11th December: Lasting Memories – II

Welcome back to the second post of my crazy weekend. After I told you about the parts with Max in yesterdays post, I will tell you today about my time with Mäthi and Anne.
Since Max had an accident on Friday, I couldn’t meet Mäthi and Anne on Friday.

On Saturday, 24th September I went to see Max, but the visiting hours wouldn’t start until 2pm so I made plans with Mäthi and Anne instead.
Around 11.15am I took the Tube to London Bridge Station and walked from there to the Tower of London.

My way lead me over the London Bridge which is quite young, despite the fact that on this place the first ever bridge over the Thames was once built. This was replaced and later pulled down by a Danish prince in a battle in 1014. This historic event is kept in memory by the children rhyme ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’. In medieval times the fifth and most famous London Bridge was built. It lasted for 600 years and is the longest inhabited Bridge in Europe. In 1841 this Bridge had to be replaced and Rennie’s London Bridge was built. This Bridge was sold to an American in 1968 and rebuilt in Arizona, USA. On 17th March 1973 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the 7th Bridge, which is still there today.

As I arrived at the Tower of London at 11.45am, I had to wait for a few minutes and took a look around the Tower. The complex of 21 Towers was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 as the new palace. Since 1100 it was used as a prison and is now a museum where the priceless Crown Jewels are displayed.

When Mäthi, Anne and I finally met I was so excited and first hugged them for a minute! After being separated for nearly 2 months, I was more than happy to finally have my best friend back!
We then went on our way to the Tower Bridge. Since they had a double booking on their tickets for the Tower Bridge they had a spare one which I could use. We first started in the North Tower and were brought up by a lift. From there we came to the Walkways where you walk from one Tower to the other. The Walkways are 42m above the river and 60m long. In 1910 the Walkways were closed to be reopened in 1982 for the Tower Bridge exhibition which you can still see.

From up there you have a wonderful view over London.While we walked down the western Walkway we could see 30 St. Mary Axe, which is also called The Gherkin, the Cheese Grater and the Walkie Talkie on the North side of the Thames. On the South side of the Thames we were able to spot the Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, and the London City Hall, which is directly next to the South Tower of the Bridge. The City Hall is the working place of the Mayor of London and offers a nice view over London from its viewing platform on the top.

When we arrived at the South Tower we walked down the East Walkway. The most special thing about the Walkways is not the view to the side, but rather the one you get when you look down. Thanks to glass floor in the Walkways you are able to look down on the Bridge and see all the cars and red London buses crossing over the Bridge.

Back in the South Tower we walked through the exhibition on the top and lower level. In the exhibition they showed a film on how the bridge was built and all interesting facts about it. The Bridge is 244m long and constructions started in 1886. After eight years the Tower Bridge was finally finished and was opened on 30th June 1894. Back then it was the largest and most sophisticated bascule Bridge. In 1952 a double-decker bus was just crossing the Bridge when suddenly the north bascule started to rise. The bus then dropped the 6ft gab onto the south bascule, which was slower to lift.
From the lower level we took a lift down to the ground level again.

The last stop of our trip to the Tower Bridge was the Engine Rooms. Because they are at the south bank of the Bridge, we had to leave the Tower and walk the short walk to the Engine Rooms. Inside was an exhibition about the Engines that lift the bascules every time a ship has to pass trough. The bascules are operated by hydraulic and when the Bridge was first constructed they used steam to power the pumping engines. This power is stored in six accumulators to be available at any time. Nowadays the bascules are still operated by hydraulic, but instead of steam they rather use oil and electricity.
Seeing the Engines was really impressive, because they’re so big.

At 1.30pm we finished our tour through the Tower Bridge and walked back to London Bridge were we then said goodbye until later.

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London Bridge

Read here what I’ve done in the time between then and later, when we met again.
After I was finished in Notting Hill, I took the Tube at Notting Hill Gate to get to King’s Cross/St. Pancras Station, where I would meet Mäthi and Anne again.
Since it took me quite a while, they already went to Pizza Express to start their dinner. When I arrived there at 10pm I just had a starter and we talked about our plans for the next day. We decided that we want to go on the London Eye together and booked the tickets there and then online.

At 11pm we went on our way home and while they just had to walk for a few minutes, I had a one hour journey again. When I arrived home at 12am, I was surprised to see a small package for me and obviously opened it immediately. The package was from my host fathers’ mother from Ireland. She remembered that I tried to get some Aran knitting patterns for my mum, but couldn’t find any, so she send me three patterns with a short note. I’m really thankful that she went out of her way to get the patterns for my mum and send them to me!

Because I had already other plans for Sunday morning and went back to the hospital to see Max, I only met Mäthi and Anne in the evening.
As we planned to visit the London Eye we agreed to meet at the Eye around 6.30pm. Since we had bought the tickets the night before we could just enter to watch the film about the London Eye, before we would go on the London Eye itself.

As we had the Flexi Fast Track Tickets, we were allowed to show up at any time during the day and when we were there, we could skip the main part of the queue. Thanks to this combo ticket we were able to enter the London Eye just 5 minutes after the sunset had started. It’s the perfect time to be on there, since you get to see everything while it’s still bright enough. But then you get all the nice colours of the sun setting and in the end London by night.

The London Eye is the tallest ferris or observation wheel in Europe and was originally built to celebrate the new Millennium and was formerly opened on 31st December 1999, by Prime Minister Tony Blair. It is 135m high and has 32 capsules, which each holds 25 people. The number of the capsules is no coincidence but is on purpose as they each represent one of London’s boroughs. When the wheel gets going it doesn’t stop for the people to get on (only for disabled or elderly people), since it’s only moving 26cm per second.

Each rotation takes 30 minutes and therefore we were finished with the nice experience around 7.25pm. Because we all were hungry and hadn’t had dinner yet, we decided to walk to Leicester Square to find somewhere to eat.
When we arrived at 8pm, we chose a nice pizzeria and enjoyed the last two hours together.
At 10pm we had to say goodbye, since they were flying back to Germany the next day.
We went to the Leicester Square Tube Station, where I then ended my weekend, which had started so dramatically at exactly the same spot.

Even though it was only a short weekend and I couldn’t do as much with them as I hoped I could, I still enjoyed my time with them.
But the most important thing is that they came to visit me and I got to see them again!
Thank you for visiting and I hope you had a great time!

Looking forward to see the next visitors,
Vicky! Xx

9th December: Uphill and Downhill

Lincoln is the county Town of Lincolnshire and a cathedral city. The first Iron Age settlement developed into the roman town of Lindum Colonia and from there to the city of today.

After I’ve arrived the day before, Andrew and I went to Lincoln on Sunday, 23th October, so he can show me the historic city.
There is a lot to see in Lincoln, including the English gothic Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace and the Medieval Castle.

When we arrived at 11am, we first went to see the Lincoln Cathedral, otherwise also known as the “Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln”.
The Cathedral first has been completed in 1092, but had to be rebuilt two times after a fire and then after an earthquake in 1185. With each rebuilding it had been enlarged to the East and after the last rebuilding the crossing tower was with his 160m the highest in the world for about 238 years (1311-1549). But the Central spire collapsed in 1549 and hasn’t been rebuilt.

