Ireland: The Setmeravelles.

158

Ireland is a country and island with infinite “meravelles” that would take a lifetime to truly discover. There are so many beautiful places that a list of seven is not enough. Since I recently travelled there at Christmas, I’m going to go ahead and write up the country’s seven wonders. Irelanda es un país y una isla con “meravelles” infinitas que tardarían una vida entera para descubrir. Hay tantos sitios bonitos que una lista de siete no es suficiente. Como pasé por Dublín en Navidad, ya voy a intentar hacer una lista cutre de las siete maravillas. 

As there is so much to discover, and I have seen so little, I’m going to include Dublin as one place to be able to include more incredible places that await me once I am confident enough with stickshift/manual to drive on the left side of the road to hire/rent a car and visit!  I also know these are really tourist places, so forgive me. Como hay tanto ver y como he visto tan poco, voy a incluir Dublín como un sitio para poder incluir más cosas increíbles que me esperan cuando ya pueda conducir con marchas por la izquierda para alquiler un coche. También ya sé que los sitios que incluyo son muy turísticos. Perdonadme. 

I am also considering the entire island as Ireland because the Giant’s Causeway is just too awesome to not include, even if I haven’t been.to Northern Ireland. También voy a considerar toda la isla como “Irelanda” como la Calzada de los Gigantes es tan genial para no incluir, aunque nunca he estado en Irlanda del Norte. 

Ireland’s SetMeravelles

Dublin

083

The capital of the island, with an urban area of 1,345,402 residents, has an infinite number of awesome places to visit, from St. Stephen’s Green to Temple Bar to the Guiness Factory to cathedrals to the Spire to the Halfpenny Bridge. James Joyce is all over the place too. During my 2014 visit, I felt Boston was very reminiscent of it. Although a big city, it serves as a great base to begin exploring the island. La capital de la isla, con una población urbana de 1.345.402 personas, dispone de muchas sitios chulos para visitar, desde St. Stephen’s Green hasta Temple Bar hasta la Fabrica de Guiness a catedrales al Spire al Puente Halfpenny. Se nota la presencia del fantasma de James Joyce también. Durante mi visita en 2014, me recordaba de Boston en EEUU. Aunque es una ciudad grande, sirve como un base para explorar la isla. 

Cobh

243

Cobh was, once upon a time, known as Queenstown.  It is a town of 12,347 people and was a popular starting point for ships to leave to the United States, including that ill-fated trip of the Titanic. Today is is a port town with beautiful cobblestone streets and colourful houses and, of course, great views of the sea. Erase una vez Cobh se llamaba Queenstown. Hoy es un pueblo de 12.347 personas y era un punto de embarque para los barcos que iban a los EEUU, incluyendo el barco más famoso, el Titanic. Hoy es un puerto con calles adoquinadas, casas coloridas y, desde luego, vistas bonitas del mar. 

Blarney Stone

082

Perhaps it’s only Americans like me with Irish blood that grew up with the tale of the Blarney Stone. While Ireland has many castles that are much more beautiful and impressive than Blarney, none of them have the tradition of the stone. Tourists flock from all over the world to kiss the stone to receive the “gift of gab”. I don’t know, I’m still pretty shy 2.5 years after kissing it, but I was able to “gab” with the Irish during my recent overnight without a problem. I’d say that maybe it only works whilst on the island, but Winston Churchill is said to have sojourned to Ireland to kiss it before many of his speeches. A lo mejor solo es yankis con sangre irlandesa (como yo) que crecemos con la historia de la Piedra de Blarney. Aunque Irlanda tiene castillos mucho más bonitos y impresionantes que Blarney, ninguna tiene la historia de la pierda. Siempre hay demasiadas turistas de todo el mundo haciendo cola para besar la pierda para conseguir el don de hablar. No sé. 2,5 años después todavía estoy demasiado tímido, pero hablaba con los irlandeses sin problema durante mi visita reciente. Diría que quizá solo funcione cuando uno está en la isla, pero se dice que Winston Churchill siempre viajó a Blarney para besar la pierda antes de sus discursos más importantes. 

