We started our day in Iceland and a 2 hour flight later we were in Dublin. Another 30 minute bus ride and we were finally at our hotel. Thankfully we were able to check in immediately and dump our bags in our room and out the door. Rule #1 of international travel is to keep going even if you are exhausted! We walked to McDonald’s for a quick lunch and on to a Hop On Hop Off tour. These tours are like most of the HOHO tours. The guide had interesting jokes and some history. We stopped at Guinness Storehouse and Brewery Tour. Thanks to our Dublin Pass, we walked right in…the line was crazy long. Yay Dublin Pass! The tour was interesting, we learned a few things about beer and ended up at the top floor Gravity Bar for our free beer (or soda). I went for soda, Eric had the beer.
After that we finished the hop on hop off tour and had a quick dinner before crashing for the night.
August 10 – College, Cathedrals, Vikings and a Castle
We slept in a bit and went to Starbucks for breakfast. Our first order of the day was packet pick up at the Expo at Trinity College. Trinity was a very cool campus. We walked through the campus The Expo wasn’t really an expo like we are used to but it was quick to pick up our stuff for the race. I bought new backpack…just want I need, another bag. But it is so cool, haha. We dumped our stuff and did more touring. We started at the St. Patrick's Cathedral, then to Christ Church Cathedral, Dublina (Viking Exhibit) and Dublin Castle. We eat lunch at a local pub. I had a flat iron steak, it was delicious. The potatoes were very oniony, yikes! We swing by the Ha Penny Bridge o our way back to our hotel. Another fun filled day
August 11 – Rock of Cashel, Cork City & Kissing the Blarney Stone
We had an early morning wake up call for our first bus tour of the trip. We had a great tour guide/bus driver. It was a long drive to the first stop at Rock of Cashel. It was an interesting stop but we could get inside. We had a quick lunch in Cork before the boarding the bus for the highlight of the tour, Blarney Castle. The day was cloudy the whole day but really didn’t rain until we got Blarney Castle. We immediately stood in line for the climb to the top of the castle so we can kiss the Stone. It was a very tight spiral staircase. Shirley and Betty, our new friends from California, were in front of us. They were so cute. They were in the upper 70s and had some issues climbing the steps. We finally get to the top and it starts pouring. Yep, we kissed the stone in the pouring rain. Ick! I didn’t actually kiss it, I just acted like I did. After we climbed down we walked around the grounds before boarding the bus back to Dublin. Another long ride. We didn’t get back until 8:30. We stopped at Ray’s Pizza, a local place for a thin crust pizza…a pre-race tradition.
August 12 – Running Hills, Eating in Church and Stephen's Green Park
Another early morning wake up call for our half marathon. I had a few bathroom issues but thankfully I got it resolved before the race (the port-a-potties didn’t have toilet paper!). I went into the medic tent for some tissue…thank God they had a big roll of tissue! I started near the back like always. The start was very slow like normal for Rock n Roll races. This race had mega hills. It sucked and my time was terrible but I didn’t care, I had fun. After finishing, getting a ton of food from the volunteers, a new finisher long sleeve shirt we waited an hour for a tram to our hotel. We met a nice couple from Philly. They actually invited us to stay with them when we come out to run Philly. We aren’t but that was cool. We took quick showers and ventured to The Church for a late lunch. Eric had Irish Stew and I had the roast beef dinner. We had a nice conversation with the people sitting next to us. They were from Austria. We went from there to Stephen’s Green Park to check out the beautiful green space of the city.
August 13 – More Castles and Cliffs
The last bus tour of our trip was way longer than the first. We had a driver and tour guide for this trip. I can see why because the roads were crazy narrow. Our trip didn’t start out great…our bus driver backed into a car. That was at least a 30 minute delay. We stopped at a Castle, went to see some baby cliffs and the best thing of the entire trip, the Cliffs of Moher. They were amazing. I would say these are a must see and if I had to chose between that and the Blarney stone, the Cliffs win hands down. We had another late return to our hotel. I quickly packed our bags and went to bed…another early morning wake up call to catch our flight.
Ireland was amazing!