With the Cathedral being the seat of the Anglican bishop, the diocese Lincoln is the largest in England.
In the late 12th Century the Bishop’s Palace has been built by Hugh of Lincoln and was used as the administrative Center.
The East Hall of the Palace ranged over a vaulted under-croft and is because of that the earliest surviving example of roofed domestic halls. The Chapel range and Entrance Tower were built by Bishop William of Alnwisk, when he modernised the place in the 1430s.
Sadly we couldn’t see as much of it anymore since it has been sacked by royalist troops in the civil war of 1648.

I still enjoyed walking through the ruins of the Palace. Andrew even bought an entrance ticket for me so I could actually see everything and learn about it from the audio guide. The best thing was the view over the downhill part of Lincoln from the Garden.
In the Palace’s Garden is a nice vineyard, which was a present of Lincolns twin town Neustadt an der Weinstraße in Germany. Since Neustadt is Germany’s largest wine-making municipality, it was obvius for them to give Lincoln 300 vine plants for the 900th anniversary of Lincoln Cathedral in 1972.

After we’ve seen everything of the Bishop’s Palace, Andrew showed me a narrow pedestrian street called Steep Hill. Because Lincoln is located in a gap in the Lincoln Cliff, it is unofficially divided into two zones: “Uphill” and “Downhill”. Uphill is the northern part of the city, which is on top of the cliff, 72.8 metres above sea level and consists of the historical quarter with the Cathedral, Castle and Bishop’s Place. Downhill is Lincolns city Center and lies in the gap. Steep hill is the street that connects both parts together and passes through an archway named “Stonebow”.

Because of the gradient of the Hill (14% at its steepest point), there are no cars allowed. Not only wouldn’t they be able to drive up, but the street is too narrow for them too.
The shops down steep hill are all local Shops and tea rooms who offer a break from the hard ascend.
When we came to the steepest bit of the street, we turned around and walked back to the Bail (the Cathedral Quarter). From there we went to see the Castle.

Built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, the Norman Castle is quite an unusual castle with his two mattes, it is just one out of two in the whole country.
The Castle is still in use today. The 1845 built ivy-clad building at the eastern end of the Castle was built as the Assize Courts and is still used nowadays as Lincolns Crown Courts.

In 1847 a Victorian gaol was built and used until the inmates were transferred to the new gaol in the eastern outskirts of Lincoln in 1878 and then unused until the Lincolnshire archives were moved there. The gaol was a three storey stone building, which was connected to the 1787 built Governor’s House through a single storey prison Chapel. The Victorian gaol was designed for the “separate system”, just like the Kilmainhan Gaol in Dublin (see this post: Going to Jail)

Most of the Castle is open for the public as a Museum. It is even possible to walk around the immense Norman Walls, which offer a panoramic view over the Castle grounds and Lincoln. On the Castle Grounds is a board with a miniature version of the Castle and a timeline of the Castles history:

1068William the Conqueror builds a castle at Lincoln as part of his strategy to subdue the Region.
1141Battle of Lincoln, ‘The Joust’: King Stephen is taken prisoner here during the upheaval of civil war.
1215Magna Carta is publicly Road out at the Sheriff’s court at Lincoln Castle.
1217‘Battle of Lincoln Fair’: King Henry III’s army defeats the Rebel barons and their French allies.
1217King Henry III issues the Charter of the Forest and sends a copy to Lincoln Cathedral.
1644English Civil War: Parliamentarians capture the castle held by Royalists.
1788A new and improved Georgian gaol is built to imprison debtors and criminals in the castle.
1848-1878The Victorian Prison, designed for the ‘separate system’ of solitary confinement, functions for 30 years.
1884A new era: Lincoln Castle opens its gates to visitors to enjoy the grounds and the Castle.

Another historical part of the Castle is the Magna Carta Libertatum, or “the great Charter of the Liberties”. Sealed by King John and the Barons at Rannymede in 1215, it was supposed to make peace between the unpopular King and the rebel Barons. But soon after it was annulled by Pope Innocent III, because both parties didn’t follow the rules.
These included protection of church rights, protection for Barons from illegal imprisonment and limitations on feudal payments to the crown.

Because the Lincoln Bishop Hugh of Wells was one of the signatories, the Magna Carta could survive for hundreds of years in the Lincoln Cathedral. With this original being only one out of four surviving, it is now displayed in the Castle Museum.
But we didn’t went inside the Castle, didn’t walked around the wall, nor did we went to see the Magna Carta. Instead we just walked through the castle grounds and then back to the car. Next stop was the groceries store and then we drove back home to a relaxing day in front of the TV.

The next Time I went to Lincoln, I went with Julie. Around 3pm on Friday, 28th October, we got on our way to Lincoln. When we arrived we sauntered down the Steep Hill, passed through the Stonebow until we were on the Lincoln shopping street at 4.30pm
After another 30 minutes we decided to separate for a bit and I went to Paperchase. Because I really like the store and try to see everything they have, it didn’t surprise me that I actually spent another 30 minutes in there.

When we met again at 5.30pm, we stopped at Starbucks for a quick coffee break and then walked all the way back. Which is easier said than done. Completely out of breath, we reached the top 15 minutes later.
After a short detour to the Cathedral to take in the view by night, we were back at the car at 6pm and finally got on our way home, thanks to the Steep Hill, it was an exhausting day.

The third and last time I went I Lincoln was also my last weekend in Lincolnshire.
On Saturday, 12th November, Andrew, Julie, Ruth (their youngest daughter) and I went to Lincoln, to buy Birthday presents for Ruth. When we arrived around 12.15pm Andrew parked the car further down, so we wouldn’t need to walk the Steep Hill up and down.

While the others were trying to get all the presents, I was able to walk around the shopping street on my own. After a stop at Paperchase and Waterstones, I went back to meet the others and accompanied Andrew in buying a secret birthday present.
After we accomplished this task we all met up again and went back to the car to then drive to the supermarket to go groceries shoppen.
Around 4pm we finally were back home and I started to bake a pre-birthday cake for Ruth, which then was the dessert for after dinner.

The nice thing about Lincoln is that it reminds me of my hometown quite a bit. With all the old buildings and narrow streets. It definitely has its charm and I look forward to going there again some day.

See you tomorrow for the 10th post of my 24 Days to Christmas Series!

Love,
Vicky! Xx

7th December: Enjoy every moment!

Before I left my ex host family, I tried to spent as much time as possible out of the house, especially on the weekends. The last weekend with them wasn’t an exception.
Since I were moving out on Wednesday 19th October, the 14th was my last Friday in North Finchley. I hadn’t found my new family yet and therefore decided to just go out with my friends one last time to say ‘goodbye’, because I didn’t know if I’ll be coming back to the north of London.

So Amelie and I made a reservation for a table in a nice italian restaurant in North Finchley called Il Tocco D’Artista, where we then met at 8pm.
Because I always order a pizza, I decided to for once order pasta instead. It was really delicious with scampis on top, even though there could’ve been more scampis.

