Archive | March, 2013

The Jameson Distillery Experience in Cork

28 Mar

Known as one of the top attractions in Cork, Ireland, the Jameson Distillery was another entertaining place we visited in our Irish adventures. We did a midday tour on a beautiful clear and sunny afternoon, which was nice since the tour took us both inside and outside. The buildings date back to 1795 and sits on 15 acres. The tour had great displays of the old machinery, such as old kilns, and other essential pieces of equipment required in making the famous Irish whiskey.

At the end of the tour, there’s the opportunity to partake in a complimentary glass of whiskey.  My husband got the chance to do a blind whiskey tasting to compare other popular whiskies. Jameson definitely has a smoother taste. I was surprised I liked it since I’m not a fan of very many types of liquor. Shortly after the tasting and exploration of the grounds, we found ourselves in the gift shop. I always have a hard time buying things in those shops because they are always pricey, but have to continually remind myself that I won’t get the chance to buy the those things anywhere else. Refer to my Claddagh Ring blog for some good advice on what not to do when shopping for memorabilia.

photoAfter long consideration at the gift shop, we decided to buy a 12 year reserve bottle of Jameson and had our last name personalized on the bottle. This type of bottle you can only get at the distillery, so I felt like it was pretty exclusive (and decided spending as much as we did was justified). I was pretty happy we decided to buy it and we ended up waiting to open it until after we got married. It was pretty delicious. We still have a little left to sip on for special occasions.

If you find yourself in County Cork, Ireland, I recommend stopping by and touring the Jameson Distillery. If you are from another country, other than the United States, the distillery offers tours in many different languages to accommodate most visitors. For more interesting travel tips and more about the places I’ve explored, please follow my blog or find me on Twitter @LindseyAgrellas.

Thank you for reading!

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The Guinness Storehouse

15 Mar

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In the the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be fun to blog about the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. If you’re a Guinness fan, you will love the tour at the Guinness Storehouse. The Storehouse is the old brewing factory and offers a in depth history of the beer. The place where the beer we know and love is actually brewed right next door to the Storehouse. And, of course, since you’re next door to the brewery, the beer is as fresh as it gets and that much more delicious than you can get in the United States. If you are of age, the ticket price includes a beer you can partake at the end of your tour at the gravity bar. The gravity bar has floor to ceiling glass windows with panoramic views of Dublin and really is a great site to see.

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View from the gravity bar

The Storehouse has 7 floors to explore and we had the chance to check out everything Guinness. Anywhere from the basic recipe of the brew, to pieces of the original brewery equipment, to the advertising they’ve used over the years and how it’s evolved. They also have the old bottles from some of the original beers brewed hundreds of years ago, which I found very fascinating. The history of the beer was really cool to learn about.

Fun Fact: I never knew this, but Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease on the property in 1759 for a measly £45 a year!! That’s crazy, but what a smart businessman!

I recommend to anyone planning on visiting the Dublin area, to check out the Storehouse. After all, it is the top attraction in Ireland and you will not regret the experience. We used the hop on hop off bus in the city and we were able to visit lots of great attractions. This bus tip was given to us from the locals at the B&B we stayed at and realized what a great value it was shortly after we starting touring around the city. Worth the money!

Thank you for reading! Please follow my blog and follow me on Twitter @LindseyAgrellas

And we’re off to Limerick!

11 Mar

Limerick is the fifth largest city in Ireland and the second city we visited when we arrived. This wasn’t really a place that we sought out to see, but after we arrived in Shannon some of the locals told us it would be a cool place to check out. There isn’t really much to do in Shannon and we decided to stay there two nights to try and overcome our jet lag before we started on our trip. I encourage anyone traveling across multiple time zones to set aside time when you arrive to plan for jet lag to catch up on sleep.

ImageWe started touring around not really knowing where to go and came across the St. Mary’s cathedral, which was stunning. We weren’t able to go inside and explore because there was a wedding in progress, but could appreciate the beauty of the cathedral from the street. This piece of Irish history was founded in 1168! The rich history in this country is truly incredible.

 

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Not long after seeing the cathedral, we ran into the King Johns Castle of the 13th century. This castle had amazing city views and is surrounded by the River Shannon. We were fortunate enough to be visiting the castle after a big redevelopment project which was inclusive of some videos to watch that gave us detailed history of the castle. There’s something to be said about visiting a castle that many people built with their bare hands and it’s still standing strong today. Makes me wonder how sophisticated their technology really was back then.

We also stopped in a pub and chatted with locals. There was a big football (soccer) game there and Limerick was playing against Dublin. Apparently they get pretty serious about their football! It was really fun to see the rivalry. Those were a couple of things we enjoyed while visiting Limerick. There’s quite a bit to do in this city and I know we only scratched the surface. To find more things about what to do there, check out 50 Things to do in Limerick.

Thank you for reading!

My Favorite Place in Ireland

9 Mar

The most amazing place I’ve ever been to is the area of County Clare in Ireland, specifically the Cliffs of Moher. I’ve always wanted to travel the world and see new places and I believe I set the bar pretty high going to Ireland on my first real international vacation. It was so beautiful; I can’t wait to go back.

Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, County Clare, IrelandThe world renowned Cliffs of Moher was one of the first tourist attraction places we went to when we arrived. I’ve always been told about how cool it is to see these Cliffs from reading online and from people who’ve traveled there, but you have to see it for yourself to understand just how epic it really is. These Cliffs were formed from layers of siltstone, shale and sandstone settling at the bottom of the sea-bed over 320 million years ago. I can only imagine how many people have gone to visit this incredible site.

