got there 2 hours early). I don’t say this very often, but do not fly Air Canada. Every bit of the experience was poor – their online check-in didn’t work so the line to drop of bags was so long they tried to tell us we were late, they claimed there wouldn’t be enough overhead space so they offered free 2nd checked bags, but only to some people, they made us run to security, but then the flight was delayed, they didn’t announce the flight was delayed so we couldn’t get food or drinks, their plane was so old it didn’t even have air vents let alone TVs or power cords. There were other things too, but man was it an unpleasant experience.

You know what’s also not fun? Having a 6 hour layover in Canada because you purposefully planned the 2nd leg of your trip so your now ex could finish work and come pick you up? Then after that long layover landed at 9 p.m. and not having a ride so you have to take SuperShuttle for an hour or so ride into the city. And then that shuttle plays your couple song. But oh well, because I’m back in one of my favorite cities with my best friend and we have an awesome conference to go to! Right? Right.

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Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Ireland Weekend: In the Face of Sadness We Explore

Memorial Weekend, Tall One, Miss Model, BFF, and I planned on traveling to Amsterdam so I could cross of another country from my list. We couldn’t quite get our schedules to work (Monday was not an Irish holiday so Tall One (my sibling) had to work and Miss Model (sibling’s girlfriend) had an event on Sunday). Instead we checked off something else that was on both Tall One’s and my bucket list – Northern Ireland. Continue reading

Woman crouching to take pictures of flowers

Ireland, we have a problem out here…

There’s no way to talk about the rest of the summer without talking about a not-so-slight hitch that occurred the first Friday night of my trip. And that requires some background, so bare with me.

3 years ago, I graduated from my master’s program jobless, recovering from a stalker ex-boyfriend, and completely unsure what my next steps should be. I knew that in a few months when my apartment lease was up if I didn’t have a job the smartest choice was to move back to CA and live with my mom to avoid a rent I couldn’t afford. But while I love CA, I also love DC and so I kept searching for something that would reasonably keep me there. And as I tried to figure out that part of my life, I knew I had to get over the fear my ex had put in me. So I went on a few dates because I figured the chances were high I’d move across country and therefore I didn’t have to fully make myself vulnerable because I don’t think long distance relationships can work.

And then I met a guy who changed that. Continue reading

The Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland

Ireland Week One: I brought the sun!

Landed in Dublin mid-morning on Sunday. I actually had great flights. The middle seat on both the flight from SF to London and London to Dublin was empty. Huzzah! I managed to nap a bit on the long flight, but the real trick to beating jet lag is to STAY HYDRATED. Every time the flight attendants come by with water, have a glass.

My sibling, Tall One, picked me up from the airport (so nice) and after dropping my super duper heavy suitcase off at the apartment, we had a lovely brunch at Angelina’s. I was skeptical about the quality of avocados being from CA and so far from where they’re grown, but I ordered an avocado toast and was most certainly not disappointed. Continue reading

Empty chairs at an airport with a plane in the background

Let the Adventure Begin…

My parents instilled a sense of wanderlust in me (and my sibling) at a young age. I was barely 6 months old when I traveled to a different state by plane – Hawai’i – and I was 7 by the time I traveled to Europe for the first time.

So I’m always up for a travel adventure. I enjoy skipping about different cities and countries, some times in style, sometimes not. Exploring the touristy options as well as finding fun spots off the beaten track thrills me. Recently, I kept seeing advertisements for Remote Year on Facebook and thought how cool it would be. A year might be a little much (my work does host a huge conference, after all), but the idea of spending months working remotely and staying in places long enough to feel like you lived there sounded like a dream.
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Miami skyline

Experiencing the Everglades: A short trip in Miami

I have a new goal – hit 30 states by the time I’m 30. I’m already at 23, so it’s seems like an easy accomplish, minus the fact that I live in California where getting to new states is a bit of a commitment.

State number 23 was Florida, and boy was it fun. Miami isn’t like any other place in the U.S. I’ve seen. It’s a whole different lifestyle from dress to mindset.

Continue reading