In my eyes a lot of the charm of the restaurant is due to one person: Giovanni. He’s an italian guy, who also lived in Germany for a while and now lives here in England. He is really funny and outgoing and just knows how to charme his customers. Since he lived in Germany, he can speak a bit of german. We obviously took advantage of that and talked a bit german with him, but sooner rather than later changed back to english, because his german is a bit rusty.

We were all in a really good mood and even started singing quite loudly, to the annoyance of other people in the restaurant, but it was fine. We were soon joined by Benedetta and Enrico from our language school. Since it got quite late and the people from D’Artista wanted to close, we decided to go to a local pub for a drink, before we all head home. When we then arrived in front of the pub, we were reminded that a lot of pubs in England still close quite early, because they wouldn’t let us in anymore.

By then it was already after midnight and we all were quite tired so we decided to all go home. We all were home around 1am, time to sleep.

The next morning I stayed in bed until 12pm and then got up and ready to leave the house at 1pm. Farina, Amelie, Marieke and I decided to spend the Saturday afternoon in Camden Town to visit the Camden Market. We arrived at 1.30pm and walked from the Tube Station to the Market itself.

When we were at the market we just went inside and looked around. There are really nice things to see and a lot handcrafted or vintage things. It’s really charming in there, but obviously a tourist trap. Sometimes you would actually get a good deal and sometimes you just have to accept the tourism prices and pay a bit more than necessary.

It’s really hard to say where at the market you’re at, because it’s full of nooks and you see something and go there to explore it further and suddenly you’re in a new part of the market. Luckily Farina knew her way around Camden Market and could lead us to all the good places.
After we went through the Stables Market, we bought dutch pancakes as a lunch snack at one of the overpriced snack trolleys.

Next stop was a store called Cyberdog, which is a weird but fancy store. Everything in there is neon and clothes that are not neon have lightning effects. But you can buy everything shrill and dazzling in there. All in all its a store who sells futuristic fashion, clubwear, rave and urban fashion and all the accessories you need.

After Cyberdog we went to the Camden Food Market. One food stall is next to the other and you can try food from all around the world. There are so many different things that we had a really hard time to decide where to buy something. Especially for “Hipsta-eater”, people who try all the new weird food things coming up, this is the place to be. But also people like me, who prefer things they already know, have a lot to choose from.

Since Marieke had to go back home, it was just Amelie, Farina and I, who had to find something to eat. After 30 minutes we finally managed to all find something and even find a place to sit (very rare at Camden Market). When everything was eaten up, we took a last stroll around Camden Market, but this time preferably in a  covered part of the Market since it started to rain.

With it getting later and later and the rain getting worse, we finally decided to head home after a long day. Around 7.20pm I was finally back home and just relaxed for the rest of the night.

I still hadn’t started packing my things on Sunday. While the other girls went to an Au Pair meeting, I said I would stay home, because I have to pack. But I’m a master of procrastination so I always found better things to do. Instead of packing I then went out to the High Street to meet a potentially new host mum. She invited me to a Cafe Latte and a croissant to Caffè Nero where we talked a bit to get to know each other.

Even though she and her daughter sounded lovely, I was quite hesitant to say yes. She then offered me a trial week, which means I would move in with her on Wednesday and stay for the week, work for her and see how it goes, but still be allowed to talk to other families. If I like it and she likes me, we would then just agree to me staying permanently. I was really motivated when I got home, because I finally knew that I most likely have a place to stay after Wednesday. Needless to say that it didn’t turned out like this. Sadly she changed her mind on Monday, but I can understand that it wouldn’t have been good for the daughter to get used to someone who might leave again.

Anyway, when I was back home I put my procrastination skills to use again and did everything else instead of packing. Seems like I have to do that on Monday and Tuesday then.
I actually managed to pack all my stuff just in the two days time, even though I had to work and it really was a pain, but my mum helped me on the phone and I’m still thankful for that!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you how I managed to move around London until I had a proper place to stay.
Have a good day!

Love,
Vicky! Xx

5th December: Welcome to my Palace

Being in London with the name Viktoria Elisabeth, there is just one place for me to visit: Buckingham Palace!

So Amelie and I went to see Buckingham Palace on the fine Sunday afternoon of the 18th September. Since the sister of my host mum came to visit with her family the day before, I stayed home until they left, so I can spend a bit more time with her daughters.
At 1pm they then left and I got ready so I could take the replacement bus, because they once again were working on the rail track.
Due to traffic it took 45 minutes to get to Archway, so I then could take the tube to Victoria Station at 2.15pm. At 2.40pm I arrived and met Amelie, who went to the city a few hours before me. Together we walked to the Buckingham Palace Ticket shop and bought tickets for the next available tour at 4pm.

Because we had to wait for a bit, we went to the front of the Palace and took our obligatory pictures from the Buckingham Palace and the Queen Victoria Memorial.
With more time to spare, we went through some of the souvenir shops close to Buckingham Palace until it was finally time to que up to enter the Palace.
But before we were finally able to go in, we had to go through a security check.

Inside they offered us free audio guides, which we obviously took. We then finally could start our tour. Because we both had an audio guide to listen to, we didn’t really talk much, but rather enjoy the view. Sadly you’re not allowed to take pictures inside the palace.

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of Kings and Queens of Great Britain since Queen Victoria was the first to move in, in July 1837.
It has 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 98 bathrooms and a chapel, postoffice and cinema.
After Queen Victoria moved in she built the 4th wing of the palace and thereby created the quadrangle. The forecourt, where the Changing of the Guard takes place, has been formed in 1911.

Amelie and I choose to visit the Palace on this certain date, because we also wanted to see a special exhibition which was held inside the palace from the 23rd July till the 2nd October 2016. Celebrating the Queen’s 90th Birthday, the Royal Collection Trust opened three exhibitions this year. Under the name of ‘Fashioning A Reign: 90 Years of Style from the Queen’s Wardrobe’ they showcased clothes, the Queen once had worn, in three different locations.

The exhibition was really impressive, because they presented clothes from every decade of her life. But the eye catcher surely were the Queen’s Wedding dress and her Coronation dress. One dress was more beautiful than the other. Both dresses had nice and very detailed beading and don’t get me started on the matching veils.

The only disadvantage of the exhibition was that we lost quite a lot time there. At 5.30pm they closed the exhibition and rushed us out of there, but told us that the Palace also will close in just 30 minutes time. So we then had to quickly walk trough the remaining rooms, which was quite sad because these were the State Rooms and therefore the most interesting ones, including the red themed Throne Room.

Luckily we finished our tour just at 6pm when the palace closed its doors. But we still could stay a bit in the Buckingham Palace Gardens and go through the Souvenir shop, where I purchased a nice bookmark.
To exit the Palace Grounds you have to walk through the Garden. On the way out you can get a stamp on your ticket, which you had to sign first. With this you ask them to treat your ticket purchase as a donation so they can claim Gift Aid tax relief on ones payment. In return they turn your ticket in a 1-year pass, which gives you 12 months’ complimentary admission to the Palace.

