With Haley performing in Riverdance eight shows per week, we are limited to staying in or close to Dublin city seven days a week. We spend our mornings working out, taking long walks in either Merrion Square or St. Stephen's Green, studying the Irish language, shopping, exploring new neighborhoods, and visiting various sites within walking distance like the National Museum of Ireland and the Irish Traditional Music Archives. We tend to walk between 6-9 miles per day.
Haley has Mondays off. Our plan is to use these days to the best of our ability to explore further afield, visit with friends, or find other more time consuming adventures here in the city.
We spent our first Monday staying in Dublin. We visited the National Gallery of Ireland. Two wings of the gallery were closed for renovation/repair which left us able to view a lot of Renaissance babies and saints or print art (most of which was absolutely incredible). We loved learning how the process of print art worked in the early-mid 1900's. From the Gallery, we walked to Raneagh. The route Google Maps took us was beautiful with big trees and beautiful old homes.
The walk was long and the weather varied from partly sunny to drizzling rain but no matter, we enjoyed every moment of it. We had lunch planned with friends at The Garden of Vegan restaurant. We arrived a little early and were a bit chilly, so we tucked into a little coffee shop for a quick tea and delicious little vegan cakes. The flavors available for the cakes were difficult to chose between so we picked two, almond berry and lime, then shared them both.
Our lunch with Deirdre and Brenda was delicious. So much fun chatting with them. We weren't quite finished talking so we walked together to a the Cake Cafe, a cute, little restaurant tucked away behind a bookstore with both indoor and outdoor seating and lovely, funky decor.
Haley and I only drank tea because we were full from our lunch and earlier tea shop treats but we made plans to return the following week to give their vegan cakes a try (and we were not disappointed by the way...their vegan chocolate brownies were delicious).
We walked back to town a different, and much shorter, way than we had taken to get there then went to meet a few of Haley's fellow Riverdance co-stars to see the movie Rocketman. What a fabulous movie though it did make me feel a little old to remember seeing most of the happenings (and those costumes worn by Elton John) when they occurred.
Haley's 17th Birthday just happened to fall on her day off and Daddy came over to Ireland for the week to see us and help us celebrate. Haley decided she'd like to head to the North for her birthday so I booked a rental car for two days and a hotel room for two nights in Belfast. We headed to the airport to pick up our rental car right after the show on Sunday night and drove to Belfast.
The next morning we rose early...not an easy task when twice throughout the night (1:48am and 3am) some drunk guy was banging on our door, not saying anything when asked what he wanted, and there was another dude in the hallway with him which all freaked us out. Security handled it and supposedly he just had the wrong room but still, not a fun full night's sleep. We walked to Oh!Donuts...the absolutely best vegan donuts on the island. Haley and I knew about the place from our visit last October so it was her birthday dessert request.
We drove up further north to see a few sights we had not yet gotten around to seeing on previous trips.
Our first stop was Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. The northern coast is absolutely beautiful! We all walked across the rope bridge and explored the island on the other side then took the longest walk possible back around to the car.
|Giant's Causeway from the high path.|
We drove back to Belfast and ate birthday dinner at Jumon, a fabulous vegetarian/vegan Asian fusion restaurant. All meals are vegetarian with vegan options. Their food is delicious. We each enjoyed our dishes but they have chips with tofu and kimchi that are out of this world!
We had a much better night's sleep then drove back to Dublin Tuesday morning. Daddy was able to see Haley perform in one more Riverdance show Tuesday night before flying back home on Wednesday.