Chester and Brammal Hall

**This post was written on my old blog and I copied it over to here and made small edits**
2014
Chester
 
Chester was BEAUTIFUL! We only had about an hour or two there (I was with a friend), but I wish that I had more time there. I would definitely return back to Chester. There is a lot of Roman history there and the Tudor houses (which I didn’t have a chance to see), but what Chester is famous for.
A and I spent time walking around the city, as he had never been before and it was a recommendation from his mum. I discovered on this trip to Europe that though I am not religious, I am in love with cathedrals, churches, and their architecture.
Bramall Hall
 
Bramall Hall is a Tudor home (the type of design) that used to be owned by a wealthy family. I’m a really bad tourist and am unsure as to what exactly this hall was for, but Wikipedia has a history that indicates that this was a home for the Davenport family (landowners in NW England). We didn’t take a tour inside, but the grounds were gorgeous and so was the home! It is free to walk the grounds and there was a lot to see and quite a few tourists who had the same idea as us and were just wandering the grounds.
 
As I said in my posts on Ireland, this little day trip really prompted me to seriously consider a trip back to England to spend more time in the countryside, as I was off to London in the next few days and wouldn’t see much of the countryside!
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Manchester, England

**This post was written on my old blog and I copied it over to here and made small edits**
2014
Manchester was my least favorite city that I visited on my trip, despite the fact that I got to reunite with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. There is a lot of history and some fun museums, but the city itself was very dirty and very expensive. I did have a chance to visit cities around Manchester, and I enjoyed those cities a lot more! However, there was still a lot of beauty and fun to be had in Manchester.

My first red phone booth

I landed in Manchester early in the morning and went straight to by friend A’s house for a quick breakfast before I made him take me out on the town. I was determined to keep moving so as to keep avoiding jet lag. Our first stop was downtown Manchester, where we visited the Manchester Cathedral.

Manchester Cathedral

During one of the days of my stay, we visited the Trafford Center, which is a HUGE shopping mall. I took the below photo of the food court because I had never seen anything so extravagant in a shopping mall before.

Food court at Trafford Center

I honestly don’t have that much to say about Manchester itself, as I was not impressed. However, I do have more to say about my day trips around Manchester!

Blarney Castle

**This post was written on my old blog and I copied it over to here and made small edits**

2014

The scene from our rest stop at a petrol station

I took a day trip the day after I got to Dublin so that I could see Blarney Castle. The day trip consisted of Cobh (Cove), Cork, and Blarney Castle and was run through Paddy Tours. These areas are located about 2.5 – 3 hours away from Dublin, but the scenery was so beautiful, I didn’t mind and definitely encouraged me to return back to Ireland so that I can see more of this beautiful countryside.

 

Cobh

Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic, as well as the departure pont for Irish immigrants to America. They had a Titanic Museum, but we were only allotted an hour here, so I just walked to the top of a hill and wen
t into St. Colman’s Cathedral.
I had made friends with a small group of Americans on the bus ride over, so I wandered to the top of the hill with them. When we got inside, there was a group of children practicing for their First Communion. They didn’t seem to be bothered by us wandering around while they were practicing singing.
Cork
 
There was not much to do in Cork other than shop, but it was such a cute little town and we had lunch in the English Market. There were so many choices, but I settled on a sandwich and finished with ice cream. Again, we were only slotted an hour here to explore, so I could be wrong that there was nothing to do other than shop, so I believe that I need to return to Cork to give it another chance.

Main Road in Cork and English Market

Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle was STUNNING. We were allotted 2 hours here, but I think I needed half an hour more. I kissed the Blarney Stone. The experience was great and I’m glad I did it, but it was totally not what I expected and was really anti-climactic. I think that it is an activity that every tourist should do once, even though the thought of it is kind of gross and it is very cliche.
The ground of Blarney Castle were so beautiful and I was lucky enough to visit on a clear, summer day. It did not rain and there were not too many people there. I was able to see most of the grounds, even in those 2 hours given to us. The views from the top of the castle were breathtaking.

 

 

 

The Blarney trip was one of my favorite parts of my time in Ireland. I think if I return to Ireland, I want to spend more time in the countryside, because it is so beautiful and so luscious. I’m not sure that I have ever seen grasses so green or skies with such picture-like clouds, but Ireland is one of the places I have been that looks just like it does in the postcard.

Dublin

**This post was written on my old blog and I copied it over to here and made small edits**
Dublin City 2014
 
Dublin was my first and last stop on my trip. When I first arrived, it was gloomy, but the city is small and absolutely walkable and I loved that aspect of it. Also, the Irish are SO friendly.
I arrived on a Tuesday morning around 9 am and went straight to my hostel. Being as this was my first overseas trip, I was trying to fight jet lag as best as possible. I dropped off my bags at Generator hostel and headed out to Dublin Castle for some exploring and some lunch.

Lunch at Dublin Castle

My next trip was over to the Guinness Storehouse, a must for any beer lover who stops over in Dublin! The experience was great – it was interesting to learn about the process of making Guinness and to learn a bit about its history. The best part of the tour though is the Guinness at the end. I chose to head up to the 360-degree bar at the top of the storehouse and have the staff pour the beer for me. Next time, I would pour my own beer (for that experience) and head up to the bar.

Out front the Guinness Storehouse

Enjoying a brew in the 360 bar atop Guinness Storehouse

The next few days of my trip were spent wandering around Dublin and exploring the history, architecture, and being a total tourist. I visited Kilmainham Gaol and learned that prisons really freak me out, even if they are well lit and there are loads of people around. I visited Dublin Zoo, hit up Temple Bar, and found a delicious vegetarian restaurant in the Temple Bar district that I enjoyed so much, I went twice!

River Liffey

Kilmainham Gaol

I spent my first 3 days in Europe in Dublin and then headed on to England and Germany. It was cheapest for me to fly back home from Dublin, so I returned for a day at the end of my trip. I spent the day exploring things I missed during my first few days, such as Christchurch (and its Saturday market) and even wandered upon an LBGTQ Chorus Festival held in Dublin City Hall!

Christchurch Cathedral and Market

“Various Voices” performs at Dublin City Hall

I loved Ireland, but I wish I saw more of the countryside. I think that that is on the menu for my next trip back!