We then finally left the Palace Grounds and went to the Tube Station to drive home, where we arrived at 8.20pm. On our way there we went past The Bomber Command Memorial. It was unveiled by the Queen on 28th June in 2012.
The Bomber Command was formed in 1936 in played a critical role from the beginning of World War 2. All the 125.000 men were volunteers from all parts of the Commonwealth and Great Britain and nearly half of them lost their lives. Also the majority of them were still in their late teens.
“The fighters are our salvation but the bombers alone provide the means of victory.”
This quote by Winston Churchill is engraved on the left side wall of the Memorial. On the right side is the dedication of the Memorial inscripted:
“This Memorial is dedicated to the 55.373 airmen from the United Kingdom, British Commonwealth and Allied nations who served in RAF Bomber Command and lost their lives over the course of the Second World War.”
In the middle is the Sculpture of seven Statues representing the Bomber Command aircrew, consisting of the Navigator, Flight Engineer, Mid-Upper Gunner, Pilot, Bomb Aimer, Rear Gunner and Wireless Operator (from left to right).
Behind them, above the columns is the Message of reconciliation inscripted:
“This Memorial also commemorates those of all nations who lost their lives in the bombing of 1939-1945”

A few weeks and more friends later, I once again went out to do a bit of sightseeing. But first I went to Parsons Green, a part of Fulham, to visit a potentially new host family. They asked me to come by at 1pm for 30 minutes, but I then stayed a bit longer and only went back to the Station at 2.20pm. Even though I really liked the family, they turned me down two days later.
Not knowing any of that yet, I went motivated to Hyde Park to join my friends who had met a bit earlier. Together we went 30 minutes through the nice Hyde Park, past some nice art works, to the Peter Pan Statue. When we arrived there it started to drizzle and when we arrived at The Italian Gardens, it was full on raining, so we took shelter and waited for the rain to pass.

After we could finally move on, we went to a McDonald’s for a lunch break. Since we were close to the Paddington Station we decided to go there to see if we can find the Paddington Bear Statue.
Afterwards we went back to Hyde Park and walked all the way to Speakers Corner, the famous place where everyone can held a speech. There were even a few people holding a speach, but we didn’t listen to any of them.

Because it was already quite late, we left Hyde Park on this corner and went past the Marble Arch on Oxford Street.
Built in 1828 it was the main entrance to Buckingham Palace. Since it was too narrow for  the Queen’s coach, it had to be removed to its current location in 1851. It was then used as a police station until 1950.
Because it was once a Royal Gateway, it’s officially illegal to pass through the Marble Arch when you’re not part of the Royal Family or Royal Guards. But we did anyway.

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Marble Arch, the Royal Gateway

On Oxford Street we walked down to the other end and took the Tube at Tottenham Court Road Station so we all were back home at 7.45pm.

Hope you liked todays post and come back tomorrow for another part of the Christmas special.

Her Majesty
Queen Viktoria Elisabeth! Xx

There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were! 🍀

Okay folks, let’s face it…After my week in Ireland I got to know the Irish people a bit and I wish I could be a bit Irish. No matter what, they always seem to have their fun and are so friendly, welcoming people.

But before we went back to London we had another stop planned. So we left Tralee at 10am on Friday morning to drive to Kilkenny. After we had arrived we went for a small lunch and then my family and I went separate ways until 5.30pm. They went to visit part of their family, while I got free time to once again explore the city as every tourist would.

So at 2.20pm I started my way and tried to find the Tourist Information Office first so I would get access to a city map. The Kilkenny Tourist Information Office is really nice, not only do they provide a lot of free information about Kilkenny, but also about Ireland in general.
After I found two really good Guide Maps about Kilkenny, I sat down and planned a route through the city so I could see as much as possible in the short time.

The Tourist Information Office is inside the Shee Alms House on Rose Inn Street. It was founded in 1582 by Sir Richard Shee and is one of the few remaining Tudor Alms houses in Ireland. Their purpose was to take care of the poor providing bed and board of work. Since 1978 it is in possession of the Kilkenny Corporation.

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The Tourist Information Office inside Shee Alms House

From the Rose Inn Street I turned on the High Street, where I went to see the Bookcentre, the Sweater shop and the Market Cross Shopping Centre. Opposite the Shopping centre is the Tholsel Town Hall. After its construction in 1761 it served as custom house, guildhall, courthouse and is now the seat of the local government and tax collection. Its name comes from the old English words ‘toll‘ (tax) and ‘sael‘ (hall). Especially busking musicians and street art exhibitor favor this place.

I then turned onto Jame’s Street to visit St Mary’s Cathedral, which was built between 1843 and 1857 by William Deane Butler based on the design of Gloucester Cathedral. The 186-feet cut-limestone structure has not only a massive Gothic façade, but also an Italian marble high altar, relics of St Cosmos and St Damien and Benzoni’s statue of Our Lady to show off.

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St Mary’s Cathedral

The next stop should have been the Black Abbey, but I get lost on my way there. When I ended up on the Dean Street I had to walk back over a small bridge to come to The Black Abbey. It features a tower and some magnificent windows dating back from its original structure. In 1225 Sir William Marshall (Earl of Pembroke) founded the Abbey for the Dominican Friars, in the mid 19th century it became a place of public worship.

Following the small Abbey Street I came to stand in front of the Black Freren Gate (also known as Black Friar’s Gate) and it is the sole existing relic of the entrance gates to the medieval city’s Hightown.

After I’ve seen the Gate and the Abbey I went back the same way on to Dean Street again. On Dean Street are two small ways leading to St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Round Tower. The 9th century tower can be climbed and offers the best view of the city. The Cathedral was built in the 13th century on a christian worship site of the 6th century led by St Canice.

Being at the northern end of the town I went on Parliament Street, which leads back into the town centre. On Parliament Street is the Rothe House, a 17th century merchant’s townhouse. Built in 1594 by John Rothe it consists of three houses with courtyards.

Getting back to the town centre Parliament Street splits into two Streets: the High Street and St.Kieran Street. As I’ve been on the High Street already I choose St. Kieran Street, but went back on to High Street through the dark and narrow walkway ‘Butter Slip‘. With its arched entry and stone steps it is the most picturesque of Kilkenny’s narrow medieval corridors. Built in 1616 it once was a market location for the butter vendor stalls.

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The Butter Slip

At the end of the High Street I turned back onto Rose Inn Street, went over the John’s Bridge and followed Patrick Street to St. John’s Priory. The ruin was built in the 13th century by the Augustinians. Under the rule of Henry VIII in the mid 15th century it was handed over to the state and the Augustinians, who remained there until then, had to leave.

By then we had already 4pm and I had only 1,5 hours left, so I decided to go back to the other side of the River Nore and finally visit Kilkenny Castle. At the end of John’s Bridge I turned onto Kilkenny Way, which leads onto the Canal walk and to steps up to the Castle Grounds. The Kilkenny Castle Grounds are quite big and with the big patches of grass it is the perfect relaxing and picnic area in Kilkenny. Especially on a warm and sunny day you can find a lot of people sitting there and enjoying the nature and sun.

