Sunday, March 25, 2012

What's the craic?: part 2

After a slow start on Saturday morning, we eventually made our way to the street to find a place ready for the parade. Luckily we only had to step outside our hostel, as the parade came straight past us. Perfect!

The Irish are an attractive bunch.

The parade was a lot of fun. Unfortunately my camera battery died half way through so I had to resort to Instagram for the rest.

After the parade the party continued in the form of a pub crawl. No, I will not be posting those photos but suffice it to say, a good night was had by all.

By the time Sunday morning rolled around we were all a little worse for wear. We made one last effort to head down to Temple Bar but the this time it was for something a little more civlised. We indulged in tea (and hot chocolates for those of us with an aversion to tea) and scones in the Tea Room of the Clarence Hotel, otherwise known as Bono and the Edge's joint.  T'was a brilliant end to a rather fantastic weekend, I have to say. I definitely think everyone should do St Patrick's Day in Ireland at least once. You won't meet any Irish people but you will meet about 10,000 Australians and you'll have a a ridiculous amount of fun!

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's the craic?*: part 1

At the end of last week a friend and I packed our bags and boarded a plane, Ireland bound. We arrived bright and early Thursday morning (and by early I mean our flight got in a 9am which meant a 4am start) to a not so bright but very cloudy Dublin. We checked into Kinlay House, dumped our bags and headed towards the city centre to explore. I'll be honest, I couldn't be bothered taking photos, I just wanted to take it all in and enjoy myself.

Thursday night was a big meet and greet night where met the 3 million other Australians on the tour. Not going to lie, it was nice to be surrounded by the Aussie accent again; I've successfully avoided Australian here in Manchester so far. It is a strange, in a good way, feeling when you meet people half way across the world who live in the same city as you.

Friday was big day of exploring. Luckily all the girls in our hostel room got along superbly so we venture out for the day; first stop was the jail. Unfortunately the tours times were too late for us so we headed back via the Gallery of Modern Art.

 No, there is nothing wrong with my lens. The blurry greyness is due to the incessant drizzle that followed us all day. Understandably, before heading into the photography exhibit we stopped for coffees and hot chocolates inside to dry out a bit.

This is the courtyard of the gallery.
 The photography exhibit was in a separate building and to get there we walked past this beautifully manicured garden.

Our detour home via the gallery meant we missed the start of our walking tour but we managed to catch up with them outside the Christ Church Cathedral. Most of the photos I snapped along the way aren't the best in quality because I didn't want my camera getting too wet and we were a bit rushed.

Far too much money was spent in this iconic pub.

A bit of festive bunting never goes astray.

A building in Trinity College

Trinity College entrance

The Dublin castle entrance
 Our walking tour ended at the Guiness storehouse. I'll admit I'd never had Guiness before this weekend but when in Rome...and who was I to turn down a free pint!

We spent the rest of the afternoon sipping our Guiness and listening to the live band playing in the storehouse bar.

*I wanted to avoid cheesy leprechaun-related humor for a post title so I went for the slogan that was printed on our Shamrocker tour t-shirts. See here for an explanation.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Home Sweet Home: part 3

Ok I think it's about time I explained my choice of title for this series of posts. It's a bit silly really but just go with it. The weekend I took this trip it was 17 degrees, the sun was out (trust me, in the north this is rare, at best), I was listening to Crowded House on my ipod and we were heading to Harrogate, which just happens to be the name of my street back home. Too many home connections to be ignored. Told you it wasn't that exciting.

Ok so, as mentioned, we ended the day in the lovely little town of Harrogate. There wasn't a huge amount to do here, admittedly, but it we were perfectly content just wandering around, enjoying the weather and stopping for a hot chocolate in a little tea room.

This is Betty's Tea Room which is,apparently, very famous. It is also very expensive.

Easter display in Bettys.

Ok I have to explain this next photo. A few months before I left Mum and I were wondering around Myer and I noticed these boxes of tea that were embossed with the brand name 'Taylor's of Harrogate'. Freaky right? As soon as I decided to take this trip to Harrogate I set myself a mission of tracking down the REAL Taylor's of Harrogate Tea. Mission complete. I know it's a terrible photo but I had to rush because I didn't think the shop owners would take kindly to me photographing their merchandise.

A box of Taylor's will set you back about $15 at home; I bought a box here for a measly 1 pound 69 p. Crazy. Shame I don't actually like tea.

I've finally reached the end of my photos. My next post/s will be concerning a rather fantastic weekend in Dubin.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Home Sweet Home: part 2

From the Abbey we headed along the lawn towards the water garden, which looked something like this...

You can see the Abbey in the background on the far left of this shot - we walked along the lawns to a path that cut through the trees in the middle of this photo and brought us out somewhere on the right. We then walked around the lake and took a turn onto what turned out to be a rather steep hill, from the top of which this photo, and the one below, were taken.

Following the path along the hill brought us to the Octagon Tower. There are ten buildings like this dotted around the Studley Royal gardens, unfortunately we didn't get the time to see all of them.

The water gardens themselves were hard to photograph because it was all so flat. Here are my best attempts.

After reaching the exit to the Deer park we headed back to the bus. I couldn't resist one more shot of the Abbey.
Definitely my favourite photo of the day

The final stop of the day was Harrogate but you'll have to wait for part 3 for those photos. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Home Sweet Home

In the middle my essay-induced stress over the weekend I took another day trip. This time we headed north! I was worried the day would be ruined by typical northern weather but I really needn't have. I think I'm going to split this post into two because I have sooo many photos I want to put up but I don't want to breach photo-overload territory.

The first stop of the day was definitely the highlight. I honestly didn't know a thing about Fountains Abbey until I got there. Turns out I was actually heading to a film location of one of my favourite movies (History Boys). I knew exactly where I was the second I spotted the ruins through the trees.

A very rare photo of yours truly

If nothing else, the photos above show that I have a penchant for sun flares and taking photos through naturally occuring frames. Hopefully they also make you want to visit this amazing place. It really was quite bizarre - we don't have anything like this back home.

After spending a good hour or so climbing through the ruins we headed towards the water garden. Stay tuned for photos!