Giant’s Causeway (yet to discover)

The famous basalt columns were formed after a volcanic eruption. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986 and is located 4.8 km/3 miles from the town of Bushmilles in County Antrim. For more information on the world-famous natural landmark, check out their website here. Las columnas de basalto famoso eran formadas después de una erupción volcánica. Ha sido Patrimonio de la Humanidad (UNESCO) desde 1986 y está ubicado a 4,8 kilómetros desde el pueblo de Bushmilles en Condado Antrim. He incluido su página web en inglés arriba.

Galway (to be discovered)

Located in the west of Ireland, Galway is a city of 79,504 people and will be the European City of Culture in 2020. The city is full of castles, rivers, canals and history. I still am kicking myself in the foot for going to Cork instead of here in 2014. I will return to Ireland to explore this beautiful city one day. The city’s tourism site can be found here. It’s a great base for exploring the west of the island. Situado en el oeste de Irlanda, Galway es una ciudad de 79.504 personas y será la Capital Europea de Cultura en 2020. La ciudad tiene muchos castillos, ríos, canales y historia. Todavía lamento haber ido a Cork en lugar de Galway en 2014. Un día volveré a Irlanda para explorar esa ciudad bonita. Es una buena base para explorar el oeste de la isla. Su sitio web está en inglés arriba. 

Dingle Peninsula (to be discovered)

Named for the only town on the peninsula, Dingle (Population 2000 on a good day), the peninsula offers stunning views of Atlantic and is the western point of Europe. The film Far and Away was partially filmed here. The 2010 film Leap Day takes place here, but was not filmed here. A visitor’s guide is found hereNombrado por el único pueblo en la península, Dingle (población 2000 más o menos), la península ofrece vistas impresionantes del Atlántico y es el punto más oeste en Europa. Grabaron la película Far and Away allí. La película de 2010 Leap Day tiene lugar allá, pero no la grabaron allá. La página web de turismo está en el texto en inglés.

County Kerry (to be discovered)

Dingle Peninsula is just one of the many beautiful places in County Kerry. County Kerry is home of the famous Ring of Kerry, a 179-km long tourist route through the most beautiful parts of the county. I would have enjoyed this so much more than Cork, but you live, you learn. (Cork is also nice, but I am a nature junkie.) Their tourism site can be found hereLa Dingle Península solo es uno de los sitios bonitos en el Condado Kerry. Condado Kerry es el hogar del anillo de Kerry famoso, una ruta de turismo de 179 kilómetros. Otra vez más, creo que habría disfrutado esta parte de Irlanda mucho más que Cork. Vives y aprendes. (Cork está bien, pero prefiero naturaleza.) Se encuentra su página web de turismo en inglés en la parte de inglés.

Advertisements

Christmas Eve Eve in Dublin

DSCN4925

I gave Ireland a short second chance to make an appeal after my holiday of errors in 2014, and it completely won me over, despite having less than 24 hours in Dublin. He dado Ireland una segunda oportunidad para ganar mi afección después de un viaje de erroes en 2014, y este vez ha ganado mi corazón, aunque tenía menos de 24 horas en Dublín. 

Every year, I visit my mother back in the States, and this year, the cheapest flight for several weeks included an overnight layover in Dublin. This was the flight I chose. I flew from the Alicante airport with Aer Lingus, which was a pleasant enough company.  Todos los años, visito a mi madre en los EEUU, y este año, el vuelo más barato encontrado durante unas semanas incluyó una escala de noche en Dublín. Al final era el vuelo que compré. Salí desde el aeropuerto de Alicante con Aer Lingus, que es una compañía bastante bien. 