Walking around the Castle I came to the Castle Garden in front of the Castle. The Garden looks really nice and neat and gives the Castle the Castle-flare. The Kilkenny Castle itself was built in the 12th century for William Marshall and remodeled in Victorian times. It was the principal seat of the Butler family, Marquesses and Dukes of Ormond.

Across the Street of the Main Entrance to Kilkenny Castle is the Kilkenny Castle Yard and the National Craft Gallery. Being the stables of the castle, the unique complex of stone buildings in a courtyard setting was built in 1790. Since 1960’s it houses a centre of creativity and design. Ireland’s leading centre for contemporary craft and design is also placed in the buildings of Kilkenny Castle Yard. It’s the National Craft Gallery, which was established in 2000 by the Crafts Council of Ireland.

As it was already 5.15pm the family picked me up outside of Kilkenny Castle and we then went to an airbnb between New Cross and Rosslare for the last night in Ireland. The airbnb was actually a nice cottage which had a lot of rooms so everyone got their own room.
On our way there we tried to find a restaurant or something were we could pick up some food in New Ross. The only thing we found was a Lidl so we just bought some frozen Pizza we could bake at the cottage.
Knowing that we have to get up quite early the next morning I decided not to go to bed too late.

The next morning we tried to leave at 7am, because we had to be in Rosslare for the ferry at 8am and the ferry would leave at 9am. This time it left on time. While we were on the ferry we first ate breakfast and after that just relaxed for a bit.

At 11.30am I just needed to take a walk. I knew that I would be sitting in the car again soon enough, so better walk around as long as you can. So I went outside on the top deck where they actually have a walking route ‘Take The Salt Air‘. You just need to follow the directional arrows around the deck. 4 of those laps are 1 km and 6 laps are 1 mile. At first I wanted to just walk 1 km, but as I finished the 4 laps I just decided to do more and soon I walked one mile around the deck in 15 minutes. For some laps I chose to walk quite fast, other times I just walked quite slowly and breathed in the sea air.

After I finished the sixth lap I decided to walk one more really slowly and enjoy the fresh air and the nice few. I then stopped at a good viewing point, face held into the sun, just standing there for another 15 minutes until I went back to the others.

At 12.30 we had arrived at Fishguard Port in Wales. When we were off the ferry we finally made our way back home to London. We stopped once for a small toilet and lunch break and then went off again, so we arrived London at 6pm. After we emptied the car and put everything away I was finally off for the rest of the weekend.

Ireland was really nice and I definitely want to go back there, but I was also quite happy to be back in London where I have my room again. I was also looking forward to having a break of the family. They are really nice and I’m really thankful that they invited me to come with them, but after spending one week cramped together we all needed some space.

Thanks to writing the blog I could relive all the nice things I was able to do in Ireland.  But hopefully I can go back there one day. Even though I was able to fit in a lot of sightseeing stuff in the small time I’ve only been there, I missed out on a lot of things.

Sadly, Ireland is over. I had lots of fun being in Ireland and later on writing about it. But We’ve been back for 3 weeks now and lots of stuff had happened during that time, too. I’ll tell you all about it next time.

Goodbye Ireland! 😢🍀

Vicky xx

Für alle Trierer, ich habe die irische Variante der Bimmelbahn in Kilkenny gefunden!!!

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The irish version of Triers Bimmelbahn

The Rose of Tralee

After two wonderful days in Dublin, we had to say good bye.

I really loved the time in Dublin. Not only because of Kevin, but also because the family really welcomed me in their home.
It was quite hard to say goodbye. D. even got a small present for me.
But saying good bye to Trixie was the hardest. I really fell in love with her and I was told that she also trusted me easily. Normally she would take longer to feel at ease with someone new, but she stayed with me just after one day already. It could have also been because I rubbed her without a break. But let’s just pretend it was because she’s half german and I’m german! 😉

At 11am we hit the road to TraleeCo. Kerry. My host mother (Sh.) is from Kerry and her father lives in Tralee.
At 1pm we stopped for lunch in Adare.
After lunch we went for a small walk through Adare and the park. It is a nice small town and is quite famous for their cottages with the thatched roofs.

Around 3pm we got going again and finally arrived at 4.15pm at the house of my host mothers father. I then had time till 6.30pm to walk around for a bit or just relax in my room. But at 6.30pm we went to Sh.’s sister in law for dinner. She is married to Sh.’s oldest brother, but he was in italy during that time.
Dinner was really nice, but I was quite happy when we were back at 10.15pm so I could finally go to sleep.

The next morning started nice and slowly. At 12.15pm we went to collect the boys cousin and then drove to the beach. They played around at the beach and waited till the others would arrive. Sh. brother has triplets, one boy and two girls. We only picked up the boy, since the girls were at a friend’s house. So at around 1.30pm the girls arrived with their mother.

The Magherabeg beach in Castlegregory is really nice. They even got two attraction booth, which offered canoe, paddle boat and trampolines on the water.  To keep the boys and girls occupied, the parents booked first paddleboat and then a water trampoline for them. When they came back we had a nice picnic at the beach.

Afterwards we left the beach and the boys went with their cousins. My host parents and I went back home, where we arrived around 5pm. Once again I had time to relax until we had dinner at 7pm. This time everyone came to the grandfather’s house to enjoy dinner.

At 9.45pm my day ended.

Thursday morning started quite late again. After breakfast and a short briefing of the area I started my way to the Tralee Town Center at 12pm.
Even though Tralee is really small, I actually managed to get lost, but you can always ask for the way and they will be glad to help you. At 12.30pm I finally found my way into the town center.

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Welcome to Tralee – Streetsign

The biggest attraction there must be Penny’s (Irish version of Primark), no just kidding. But really the town is so much smaller than Oxford, but got a bigger Primark/Penny’s. But they’ve also got a Vero Moda (the first one I’ve been into since I left Germany) and a United Colours of Bennetton Store.
After I checked out the shopping qualities of Tralee, I stopped at Costa’s for a little Coffee break.

At 5pm I finally started the tourism part of the day and went to the Tralee Town Park. A must see for every park lover. The park is, compared to the town quite big and has a few attractions inside. There is, for example the Siamsa Tíre, which is a folklore theatre.
The Ashe Memorial Hall, which houses the Kerry County Museum and the Tourist Office, is at the end of Denny Street and is surrounded by the park.

Until the Tralee Urban District Council purchased the park in 1922 it was part of the private estate of the Denny family. In 1986 the Rose Garden was developed and now contains over 600 rose bushes of different varieties. The most noteworthy must be the Rose of Tralee, a hybrid tea rose developed by Sam McGready of Portadown, Co. Armagh and was presented in 1965. Some of the roses were presented as gifts to the park. Among those are the Goldstein roses, presented to Tralee by its German partner town of Frankfurt-Höchst in 2012. Other varieties include Samaritan presented by the Irish Samaritans, Diana Princess of Wales and the modern floribunda rose: Rhapsody in Blue.

