Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 9 & 10 – Dublin, Fair City

We had two days in Dublin on our 12 Day British Isles cruise, and we were in excited! The first day we decided to tour on our own since we had been there two years ago. The second day we took an excursion out to Powerscourt Garden, rated by National Geographic as #3 in the world!

Day 1

            On July 29, 2019, we woke in Dublin, Ireland at 6:45 am, ate breakfast and were out to the pier to catch the shuttle by 8:00 am. Impatient to get to Dublin, we had to wait until 8:30 am before taking off. The shuttle took us to Merrion Square where there’s three statues celebrating Oscar Wilde.

            Immediately, we bought Hop-Off-Hop-On bus passes for two days which included the night tour. We hopped on the bus and enjoyed a tour of the city heading towards the Guinness Storehouse. We sat upstairs in the open air and enjoyed Dublin. We circled around Trinity College, the Irish Whiskey Museum, Christ Church and the busy Dublin streets. I enjoyed the beautiful flowers decorating many businesses on the decorated city streets.  

We went to the Guinness Storehouse to buy something Lin had planned on for months—socks! When we were in Dublin two years ago, he bought socks at the Guinness Storehouse souvenir shop and wanted more.  They wouldn’t let us into the souvenir shop without buying a tour ticket. One of the workers there told us we could probably find them at any of the Carroll’s Irish Gifts souvenir shop, but especially the big one on O’Connell street.

            So off we went on the bus towards O’Connell street but again enjoyed the tour along the way. We went through Phoenix Park, seeing “the Wellington monument, the largest obelisk in Europe at 62mm high.”

The first Carroll’s Irish Gifts souvenir shop we visited didn’t have any socks, but the second one did. There I also bought a beautiful silver ring and a plaque of my favorite Oscar Wilde’s quote, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken!”

            From there, we walked to the Temple Bar Pub, enjoying being on the street with the people. We had hoped to eat lunch there, but they were swamped, so we took pictures and walked to the Brazen Head Pub, the oldest pub in Dublin, dating back to 1198.

            Notice our first stops in Dublin were either pubs or breweries!

            The Brazen Head Pub was too busy, too, so we crossed the street and ate lunch at O’Shea’s Merchant restaurant where we had eaten two years ago. I had clam chowder; Lin had lamb stew—gigantic bowls and so delicious!

  After lunch, we discussed our options for the afternoon and decided to ride the bus over to the EPIC The Irish Emigration museum. We had ridden by it in the morning on the shuttle from the ship, and it looked fascinating.

            The afternoon had gotten away from us, so we when we got there, we only had 30 minutes until the last Hop-Off-Hop-On bus would leave the museum, so we couldn’t do the tour—how disappointing! I grabbed a book about the museum, and we put it on the list for our next Dublin trip. Good thing we went outside quicker than 30 minutes because the bus came early.

            When we got back to downtown Dublin, we enjoyed a walk through a lovely neighborhood and found a delightful café, the Busy Feet & Coco Café. My stomach problems surfaced—severe stabbing pain, so this was a great time to stop. The wait staff was truly international (Polish and Brazil), friendly and talkative. Lin enjoyed hot chocolate and chocolate goodies, and I had a latte. We paced ourselves during our time in Dublin, and Lin was so understanding with my stomach problems.

Our break eased my discomfort, so we walked along the Liffey River and bought souvenirs. There are 23 bridges crossing the Liffey, and I took pictures of several!

            In the morning, we had stopped at a bookstore, and I saw a paperback copy of The Dubliners, had it in my hand a couple times, but finally I put it back. After our memorable day in Dublin, we went back to the bookstore and I bought it! There was a great statute inside The Temple Bar Pub of someone reading The Dubliners!

            We wrapped up the day in Dublin with the evening bus tour winding our way through the sights of Dublin at night. It sprinkled a little but only added to the atmosphere. The bus tour took us back to Merrion Square, and we took pictures of the Oscar Wilde statute. We caught the shuttle back to the ship and boarded about 9:00 pm—a full day of Dublin, Fair City!

Day 2

            Our second day in Dublin would take us out of the city to a beautiful garden. We slept in and enjoyed a leisure breakfast. After eating, we went up on deck 13 to try to find familiar landmarks in Dublin with our binoculars.

            Lin wasn’t feeling well, so he napped. I woke him at 1:40 pm, and he got ice cream.

            Our afternoon excursion was “Leisurely Landscapes & Powerscourt Gardens.” As we waited for the shuttle on the pier, it started to rain. When we arrived at the gardens, mist hung over the garden.

            The Powerscourt Garden was breathtaking in color and design. National Geographic has identified these gardens as number three in the world!