Due to rain storm Barbara, the incoming flight from Dublin was late, which meant the flight from Alicante to Dublin left an hour late. No problem! The flight went by quickly, and before I knew it I was on the Air Coach to Dublin City Centre (13€ return/round trip). Dado a Tormenta Barbara, el vuelo de Dublín llego tarde a Alicante, que significaba que el vuelo de Alicante a Dublín salió una hora tarde. ¡No problema! El vuelo pasó rápido, y dentro de nada estaba cogiendo el Air Coach al centro de Dublín (13€ ida y vuelta). 

DSCN4936

The city is positively magical at Christmas time. I love Christmas lights, and Valencia is disappointing at Christmas time (all their lights are displayed in March for Fallas). I stayed close to St. Stephen’s Green. Although it was around 9 by the time I finally checked into the hotel (which left a mint on the pillow. How quaint!), I went for a quick burrito (because I mean, Dublin just screams out “Eat Mexican”) and wandered around the City Centre, making my way to Temple Bar. La ciudad tiene una magia durante Navidades. Me encantan las luces navideñas, y Valencia me decepciono en Navidad (todo su dinero para luces es guardado para Fallas en marzo). Me alojé cerca de St. Stephen’s Green. Aunque eran las 9 cuando llegué al hotel (que me dejó una menta en la almohada, ¡que chulo!), fui a cenar un burrito (claro, uno siempre piensa en Dublín cuando piensa en comida mexicana) y pasé por el centro de la ciudad hasta Temple Bar. 

DSCN4937

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. I did get a hug from a random drunk Irishman, which has to be on some Bucket List somewhere. He was with a group of lads going to the pubs, whereas I had to return to get a decent night’s sleep before the long flight the following day. Permito las fotos hablar por mi. Por cierto, recibí un abrazo de un irlandés borracho, que tiene que ser algo de algún Bucket List. Estaba con un grupo de amigos en ruta a los pubs, y yo tenía que volver al hotel para dormir un rato antes de coger un vuelo largo el día siguiente. 

DSCN4940

I’ll go ahead and say that the flight from Dublin to Chicago was hell. Once again, for the second transAtlantic trip in a row, we were sitting on the plane for an hour before they announced technical problems and we had to switch planes. I got to recreate that scene from Home Alone where they run through O’Hare to make my connecting flight.  Vale. Admito ahora que el vuelo desde Dublín a Chicago era una pesadilla. Otra vez, el segundo vuelo transatlántico seguido, estabamos sentados en el avión durante una hora sin salir antes de nos informó que tuvimos que cambio de avión dado de un fallo mecánico. Después, tenia la oportunidad re-crear la escena de Solo en casa cuando corren por el aeropuerto de Chicago O’Hare para llegar a mi vuelo de conexión. 

DSCN4950

I will also that the Preclearance through US Customs at the Dublin Airport is amazing and allowed me to not worry about having to clear it upon touching down in Chicago. También quiero decir que el Preclearance de las aduanas estadounidenses en el aeropuerto de Dublín es genial y no tenía que preocuparme durante el vuelo de tener que pasarla en Chicago cuando el avión llegó. 

DSCN4956

I am now itching to visit Ireland again at some point. There are just so many beautiful places in the world. Maybe if the return flight gets delayed and I have time to explore Ireland a bit, I can do it some justice! However, I’d rather just get the flights without any problems. Ahora tengo ganas de visitar Irlanda otra vez en el futuro. Hay muchos sitios bonitos en el mundo. A lo mejor si hay un retraso en el vuelo de vuelta y tengo tiempo de explorar la isla, puedo hacerlo justicia. Sin embargo, quiero poder coger los vuelos sin ningún problema. 

DSCN4967

How Not to Do Ireland in Style

(Note. I previously published this entry in http://impactmagazine.us/)

For years now, I’ve been told by the Spanish that Ireland was an incredible place, amazingly green with friendly people. On a recent trip, I somehow missed this Ireland that had been advertised, but I don’t regret my journey there.

Part of the problem was a lack of time to truly get to know the island, and trying to cram in too much in a short visit. I started off by taking the bus from the Dublin airport to Cork to begin my trip. Big mistake. My precious first hours on the island were spent on a bus watching the grey skies over the ugliest part of the green isle. It was dark by the time I arrived in Cork. My first day was shot.