In the middle of the Rose Garden is a life-size bronze sculpture of the poet and composer William Pembroke Mulchinock and his sweetheart, Mary O’Connor, the original Rose of Tralee. William is presenting Mary with a rose as a sign of his everlasting Love for her. The Sculpture was sculpted by the famous Irish sculptor Jeanne Rynhart (other works include Molly Malone, Dublin and Annie Moore on Ellis Island, NY) and the figures were cast by Séamus Connolly at his foundry in Kilbaha, Co. Clare.

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The Rose of Tralee sculpture in the Rose Garden

To mark the Golden Jubilee of the festival the sculpture was unveiled in 2009. In 2013 the glass Rose Wall of Honour was designed and erected by Tralee Town Council to salute all those honoured on this wall as Rose Finalists and all those who have worked tirelessly over the years in Tralee, Ireland and overseas to make the festival the international success that it has become since 1959. It was officially unveiled on the 15th of August to contribute to the Gathering 2013 celebrations.

The Festival itself has its very own history. It is based on the song The Rose of Tralee, composed by William Pembroke Mulchinock (1820-64), who fell in love with the beautiful Mary O’Connor. Because of the difference in social class, their relationship was discouraged by Williams family and he was sent to India. When he returned some years later he found that Mary had died. He was heart-broken and expressed his love for her in the song The Rose of Tralee.

It all started with the Tralee Carnival of 1958, which also included the selection of a Carnival Queen. A group of local business people were inspired and organised a new and expanded version of the Carnival based on the Mulchinock ballad. Based on personality rather than good looks, young women of Kerry and later Irish heritage would be selected as the International Rose of Tralee for that year and would become an ambassador for Tralee, County Kerry and Ireland.

The opening Rose of Tralee International Festival in 1959 was a resounding success with Alice O’Sullivan from Dublin becoming the first Rose. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Rose Centres were established in Ireland, Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Centres in Europe, the Middle East and Far East were later added, wherever Irish people had settled. There are currently over 70 Rose of Tralee Centres worldwide. Through this annual celebration, the Rose of Tralee International Festival continues to connect the Global Irish Community at home and abroad.

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The official ‘Rose of Tralee’ sign

In 1967 the Rose Selection was broadcasted on live television for the first time by Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) from a stage erected outside the Ashe Memorial Hall in Denny Street. Later on it took place in the Rose Dome – a large tent – to accommodate the growing numbers wishing to attend the selection event. The Dome will be set up every year just for the festival. The Rose selection is one of the most watched live entertainment events on Irish television.

The selection of the winning Rose is the centerpiece of the 5 day festival. It will take place each year in mid August with parades, concerts, free street entertainment, horse and greyhound racing, air shows, firework displays, children’s amusements and Fossett’s Circus. With so much going on it remains Ireland’s main festival, attracting thousands of visitors each year. You can find all the news about the Roses, their Escorts and the Festival Timetable on the website, here.

This years Rose of Tralee International Festival took place from the 17th to 23rd of August. So our first night in Tralee was the last night of the Festival. Not only did it end with the selection of the Rose of Tralee, but also with a firework display. The fun fair, which was on a place near the park, stayed for a bit longer and I was able to see it while I was in the Town Center two days after the end of the Festival.

The Rose Garden is really nice and has more sculptures than only the Rose of Tralee sculpture. But the Rose Garden is not the only Garden inside the park. There is also the Garden of the Senses right next to the Rose Garden. It was designed to appeal to the five senses and was inspired by Soroptimist International Tralee and District in 2000. There are four sculptures to represent a sense:

  1. Sight: Standing Stone
    The Stone is aligned with Queen Scotia’s Glen on Sliabb Mis Mountain and looks back to a mythical time when the Milesians defeated the great Tuatha de Danann and Scotia’s son Amergin named the island ‘Eire’.

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    First Sense – Sight: Standing Stone

  2. Taste: Gauldron of the Dagda
    In ancient Ireland. The Dagda (the Great God) possessed one of the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann, a vessel of endless beauty ‘from which none returned unfulfilled’. This sculpture features a drinking fountain.

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    Second Sense – Taste: Gauldron of the Dagda

  3. Touch: Henge
    A modern, rhythmic and tactile response in stone to an important neolithic settlement site discovered at Ballycarty, outside Tralee in June 1996.

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    Third Sense – Touch: Henge

  4. Sound: Horns of Clogherclemin
    A hoard of bronze age horns was found in a bog at Clogherclemin, Tralee in 1875. This interactive sculpture pays tribute to the craftsmanship of the ancient Irish.

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Fourth Sense – Sound: Horns of Clogherclemin

After I went through the Garden of the Senses and the Rose Garden, I went through the Park itself and left it through the main entrance to come back on Denny Street. From there I made my way back home at 5.45pm.

Because my host parents went out for dinner and the boys stayed at their cousins house, I was all on my own and used the free time to pack all my stuff.

The next day we would drive to the last stop and then would start the trip back home.
The time in Tralee was really nice, too. But you just can’t compare it to Dublin. Even though it has its own charme.

Only one day left in Ireland.

Vicky xx

In Dublin’s fair city

I started my one day in Dublin’s city centre on O’Connell Street at around 11.15 am on a beautiful sunday morning.

The first thing on my schedule was to find a cash dispenser, because for the first time in three weeks I needed Euro again. After I finally got cash I went back to the first bus stop of the green Dublin Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Buses at Cathal Brugha Street (1.) and hopped on the bus standing there. To buy a ticket for 24 hours you have to pay 19€ or if you are a student you just have to pay 17€. You can buy the ticket directly from the driver.

Doing that I got to talk to the bus driver and he asked me where I’m from and was quite happy to learn that I’m from germany and welcomed me with a nice ‘Guten Tag!‘ on his bus.

Starting the tour he introduced himself as Kevin and welcomed everyone on the bus, but especially the german people, because he’s taken german lessons for quite a while and was happy to have an opportunity to finally put some of the knowledge to use.
So he told us that he can say three sentences in german:
– ‘Ich heiße Kevin.
– ‘Ich bin 33 Jahre alt.
– ‘Mein Deutsch ist schei*e!

While he was enchanting us with his german skills he drove on the O’Connell Street (2.), where we passed the GPO (General Post Office), The Spire and the statue of Daniel O’Connell. The O’Connell Street is the widest and most famous street Ireland’s. It’s also full of history as it has been the location for key turning points in the history of the state.

Crossing the River Liffey we drove further into the centre of Dublin. The next stop was on Nassau Street (3.) in front of the Trinity College. Just a few metres down the street was the next stop at the National Library & Museum (4.). Sadly I couldn’t visit all the Museums, because I had just this one day. The good thing is that most of the Museums and other exhibitions are admission free, especially if there is a ‘National’ in the name. So you can enjoy all that without any extra paying, if you have the time.