The first stop was the Powerscourt House. Looking out towards the gardens and the Triton Lake, statutes of Greek gods circled the walk. We saw the Italian Garden, Pepperpot Tower Valley, Japanese Garden, Triton Lake, Pet Cemetery, Dolphin Pond, and Walled Garden. At first, we walked with the guide through the garden and admired the flowers.

Then we took off by ourselves and wandered in the woods. We walked to the top of the Pepperpot Tower and took pictures of the area. I specifically enjoyed the Pet Cemetery and the names of the pets. Again, we didn’t have much time after the tour, so we did no souvenir shopping.

            On the drive back to the ship, it poured. As the ship pulled out of the port, we sadly waved goodbye to Dublin. We ate dinner in Windows restaurant and celebrated our wonderful time in Dublin!

Molly Malone Statute

You can’t go to Dublin, Fair City and not celebrate Molly Malone and this song. Enjoy for a moment!

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Ireland & England · My Thoughts · Travel

Day 11 – Dublin, Leaving on to London

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Aparto Binary Hub Hostel in Dublin, Ireland

Our hostel in the downtown area of Dublin, the Aparto Binary Hub, was a short walk up to James street and across it to the Guinness Storehouse, so we planned our tour for this morning because we flew out of Dublin for London at 3:35 pm. We left our bags at the desk for 10 Euros and walked a short trip to the Storehouse.

The Guinness Storehouse tour was fascinating–years ago, I went through the Coors brewery in Golden, CO often, so I knew the brewing story, but the Guinness story is unique for sure. The six story building had something for everyone, and it was obvious that this was a main attraction in Dublin–lots and lots of people.

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9,000 Years Lease in the floor as you enter

“The owner of St. James’s Gate Brewery required 100 pounds as a down payment and 45 pounds per month for rent. On the last day of December 1759, Arthur Guinness somehow managed to get the owner to agree to a lease for up to 9,000 years on these terms. Guinness is still brewed at St. James Gate, and the company still pays 45 pounds in rent each month.” (

Lin thoroughly enjoyed the tour. He was excited about tasting “Real” Guinness beer because he had been a bartender at the Leprechaun Bar in New York City for many years, and any Irish patrons said the Guinness in the USA didn’t taste the same as the Guinness in Ireland. After his sampling, he agreed.

I’m a recovery alcoholic so there were parts of the tour that were hard, but I kept focussed. While he did his sampling, I roamed the gift shop. We ended our time there up on the top floor with a 360 degree view of Dublin–it was breathtaking.

Afterwards, we retrieved our bags and hailed a taxi for the airport, arriving early, so we ate lunch leisurely. Our flight to London left at 3:35 pm, and both of us regretted leaving Ireland. We added Ireland to our trip more for Lin than me, but Ireland and its people captured my heart, too! It had been a delightful experience.

When we landed at Heathrow and retrieved our bags, we had a hard time finding our taxi driver that our travel agent had pre-arranged, but finally Lin succeeded amidst a sea of drivers waiting for arriving passengers. The driver was talkative and informative on the drive to our hotel, The Mornington Hotel.

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Mornington Hotel – our home in London!

The rest of this day was leisure and low-keyed. The hotel clerk, Charlotte, helped us as we prepared for our week in London. She directed us to where we could exchange dollars to pounds and how to get to “The Tube.”

So off we went on a walking tour. First we exchanged money, then we made our way to the Subway station–easily in walking distance. Our tour guide had sent us two Oyster cards preloaded with 20 pounds to get us started–what a true gift!

We returned to our lovely room and relaxed in the evening, excited about our next day’s adventure in London. Our tour guide had set up a wonderful itinerary for our five days:

  1. First day – Total London Tour – Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Tour of London, River Cruise on the River Thames, and Ride on the London Eye
  2. Second day – a free day to do as chose – we chose to see the Charles Dickens’ museum but it was closed. The rest of the day we spent at the British museum.
  3. Third day – Tour outside of London – Enjoyed a day-tour to Warwick Castle, probably England’s finest medieval fortress, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, the rolling hills of the Cotswolds and the historic university city of Oxford. Admission to Warwick Castle, Christchurch College and a walking tour of Oxford were included in your tour.
  4. Fourth day – a free day to do as chose – We went back to the Charles Dickens’ museum and “Les Miserables” at the Queen’s Theater in the West End of London
  5. Fifth day – Tour out of London – Enjoyed Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury Tour

That’s a quick summary of our time in London. I will go in more detail with each day because they were filled to the brim with adventure.

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Share your thoughts and comments below–I would love to hear your reaction to this post! Have you traveled to Ireland? England? Let’s have a conversation.

Ireland & England · Travel

Day 10 – Dublin – More Hop On & Off

So sorry for the delay. The holidays hit, but I’m back!

Our full day in Dublin was jam packed from the start! Again we used the services of the Hop On & Off bus system, and it worked well.

