Ireland London Experience
Bunratty Castle Banquet
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(In order to make this trip more enjoyable, I have linked most of the sites to the Internet.  One click and all the information will appear.)*

September 26 - October 15, 2003

The flight was on time and we arrived from Tel Aviv to London Heathrow Airport to await our ongoing flight to Dublin, Ireland.

September 27

In Dublin Center, near the famous
Ha'Penny Bridge,* we rented a "self-catering" apartment, fully equipped with all conveniences necessary and nearby shopping within walking distance, to set up our "home away from home" for the next week.  We ate breakfast and supper at home and made sure to eat one meal a day at a restaurant.

September 28

After a short walk along the Liffey River, we reached the offices of the
Hop On Hop Off Tour Company.* (HOHO).  A 24 hour ticket makes it possible to use this service throughout Dublin.  It stops at all well-known sites, and there are many stops to get back on to continue on the tour.  There is a guide who explains all the sites and makes it simple to familiarize the visitors with this amazing and beautiful city.  We sat at the top to get a better view and made our decisions where to begin.  Fortunately our landlady had left many brochures for us to study, to give us some ideas. 

September 29

This was a rainy day; a good opportunity for us to go to the bank to exchange money at a nearby bank.  Then back on the HOHO, bus with fresh tickets for the next 24 hours.  We had a different guide who explained more things and then went home to relax and get ready for some real sightseeing. 

September 30

Our first day of serious sightseeing and we began at the famous
"University of Dublin Trinity College"(1592).*
It is worthwhile to click on the site and get all of the information on this famous place.  It is especially worthwhile to check into the famous Book of Kells written in the 9th Century*.
The Library of the Trinity College (1732) isrenowned world-wide for its rich and varied collection  of 4.25 million volumes and papers, available to all.  There is a link to this very overwhelming hall, giving the visitor a feeling of awe.
We then went to
Dublin Castle 1205*
 
It is worthwhile to click on the link and read the very interesting history of this beautifully maintained castle.  Currently it is being used by heads of state, and since Ireland is taking over the presidency of the European Union, it will be the center of all activities there.
This has been a busy day, and with the HOHO bus available, we got an enjoyable home.

October 1


Wicklow and Avoca* also known as Ballykissangel is an entire enchanting area north of Dublin, known as the Garden of Ireland.  Everything is green and breathtakingly beautiful.  The weather cooperated by being warm and sunny.  This was a half-day tour, giving us a chance to catch our breath a bit. 

October 2

The Dublin Zoo *
is not only beautiful but also arranged with the comfort of the animals  kept in mind.  The animals are not caged, they roam in their own in their own environment.  Walking around the different exhibits and seeing how well the zoo is run, makes this an enjoyable day.  The zoo is located in Phoenix Park*
which is one of the world's most beautiful parks and larger than Central Park in New York.  There are many fascilities to spend a day of picnicking, sports and sporting events, or just strolling. 
In the evening, after this perfect day, we ventured to an Irish Pub.  The music and dancing, along with the friendly people, turned out to be the end to a perfect day.  We came home late, after being "infected" with the tunes and dancing. 

October 3

Today we visited the
Dublin Museum of Archeology and History*
one of the many museums and very worthwhile with it's variety of exhibits and giving the visitor a real trip back into time and Ireland's historical past, taking us back to the Bronze Age. gold ornaments, the Shrine of St. Patrick's Bell and many Christian treasures, not to be found anywhere else in the world.

October 4

Today we had a late start and decided to take the HOHO into the center of Dublin.  We shopped a bit, had a light lunch and then went to visit
Dublinia*
located at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin's oldest landmark and worthwhile reading all the information in the above link.  This is also the location where Handel's Messiah was first performed.

October 5

Celtic Experience Tour*

This was a remarkable experience with a mini-bus of no more that 14 people and a well-informed and often comical driver-guide.  We learned all about Celtic history, along with visiting a pre-historic cave.  We saw mysterious monasteries and high crosses of Mellifont Abbey.  We returned over the Hill of Slane where St.Patrick lit a Paschal Fire in 433, proclaiming Christianity.
This was our last day in Dublin. 

October 6 - October 9

A Taste of Ireland*(click here to see the whole tour)
Today we are off on a tour of Ireland from Dublin  all the way to the West Coast and return.  Since the tour lasts several days, the itinerary is on the link above.  We saw so many wonderful things and did so much, that the "Taste of Ireland" was difinitely just that: a taste, causing you to take a more thorough tour at a later date.  We had such a wonderful time, being kept busy seeing the most enchanting and beautiful places.  We visited Blarney Castle, traveled the Ring of Kerry, went on a jaunting car ride in the rain.  The final great treat was the beautiful banquet at Bunratty Castle, with beautiful Irish entertainment.
When we arrived back in Dublin for a final night and day we stayed at another, well-located B & B place until --

October 10

One last walk in Dublin to the River Liffey and to see the touching memorial statues to the
Irish Potato Famine of the mid 19th Century and other Photos of Dublin*.

Then it was off to the airport and our short flight to London, where we spent until 5 days, visiting relatives and doing some sightseeing.

(As with the Irish tour, I have linked the main sites to the net, for the reader to become more acquainted with London)

London Sightseeing*
We stayed  at a small hotel in Wembley Park. 
My plan was to finally visit the
British Museum* This was a full day tour, allowing only a small fraction of this fantastic museum, with its world renown collections.  There is so much to see that it is worthwhile to click on the link above.
The next day we went to the
London Eye* This an amazing way to get a bird's eye view of London. This super "ferris wheel" is a recent addition to London's many offerings and should not be missed.
On the final day in London I set out by myself.  I took the "tube to Westminster Bridge.  There I purchased a complete tour ticket on the London version of the Hop On Hop Off (HO HO) and a cruise on the River Thames.  The weather was perfect.  The sun was shining and my camera was very busy.  After completing the tour I walked across the Centennial Bridge, advancing towards Big Ben and the Parliament building.  From there I just kept on walking to Downing Street, Whitehall.  I watched a changing of the guards at Whitehall, browsed through a book store and as my feet gave out, I found my way back to Wembley Park on the tube.
The final evening was spent with family and emotional farewells.  We arrived back in our house at 2:00 A.M. on October 16 -- ending a beautiful trip.

As usual, vacations, no matter how long, end too soon, however the many lovely memories of Ireland linger.  London is, as always a great city to visit and explore endlessly.
River Liffey
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin Castle
Jaunting Buggy Ride
Amnesty International Sculpture
Potato Famine Sculpture
The Dublin Cow at River Liffey
Ireland Maps click here*
[Shout Out]
Irish Harpist at Bunratty Castle
St.Paul Cathedral Dome London
The London Eye
London as seen from London Eye
Tower Bridge with HMS Belfast London
LONDON
Hags With Bags Dublin Street
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