The next sight was the Merrion Square (5.) with a memorial sculpture of Oscar Wilde. The Square is the largest Georgian square in the city and is surrounded by original Georgian buildings. Across the street is the National Gallery which houses over 15,000 works of Irish art and was officially opened in 1864. The National History Museum & Leinster House (6.) came up next. The latter one is the seat of the Irish Parliament since 1922. Dáil Éireann (House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (the Senate) are the two houses of parliament in Leinste House.

St Stephan’s Green is the largest city square in Europe. Open to the public you can see lots of commemorative monuments to some of Ireland’s historical figures. St Stephan’s Green and the Little Museum of Dublin (7.) share the same stop. The Little Museum of Dublin is voted ‘Dublin’s best Museum experience’ by the Irish Times and offers an exclusive free tour for customers on the Dublin Bus Tour. From St. Stephan’s Green Kevin drove us past the Mansion House, which has been the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715, and St. Ann’s Church on Dawson Street.

Because of the street system the bus had to drive back to Trinity College and went around the park of Trinity College to bring us after a short stop on Pearse Street (7a.) onto Dame Street. On Dame Street the bus stopped for the Molly Malone statue (8.) and the Temple Bar district (9.), where we passed the Olympia Theatre. The multi-award-winning Irish musical drama Once is running there. We then passed Dublin Castle & City Hall (10.).

At the end of Dame Street we turned onto Patrick Street and passed Christ Church Cathedral (11.) for the first time.
On Patrick Street you can see St. Patrick’s Cathedral (12.) and Marsh’s Library. St Patrick’s Cathedral is The National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Community in Ireland and was built in 1192. Marsh’s Library was built in 1701 and became the first public library in Dublin.

After St. Patrick’s Cathedral Kevin made a small detour to Teeling Whiskey Distillery (12a.), which is the only operational distillery in Dublin city, and then brought us back to Christ Church Cathedral. From there he brought us directly to the Guinness Storehouse (13.) where he showed us around the whole area and even stopped in front of the famous black gate so we could take some pictures.

The next stop was the Irish Museum of Modern Art -IMMA (14.) and Kilmainham Gaol (15.). Before we could cross the river again we passed the biggest Public Transportation Station in Dublin: Heuston Station (16.). Back on the north side o the river it was now time for Phoenix Park (17.). It is the largest urban park in Europe. On the 1750 acres you can find the Dublin Zoo, the 62m high Wellington Monument and the home of the Irish president: Áras an Uachtaráin.

On our way to Old Jameson Distillery we passed the stops Ryan’s Victorian Bar (18.) and the National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts & History (19.) and is housed in a formerly military barracks. After the Old Jameson Distillery (20.) we drove along the Liffey, past the Four Courts (21.), the Ha’Penny and the Millennium Bridge to the stop of the Dublin Discovered Cruise (22.).

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The National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts & History

Finally we were back on the O’Connell Street (23.), turned at Dublin City Gallery & Writers Museum (24.) and then were back at the first stop at Cathal Brugha Street (1.).

During the whole Tour Kevin guided us through Dublin’s city with witty comments and interesting facts about Ireland. Though he would not only share facts and comments but also jokes, which were quite funny and when there was a longer drive between two stops he would even start singing!

While he started his third song I started sending voice messages to my mother so she could listen to his musical talent. She was so amused and enthused by him that she literally told me to stay on that bus until the end! But even if she wouldn’t have told me that, I would have stayed there because it was just such a great experience.
And I’m still happy that I recorded some of the songs because sometimes I just like to listen to them and be remembered of the good time.

Some of the songs he sang are well known as Molly Malone, The Wild Rover and With a littlehelp of my friends. But also some typical irish songs like Aon Focal Eile, The ABC Song and Seven Drunken Nights, which all sound like some songs the irish would sing after a bit of time in an irish pub.

At the end of the tour I was quite upset that it was already over, but I was also anxious to finally go through Dublin myself rather than on a bus.
Saying goodbye to Kevin I thanked him and told him to take a look on my blog, because I promised him I’ll write about this more than just great bus tour through Dublin.
So if you read this Kevin: Thanks again for the tour! I’ll always keep it in mind and if I’m going to be in Dublin again, I’ll make sure to visit you on your bus again!

After the two hour drive through Dublin I went into Carrols. If you’ve been to Ireland you know exactly what that means. For all the other ones: Carrols is a shop especially for Tourists. In these stores you’ll find everything you may think is irish, all the irish stereotypes are proved to be true. The bigger the store the more stuff they have – it’s a tourism wonderland.

Since my shopping spree wasted a lot of my time I was rather in a hurry afterwards and went to the GPO on O’Connell Street to buy a post stamp and to visit this historical building. It was here that the Proclamation of Independence was read in the 1916 Easter Rising. Because the Irish rebels fought against the british soldiers from inside the GPO, part of the building was destroyed. Today it is rebuild and still a post office, but also houses a museum and the GPO Witness History Visitor centre.

While I was still on the O’Connell Street, I also went to see the Spire of Dublin, or as it’s called in Dublin: the Spike. It’s location once was the location of another monument. The in 1808 built Nelson’s Pillar is named after the British hero Lord Nelson and was destroyed in 1966 by the Irish Republican Army Terrorist Organization, who were fighting British rule in Northern Ireland and didn’t want a British monument in Dublin. The 120m Spire of Dublin is the tallest sculpture and was built to celebrate the millennium, however it wasn’t finished until 2003.

Because of my 24 hour bus ticket I was able to get on another Dublin Tour bus and drive to Trinity College. It is Ireland’s oldest college, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. On Campus Grounds you can find the Trinity College Library, which holds the largest collection of manuscripts and printed books in Ireland. Under the Legal Deposit requirement of 1801, one copy of every published book must be sent to Trinity College Dublin. As a result the College Library now has a book stock of over six million books, manuscripts and maps.

Two of the greatest treasures of Trinity College Dublin is the Book of Kells and the Long Room in the College Library building. Arriving at the Library just a few minutes before they closed I was able to visit the exhibition of the Book of Kells and see the Long Room. Normally you would have wait in a 4 h+ queue to see the exhibition.

Around the year 800 Irish monks from the Island of Iona produced The Book of Kells, which is a lavishly decorated Gospel manuscript. The Book of Kells was sent to Dublin around 1653 for reasons of security during the Cromwellian period.

The Exhibition first shows images from that time and explains the Book of Kells. They also showed how it must have been made and other stuff from that time. Leaving that room I came in the room where The Book of Kells was exhibited in a showcase. I was told that they turn the pages of the book once every day, so you would have to visit the exhibiton every day for a year to see the whole book. The Book is pretty amazing and you can see how much work they must have put into making them.

The next part of the exhibition was the visit of the Long Room on the first floor of the old Library. It is nearly 65 metres long and houses around 200 000 of the Library’s oldest books. Marble busts are placed down either side of the room. (Just a few of them)

The Harp, which you can find on irish coins, is displayed in the middle of the room. It is the oldest to survive from Ireland, and probably dates from the 15th century. The Harp is constructed from oak and willow with bass strings and is an emblem of early, bardic society.
Right next to the door, through which you enter the Long Room, you can see one of the dozen or so remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic.