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McDermott’s Pub in Doolin

I strongly recommend to anyone interested in seeing something incredible to go to this site. Not only are the Cliffs neat to check out, the area is great too. We stayed in the town of Doolin, where there are only a few pubs to speak of and the people are really friendly. We stayed at the Craggy Island B&B with beautiful ocean views and received warm hospitality from our hosts. They gave us great local insider recommendations too. We stopped in two pubs in Doolin and just loved it. First, we stopped at McDermott’s pub and had some really good food, and of course great beer. They have live traditional Irish music nightly, throughout the tourist season months.

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McGann’s Pub in Doolin – Live Irish Music

We also visited McGann’s pub just down the street, which also offered live traditional Irish music, as well as delicious beer. Both pubs had people visiting from all over the world from places such as, Germany, Canada, and France. It was really neat to experience a traditional Irish pub with entertaining live music. If you have plans to visit the country of Ireland, I think that County Clare and the town of Doolin are a must see. It was the one area in Ireland that stuck out to us and offered a real traditional Irish experience.

Thank you for reading my blog! Please follow my blog to hear more about international travel. 

The Claddagh Ring

4 Mar

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I consider myself to be the kind of person who isn’t frivolous in my spending. When I went to Ireland for the first time, I really tried not hyper aware of every penny I was spending because where’s the fun in that. Unfortunately, I was a little too aware. Here’s a story about learning the hard way about not spending when I should have.

In our Irish travels we came up the Claddagh fishing village in Galway where the Claddagh ring was originated. I got to learn about how the history of the ring and how it can be used as an engagement ring, wedding ring, and friendship ring and has others meanings. I also learned that it can signify different things depending on how it’s worn and in which finger it is worn on. I was pretty excited to be visiting the village with a rich ancient past dating back over 300 years. My husband and I went shopping around and I saw so many Claddagh rings and kept picking them up and putting them back down. I kept thinking I didn’t really need another ring. So we left with no ring. 

Immediately after we left Galway I regretted my decision to forgo buying the ring. It was a silly mistake that I still think about every time I see someone wearing that type of ring. My recommendation to anyone traveling and struggles with the same, “should I buy, shouldn’t I buy” to just buy it! I’m not talking about breaking the bank on one item, but remember there may never be that chance to visit that place again in your life. Live in the moment and remember that we don’t work hard to not spend our money!

Thank you for reading! If you’ve experienced this “why didn’t I buy remorse”, please leave it in a comment below. 

 Photo Credit: http://bestjewelryringssite.com/claddagh-ring-meaning.html

Tips for a Well Prepared Trip Abroad

3 Mar

There are lots of websites that offer tips on what to do to prepare for a trip and what to make sure you bring when you travel. I like to think when I took my first international that I did research to see what kinds things are important to know and what types of things I needed to bring. I felt like when I got there a couple of those items fell short. I know everyone is different too and a lot of things that people bring are going to be up to the individual. But here are a couple of things that I wish I would’ve brought or known about when I traveled internationally and plan to be aware of and bring on my next trip.

Need to remember to bring:

  1. Bring a watch. If you’re anything like me you use your phone for the time. When I was traveling I didn’t even want to see my phone because I really wanted to just be on vacation and, well, not be on my phone.
  2. Bring snacks. Visiting another country can be very exciting but at the same time eating out EVERY meal can be a little much and cost a lot of money. Having power bars or something to hold you over, can help for in between meals. Not to mention, there’s nothing quite like eating food you’re familiar with when you’re used to trying new things almost every meal.
  3. Sleeping pills can really help get much needed sleep, either on the plane or once you land. Jet lag is a true reality when traveling to another country and having sleeping pills can help you get into a routine quicker than not having them.
  4. Wash cloths. This may seem like a weird one, but I’ve heard in most European countries wash cloths aren’t customary (and they weren’t in Ireland). So if you’re someone who likes to use a wash cloth every day I recommend bringing some with you.
  5. Plastic bags and plastic baggies. These can come in handy with dirty clothes (and wash cloths for that matter). I recommend the plastic baggies for toiletry items and ensuring you’re keeping liquids separate from the rest of your things.

Need to know:

  1. Be aware of currency conversions and keep an eye on how it changes prior to your trip.  I recommend converting your money (possibly through your bank) before your trip because you may find yourself paying conversion fees in the country you’re visiting. There could be the opportunity to save some money.
  2. Research, research, research. This one is pretty obvious, but I think it’s important to have a general idea of where and what you want to do, so you’re not wasting a bunch of time figuring out what you’d like to see when you’re there. At the same time, asking locals wherever you’re traveling is a really great way to find great things to do that might not be easily found on the internet. We did this in Ireland and it REALLY paid off when the B&B we stayed at recommended traveling on the Burren coastal highway. It was one of the most beautiful areas in Ireland we saw.
  3. Lastly, call your bank and let them know you will be traveling and give the dates and where you will be visiting, this way they don’t cancel your card because they think your purchases are “fraudulently charged”. We did this before we left but they still cancelled our VISA debit card. So my recommendation is to bring another card, such as a credit card as a backup. I know some credit cards offer points for purchases, which might be nice to buy everything from your trip on that card and just pay it off when you’re home. This way you are getting all those points for your next trip!

Hope you find these tips valuable! And thank you for reading! Please follow me on Twitter @LindseyAgrellas and follow my blog for more information on international travel.

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Told by Irish locals to drive the Burren coastal highway. Glad we did – it was beautiful!

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