Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ireland in a blizzard - Part 2

The snow and ice started to get a little old by day 4. We headed to the Ring of Kerry, which had no snow in the forecast. This day turned out to be one of the nicest of the trip, and although it was windy, we got some amazing pictures. We were warned that there was ice all along the windy hills and that it was dangerous, but we decided to drive it anyway, knowing that we were at our own pace and could turn back at any time if we felt unsafe. We barely saw a single other car or tour bus out on the road the entire time. I imagined how crowded it must be during high season, and for the first time on the trip we were happy to be there in the off season. We stopped at another pub for lunch and then made it around the rest of the ring, getting back to Adare after nightfall.

Here are some pictures from the nearly deserted Ring of Kerry:

ring of kerry ireland

ring of kerry ireland

ring of kerry ireland

ring of kerry sheep ireland
Ring of Kerry sheep - there were so many of them!
With only 2 days left in the trip, we were anxious to get to Dublin.Since they were still in blizzard mode, we decided to take the train there. At least 6 inches worth of snow was already on the ground in a now slushy icy mess, and the streets were completely deserted. No cars driving by, no tourists on the streets, nothing except the few commuters who exited the train with us walking to work.

But, we were determined as always, and we made the walk to the Guinness storehouse, the first item on our must do list for the day. Even though the streets were empty, there were plenty of people taking cover in here over a few pints. This is a self guided tour , and we enjoyed seeing all the different items on display in the multi-floor facility. When we got to the end of our tour, we had the option to learn how to pour our own perfect pints, and even received a certification afterwards!

guinness storehouse in dublin
Visiting the Guinness storehouse in a blizzard!
guinness storehouse ireland
After pouring our perfect pint!

TIP: You will only get 1 free beer with the choice of either redeeming it pouring your pint, or getting it at the famous gravity bar. After we poured the pint, we brought it up the stairs and into the gravity bar anyway, so win win!

dublin Ireland
view of Dublin from the gravity bar

We spent a good amount of time looking at the view from the Gravity bar and deciding what to do next, as a few more inches of snow had piled up since we arrived. Since it was so cold out, the only logical decision was to head to the Jameson Distillery and get more alcohol to keep us warm. Unlike the Guinness Storehouse, the Jameson distillery fell victim to the weather and had a much smaller crowd than usual. This time it was a guided tour, and at the end they needed a bunch of volunteers to take a few different shots of whiskey. Since the group was so small, both Brian and I got selected as volunteers. Win again!  Not only were we given 3 full shots, we also got a free mixed whiskey drink at the end of the tour.

jameson distillery dublin
Round 2 of drinking - Jameson distillery
With both Guinness and whiskey in our stomachs, we were no longer cold! By now at least 6 inches of snow had fallen, and the school kids started pelting us with snowballs. We didn't mind as we know this is the first time in their lives they had seen snow like this. We found our way to the famous temple bar and had some food, overhearing someone saying that the weather was going to stop the trains, and the last one was heading out in the next hour. We made a mad dash for the train, Brian in just his sneakers and myself in suede boots that had more than soaked through by now. Snow boots... ugh why didn't we think to pack them!

We made it back on the train with barely a minute to spare, and it took over 3 hours due to the snow changing up the schedule.

After a very eventful week weather wise, we only had one major thing to finish up on the lsat day - the Cliffs of Moher. This was yet another almost deserted tourist attraction, and other than massive high winds, the weather wasn't too bad. 

cliffs of moher
Cliffs of Moher
cliffs of moher
We got great pictures due to there being no crowds!
We went back out to a local pub on our last night, happy that we survived the great blizzard of Ireland, and getting some great pictures out of it!

Have you ever planned a vacation and found yourself in a blizzard the whole week?

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