Leaving the Exhibition I left the Trinity College behind and drove to Dublin’s City Hall. From there I walked to Christ Church Cathedral, which is one of Dublin’s most famous cathedrals and it is the original cathedral of Norse Dublin. Then I went straight back to Dublin Castle that is located slightly behind the City Hall. The British ruled Ireland from here until 1922.
But because I was short on time I just took some pictures from the outside.

Across the City Hall a road lead directly into Dublin’s Cultural quarter: Temple Bar. The earliest Dublin map to include Temple Bar is from 1673 and therefore it is one of the oldest parts of Dublin. I just took my time strolling around the pedestrianized streets. The atmosphere there is really great and dominated by all the restaurants, pubs, music venues and the people on the streets. Everyone in the streets seemed to be pulled in by the most famous pub, the Temple Bar. There is a theory that this unusual name comes from Sir William Temple, who lived in the area in the early 1600s.

Following the streets of Temple Bar, I reached the Ha’Penny Bridge. Which again is a quite unusual name. The original name of the Bridge, which has been built in 1816, was Wellington Bridge. In 1836 the name was changed to Liffey Bridge. However it is commonly called the Ha’Penny Bridge as a toll was charged on the Bridge up to March 1919.
The Ha’Penny Bridge is just one of many Bridges you can use to cross the 125 km River Liffey. However the Ha’Penny Bridge and the Millennium Bridge are two of the most famous ones.

The last thing on my Dublin Bucket list was to have a stroll around Dame and Grafton Street. The latter one being the premier shopping street in the capital. Going from Dame Street to Grafton Street I passed by the Molly Malone Statue and the St Andrews Church. The Statue is a reminder of the song of the same name. The statue has been constructed to celebrate the city’s first millennium in 1988. In Dublin the statue is commonly known as ‘The Tart with the Cart‘. The song is set in Dublin and tells the story about a fishmonger, who died young, of a fever. It is quite popular in Ireland and has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin city.

In Dublin’s fair city

Where the girls are so pretty,

I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,

As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”

“Alive, alive, oh,

Alive, alive, oh,”

Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh”.

She was a fishmonger,

But sure ’twas no wonder,

For so were her father and mother before,

And they wheeled their barrows,

Through the streets broad and narrow,

Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”

(chorus)

She died of a fever,

And no one could save her,

And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.

But her ghost wheels her barrow,

Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”

(chorus)x2

source

Getting quite tired I decided to walk back to O’Connell Street to have a little break at Caffé Nero. I then used the break to write a postcard to a friend of mine. I chose to sent only her a postcard from Ireland, because back in 2013-2014 she’s been an Au Pair in Dublin and had sent me a postcard. She inspired me to be an Au Pair myself, so I thought it would be suitable to sent her a postcard from Dublin back.
After writing the postcard I put it in the post box, which was right outside the Caffé.

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A little greeting from Ireland to one special Lady!

At 7.30 pm I finally decided to take the bus home. When I found the right bus stop (Bus stop 320: Westmoreland Street), I saw that I’d have to wait for 30 minutes. At 8 o’clock the bus arrived and I bought a ticket for 2,70€. When you want to buy a bus ticket in Ireland, you have to pay the right amount, because the won’t give you the change back.

After being out of the house for 9 3/4 hours, I was quite happy when I came back home at 8.45 pm.

I then spent the rest of the evening in the living room with the family we talked about the day we had. When I went to bed I fell asleep right away, because the day was just too exhausting.
I definitely have to go to Dublin again, then even though I saw a lot during that day, I didn’t even saw half of the things you have to visit in Dublin.

As I talked a lot about the Dublin Sightseeing Tour I was clearly thrilled with the tour and I can highly recommend them. If you’re interested you can take a look on their website http://www.dublinsightseeing.ie or just click here. Also I wrote down all the Bus stops of the tour for you. After the name of the bus stop you’ll find the number of the bus stop inside the parentheses and they are all marked in bold purple letters.
When you want to experience the same fun ride, make sure to hop on a ‘Live Commentary‘ bus and the chances that you’ll meet Kevin are way higher.

If you want to read more about my days in Ireland, please follow this blog and you’ll be one of the first to see the new posts.

Until then,
fheiceann tú arís

Vicky xx

All the information about the places are either from the Dublin Sightseein.ie Discount Map & Guide, A pictorial Guide to Trinity College Dublin or my own memory.

Going to Oxford

As you probably read in my previous post I went to Oxfordshire last weekend. Thanks to my host parents I was able to go to Oxford on Saturday.
My host father and his brother-in-law drove me to Abingdon where I took a bus (X13 or X2) to Oxford, St. Aldates.

When I arrived in Oxford I just went up the Street to get into the city central. Because I’ve been never Oxford before I didn’t knew my way around. So one of the first things I did was buying me a city map.
With the map in my bag I still just went strolling around following some streets until I ended up in front of the Ashmolean Museum, the world’s first university museum. That means that the museum is owned by a university, usually to help teaching the students.

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Ashmolean Museum

After I stopping there for a picture I knew I had to actually use the map. So I studied the map went to the Broad Street where you can see the Trinity College. I also found the tourist information office on this road. After collecting lots of informations I went down the street further. At the corner to Catte Street I got to see the Sheldonian Theater.

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Sheldonian Theater side view from Catte Street

Turning the corner I passed the theater and also the Hertford Bridge, better known as the Bridge of sighs. The bridge got the second name, because of the similar looks to the actual Bridge of Sighs in Venice. Following the street I passed the Bodleian Library which is one of the oldest libraries of the world and the second oldest british library.

Further down the street, behind the Bodleian Library is the Radcliffe Camera. The building is another part of the Library and serves often as the reading room for the Bodleian.
The University Church of St Mary the Virgin is facing the Radcliffe camera on the one side and on the other side adjoins the High Street.

Entering the High Street I first turned left and followed the road, passing All Souls College, University College and Queen’s College. I stopped for a little stroll trough Hardys and turned back around at Magdalen College.

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A little Hardys snack

Because the weather was too good and I only brought long trousers with me I went shopping to buy me shorts which I then directly put on. After a little snack break at McDonald’s I explored the city further.
I discovered the covered market. The hall is really nice and has this traditional look. Some of the shops there are really small. You can buy fresh foods, clothes and souvenirs there, simply everything.

Exiting the covered market I went back down St.Aldates to Christ Church College and Cathedral.

Being quite tired after runing around the whole day I decided to go back to the bus stop and drive back to Abingdon.
Back at the bus stop Stratton Way in Abingdon my host father and his brother-in-law picked me up and we drove back home.

It was a very nice day in a very nice city. I really loved the cities charm. Not only all the awesome buildings, but also all the street musicians who welcomed me and all the other tourist in their wonderful city. I’d love to come back here to study some time.

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Street musicians on Cornmarket Street

But until then I can’t wait to come back another time maybe with a friend to see everything from the inside and not only from the outside and do some guided tours.

Oxford, I’ll be back!
See you!

Love
Vicky xx