Container Coffee Shop

We stopped off at the Container Coffee shop near our hostel for breakfast. Yes, it was a coffee shop in a small storage container and the coffee and service were great.

Our hostel was off of James Street and right across from the Guiness Storehouse, so we stopped there first and booked tickets for their tour for the next morning.

Killmainham Gaol

Our first bus stop was the Killmainham Gaol (jail). “Many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed in the prison by the British.” (

The cells of many of the famous men from the 1916 Easter Rising were identified. A taxi driver specifically asked us if we were going to this gaol which was a major part of their history. I understood why he emphasized seeing it after the tour.

The feeling at the jail was somber–the echo throughout the place was pain and suffering. I’m glad we toured and learned about this part of Irish history.

Our next stop was Trinity College and the Book of Kells. We had been warned that the line might be super-long there, but we arrived at a time it wasn’t too bad and certainly the wait was more than worth it.

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Larada in line for the Book of Kells

The Book of Kells “is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created in a Columban monastery in either Britain or Ireland and may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from both Britain and Ireland. It is believed to have been created c. 800 AD.” (

The illustrations are gorgeous, extravagant and complex. As we wound our way through the exhibit, we were educated on the Book of Kells. When we finally arrived, people crowded the display, but we had ample time to get a close look at the book and marvel at this ancient document.

Our next stop was St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We did a guided tour and learned a lot. It was founded in 1191 and is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. I thought it was Catholic, but it isn’t. I bought St. Patrick pins for two Catholic friends, and they appreciated them anyway.

“Throughout its long history the cathedral has contributed much to Irish life, and one key aspect of this relates to the writer and satirist Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, who was Dean of the cathedral from 1713 to 1745. Many of his famous sermons and “Irish tracts” (such as the Drapier’s Letters) were given during his stay as Dean.[11]

His grave and epitaph can be seen in the cathedral, along with those of his friend Stella. Swift took a great interest in the building, its services and music and in what would now be called social welfare, funding an almshouse for poor women and Saint Patrick’s Hospital.” (,_Dublin)

More to come to this full day–we jumped on the bus and toured the city to rest a bit. We had a destination in mine, raced there on foot after hopping off the bus–The Archaeology Museum–before it closed, and made it. It closed at 5:00 pm and we rushed in the door at 4:00–one hour to find the Bog Man.

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Bog Body at the Archaeology Museum of Ireland

The tour guide at Rathcroghan, Daniel Curley, suggested we go to the Archaeology Museum in Dublin to see the “Bog bodies.” “A bog body is a human cadaver that has been naturally mummified in a peat bog.” ( He told us that one of the bodies was found on his farm near Rathcroghan. It was eery for sure.

There was so much to see there but we barely skimmed the surface.

The day ended with a strong desire to eat at the oldest pub in Ireland, the Brazen Head, but it was too busy, so we crossed the street and returned to O’Shea’s Merchant Restaurant again for another delicious Irish meal.

The day exhausted us, so we returned to our room early and packed for our flight to England the next day. We still had the next morning to tour the Guiness Storehouse before we were off to the airport. We loved Ireland and were reluctant to leave.

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A Trip of a Lifetime!


Lin and I just got home from a three week trip to Ireland and England. I would like to share some highlights with you from that trip. I’m going to start at the end of the trip that was spent in Bury St. Edmund’s, a beautiful quaint city north of London.

The picture above is in the Abbey garden and the cathedral shows in the background on the left.

We attended a family wedding there and the Brit’s really know how to party. My cousin, Meghan Berg, married Mike Edwards at Raven Hall. All of Mike’s family and friends were so hospitable and made us feel welcome. Meghan had lots of family members in attendance which was fun.

While in Bury, Lin and I toured the city and saw the movie, “Dunkirk.” It resonated with us in a different way by being in England. We attended Anglican church Sunday with the family at the St. Edmundsbury cathedral and again the people were so friendly.

As a large group, we went to Cambridge by train and what an experience that was!  Bicycles everywhere! We did a city tour and saw many of the colleges that make up Cambridge University.

We loved the Traditional English breakfast–I have pictures to share.

Lin and I drove to Lavenham, a medieval city south of Bury for an all day adventure. We toured the St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church, Guide Hall and the Little Hall. At the church, we were surprised to see the American flag and a memorial to a unit that was stationed near there during World War II. Many of the medieval buildings still stand and again the people fascinated me with their pleasantries.

Lin drove from London to Bury, to Lavenham and then back to London. He had driven in Ireland at the beginning of the trip and did well, but he was hesitant to drive in the London area. He did a great job in both countries–I coached him when turning with mantras a friend had taught me. Driving on the left side of the road is a challenge, but he managed it admirably.

Have you ever been to England and Ireland? Leave me a comment!