The next morning, I took advantage of having my internal alarm clock still on Spanish time and waking up too early (Ireland is an hour behind Spain) to go to Blarney, the reason for my sojourn to Cork. My mom’s side of the family is part Irish, and my entire life I’ve heard stories about how she wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone that is supposedly said to give the “gift of gab” but more likely gives the gift of herpes. After paying my 12€ (highway robbery), I raced ahead to get ahead of that bus of annoying tourists being guided through Ireland at breakneck speed. Nothing against tourists (since I was one too), but I feel a tour bus is not a good way to experience the ways of the land.

I kissed the stone. Do I feel like I can talk any better? I’m still as reticent as ever three weeks later. I’m grateful for the experience, though, so if I ever have grandchildren, I’ll be able to tell them about climbing the stairs to the top, and in the drizzle, lying on my back, being held by my feet and kissing the stone. I will admit that the grounds of the Blarney Castle are incredible. However, I’m sure the Irish can suggest other castles that are more beautiful and off-the-beaten-path for those wanting to avoid a tourist trap.

I also went to Cobh during my Cork visit. It was a small, quaint village near the sea, and for history buffs, it’s the spot where the Titanic set off on its ill-fated journey. This was more Ireland, I think. Laid back, green and quaint.

Cork City was a disappointment. The River Lee was nice, but it was a bit too quiet and peaceful for being Ireland’s second largest city. Shopping was fun, and the bookstores were fantastic. Nevertheless, I left the city disappointed. Also of note, being born in the States, I found the Cork dialect of English nearly as difficult to understand as the Irish language itself (which I saw a lot of but never heard actually spoken).

On day three I left Cork for Dublin, this time by train. The train takes a more scenic route than the bus with stops in Limerick and a few other towns. It was a quick three hours compared to the eternal three bus hours, and after taking a taxi to my hostel in a residential part of town, I set off exploring.

Dublin reminded me a lot of Boston. They had a ton of American restaurants (Subway is quite popular), and Trinity College could easily have been located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and not Dublin. The St. Patrick Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedrals were spectacular, and Temple Bar is like none other for aficionados of Guinness. I’m not a fan of beer, ever, under any circumstance, but I had to take part in the tradition of having a pint. I much preferred the Starbucks, though.

Speaking of food, I think my cholesterol had to have risen during my short stay. I had eggs and sausage for breakfast every morning. Ireland is not a place for eating healthy, nor is it a place to go for those wanting to save money. I found the prices to be double or triple what they were in Spain for the same thing. That pint of Guinness set me back 5€, and their white coffee was 2.50-3€. Spain’s café con leche is, on average, 1.30€.

The highlight of Dublin for me was walking along the river. It has a bridge designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, but I preferred the Ha’Penny Bridge.

I took advantage of being in the Irish capital and went out to explore the gay nightlife. The George is the most famous gay club of Dublin, and with reason. It was packed with people of all ages on Friday night. The music was good, and before 10 there is no cover. The drinks were also cheap, and it’s quite close to Temple Bar, the main tourist square.

While I appreciate what I saw, I feel I missed a lot of what I would have loved. The Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher, a trip to Northern Ireland to see Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway … I did what I could with the four days I had, but I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps I should give Ireland a second chance to see these places, among others, in the future.

However, from this short trip, I learned less is more. If you see fewer places instead of trying to see everything, you get more out of those places. My first time to Italy, I saw five cities in ten days and felt rushed. Since then, I have returned to Rome and Milan on two different occasions and had a better time focusing on these trips. It’s not always feasible, unfortunately, as you never know if you’re going to get the chance to go back.

At least the weather cooperated for once. Ireland is typically rainy? Could have fooled me. I only experienced drizzle at the Blarney Castle.

If I ever find myself in Ireland again, after a night at The George, of course, I plan on hitting the more natural areas and leaving the cities behind to experience what I presume is the authentic Ireland.