Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend

Ok, so I'm a huge fan of this 4 day weekend thing, but when is Newcastle going to realize that some of us might actually need to do a little food shopping on Easter Sunday?! at some place other than Gregg's or Londis, that is...

I'm also still rather mystified by the fact that even though England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland use the same currency, its practically impossible to use anything but English money in England... so my £30 of Bank of Ulster money (left over from our tour through Belfast and the Antrim Coast) is about as useful as Monopoly money as far as Newcastle people are concerned. Forgive me for being North American, but does no one realise that the Bank of Ulster, NatWest, and the Royal Bank of Scotland are actually the same bank!!? And that the money is really the same money even if it does happen to have different pictures on the front?!! But at least I was prepared for this problem, given previous attempts to spend Scottish money in Newcastle.

Anyway... Ireland was lots of fun - hectic, but lots of fun. Driving on the wrong, I mean left side of the road was fun too - especially the part where you make a left hand turn and end up turning onto the wrong side of the other street! But don't worry, the rental car was returned without a scratch on it!

We landed in Dublin last Saturday and stayed till Tuesday morning. Saturday was spent mostly in Travel, with a little wandering around in the evening. On Sunday, we wandered through the posh Georgian areas South of the Liffey, went to Trinity College once it opened, and then went to Dublin Castle and the Chester Beatty Museum in the afternoon where we met up with TeaandCakes, my upstream pal from the last round of Secret Pal. As she says, the meeting was too short, and I will definitely come out to a knitting meeting next time! (ps: thanks for the tip on the Galway yarn shop!).

Here are a few pics of Dublin:
the Liffy by night

view from the Cliff Walk out at Howth (a Dublin Suburb full of many huge posh homes...)

another view from the walk, showing one of those posh homes

Jameson's and Ginger Ale at the Old Jameson's Brewery -
Mike got to take part in the taste test, but all I got was this one little drink! :)
(ps: they offer it like this, so no accusations of wrecking the whiskey please!)

Mike at the Giant's Causeway

see, even the sheep know that you're supposed to drive on the right side of the road!
this is near the Doolough valley, just west of Westport.

more Sheepies, but on a different highway - it was early, and the Farmers were taking them out to the pasture for the day. look at the cute little lambies at the back! they're so teeny!

The Cliffs of Moher. SO not impressed with the tourist developments here - they've put up a stone wall/dirt hill barrier to keep you about 5m from the edge of the cliff, and they're charging 8 Euros for parking (which has been moved to the far side of the roadway to make room for a coach drop-off loop and parking lot), and another 4 Euros each for their optional "Atlantic Sea Cliff Experience" in the fancy-schmancy in-cliff tourist centre. (How long till this 'experience' ceases to be optional?!) When I was here in 2000, you could walk all the way to the cliff edge - rumor had it that someone had been blown off the edge only a week before I was there). I appreciate the fact that 1 million visitors a day can do some damage to the cliff edge, so its environmentally useful to keep us away from the edge, but really, the cliffs just aren't as impressive when you can't stand right at the edge of them and look down. And by the way, that "Private Property - Do not enter" sign at the end of the official walkway really doesn't do much to keep anyone from going right past it! (but then again, if you're dumb enough to get so close to the edge that you do fall off, I think that's your fault, not that of the tourism staff!)

The round tower at the Rock of Cashel.

there are lots more photos, but I think that's enough for now... Happy Easter everyone!


The Knit Nurse said...

Glad you enjoyed your weekend away. I've never had problems spending Scottish money in Newcastle before. It's quite common. Can see why Irish money might be a little bit more unusual but it is legal tender. Think you need to be a bit more persistent.

Secret Pal said...

Weekend away looks good, have never been to Ireland but must go.

I've never had anyone refusing Scottish money in England (although I was on a bus when it happened to someone else), you just get made to feel like a criminal when they carefully check the notes. Very annoying, especially as no one does that with English notes in Scotland.