Ireland, days 13-14: Galway to Dublin and the end of the holiday

On the morning of Thursday 20 June, we checked out of our hotel and set off in the rental car for the last time. Destination: Dublin.

On the way we stopped in Athenry. Sadly, I didn’t see any fields there, otherwise I would definitely have taken a photo for the sole purpose of labelling it “The Fields of Athenry”.

A building in Athenry
A building in Athenry

Apart from the well-known song, Athenry’s main claim to fame is that it’s one of the most notable medieval walled towns surviving in Ireland. Our first stop was at St Mary’s Church, which is now Athenry Heritage Centre.

St Mary's, Athenry
St Mary’s, Athenry
St Mary's Church/Athenry Heritage Centre
St Mary’s Church/Athenry Heritage Centre

There was a school group there when we arrived, but we were told if we came back at 12 we could do the tour/experience thingy. That would have involved being given a history of Athenry, dressing up in medieval clothes and having a go at archery. We decided against it as the time on the car ran out at 12 and we also wanted to be in Dublin relatively early as we were meeting K’s dad there, so after we’d taken a few photos, we moved on to the castle.

Athenry Castle
Athenry Castle

The guided tour was ok, but not the most informative of the trip. The guide mentioned something about a dissertation though, so I suppose he was still learning. The audio visual show he switched on for us after the tour had some absolutely stunning photos from around Ireland – it made me wish we were staying longer so I could track down some of the castles and ruined abbeys. But whoever did the speaking was totally overdramatic. It was all a bit odd!

After the castle, we walked across a little park to take a look at Athenry Priory.

Athenry Priory
Athenry Priory

Athenry Priory 2

With the time on the car almost up, we decided it was time to continue our drive, so off we went, not stopping again until we reached Dublin.After dropping off two members of the group at Temple Bar – K to meet her dad and P because he was staying in a hostel near there – the remaining three of us headed to Rathmines Travelodge, where we were staying, to check in and drop off the bags. It was pretty decent for a Travelodge, I must say! Then Jan drove off to the airport to drop off the car while A and I went for a walk into town. We stopped at a small cafe on the way, where I wrote a postcard, then Jan told us he would be at the Spire at 5 so we let the others know then strolled over to O’Connell street. In the two weeks since we’d been there last, Dublin had become noticeably more crowded – it was easy to tell the real high season for tourists was now on its way! After meeting up with the others, we walked around a bit, did some window shopping (I was very good and did not buy anything in the second hand bookshop we went to!) it was off to the pub to meet K’s dad and eat our last evening meal in Ireland. The pub was Sweetman’s and is worth a visit!

Charlie relaxes in the pub
Charlie relaxes in the pub

The next morning we had breakfast at Travelodge (described as an all-you-can-eat continental breakfast, it consisted of various cereals, some roll things with chocolate chips in, fruit, yoghurts,, various jams and toast, as well as tea, coffee, apple juice, orange juice and milk to drink. Not bad for the price) then headed into town for souvenir shopping. I bought a fridge magnet for my mum and we met a leprechaun! He told us he was born in Germany but moved to the US when he was 8 and considers himself American. He had been in Ireland for 3 years now after meeting and marrying an Irish girl (who turned him into a leprechaun), and the two of them now have a little pot of gold. Everyone say awww!

Charlie meets a leprechaun!
Charlie meets a leprechaun!

We then decided to split up, with the other two going to buy more gifts for people while Jan and I found a cafe where he could write his postcards. We ended up at Cafe Oya, which was very cute! I ordered my last cup of tea with milk for a while… no point in even trying that in Germany! (Tea with coffee creamer is just plain wrong!)

Strawberry cheesecake and tea... with milk!
Strawberry cheesecake and tea… with milk!

At 2pm, we met up again, collected our luggage from Travelodge and took the bus into town, where we caught the airport express from O’Connell Street. Our flight ended up being delayed by an hour, which gave me time to purchase – and eat – one last packet of yummy crisps, then it was off back to Germany. Two weeks in Ireland had flown by! I don’t know about the others, but I had an amazing time and I hope I make it back there some day.

And that’s the end of my series on what we did in Ireland. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it! Next up on Confuzzledom: a post about biscuits and yet more on my travels… this time within Germany. Stay tuned!

The rain never stops in Gross Britannien

I’m annoyed this morning. When I went to make my breakfast I found that nobody had set the dishwasher away last night and there were no knives in the drawer. I had to wash one before I could butter my toast. Grr. I supopose things like that are to be expected when you live with so many people (16 of us on my floor, and we have less becasue the caretaker has one corridor) but it’s happening a little too often lately. I object to having to wash the dishes before I’ve even started cooking!

I think I must have complained too loudly about being hot yesterday after all – it’s raining now.
Whenever I complain about the rain here some “Hilarious” German feels the need to say “but shouldn’t you be used to this, coming from England?” or “doesn’t this weather make you feel at home then?”. Do you think they’ve noticed that Great Britain is an island. It’s surrounded by sea. If it really rained as much as people here seem to think we’d have been washed away by now!

Here are some other stereotypes that the Germany have about English people:

  • British people can’t cook. We also don’t know what spice is for, so all our food is boring and bland.
  • We’re obsessed with “peppermint” sauce and eat it with everything.
  • We have ham and eggs for breakfast every morning (I blame the school text books for this one… especially the “ham” part. Would it really so difficult for the kids to remember the word bacon??)
  • We eat fish and chips all the time. With lots of vinegar, which makes them taste disgusting. (Actually if we used the kind of vinegar they’re thinking of it probably would taste disgusting. They don’t seem to do malt vinegar here…)
  • We drink lots of tea, all the time. Several hundred cups a day. And we put milk in it. (This one’s partially true. I know people that actually do drink (what seems like) hundreds of cups of tea every day. But try getting a German to believe that not every English person likes tea…)
  • We’re crap at football (actually I can see why they think that. Which team isn’t in the European cup this year again? That’d be England I believe…)
  • All English people have ginger hair, pale skin and freckles. (I actually almost fit this stereotype – I have pale skin and freckles and my hair is reddish, but not ginger)

That’s all I can think of right now, and I have to get ready for work anyway. If anyone would like to add any more stereotypes to the list please comment. Maybe some stereotypes that people in countries other than Germany have about us? (And any Germans reading this please don’t take offence. It’s just for fun! I actually really like Germans and love living in Germany.)