Friday, October 28, 2011

From Dublin Culture to Culchie Culture

Obviously, the morning after a pub crawl requires one thing and one thing only: coffee. Copious, copious amounts of coffee. And who can resist when it comes in an awesome to-go cup?

And I want these cups in Victoria.

Due to most Irish museums being closed on Mondays, our Tuesday ended up being very, very heavy on the education-front so we started with a wander through Trinity College. What better way to get our learning on than wandering through the hallowed halls of higher learning... hungover?

Perhaps I should have checked out Careers Week while we were there.

Trinity is actually part of the Pub Crawl given that so many of the writers attended school there, but it was nice to come back during the day and actually see it. Like many European universities, it's located right in the heart of Dublin and is open to just wander through the campus.

We did not bother with the Book of Kells at my suggestion. I had done the Book once before and just found it a waste of money when you consider you only get about 10 seconds to view one page of the book. The displays leading up to the Book are interesting but for the low, low price of free you can visit the Cheaster Beatty Library with books just as old and the National Museum of Ireland: Archeology and History* which has even older artifacts and bog men! That's right, BOG MEN! Four of them!

After we finished our coffees, we hit up both the Chester Beatty and NMI:A&H. Sadly, you can't take pictures inside either of them but they were both awesome. Both could easily be an entire day on their own if you're geeky enough (I totally am. Al, not so much) but two hours at either one should be more than enough time to get your fill.

A school group was leaving as we arrived at the NMI:A&H... Best. Timing. EVER!

We had an early night on Tuesday due to an early morning on Wednesday. Wednesday was when our adventure really began with a trip to the rip-roaring craziness which is Monaghan! Monaghan, of course, is where my culchie family comes from. (Culchie was originally a derogatory term for people from the country--ie. not Dublin--but there's been a bit of a reclaim on for the word. I'm doing my part to show those Jackeens that words can't hurt us!) There's not much family left there now but I always make sure I stop in to say hello to the town which I always remember fondly. Thank goodness Armagh isn't that far away so it's not usually a problem.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this is exactly how I remember Monaghan's main street.

Every trip to Monaghan involves a visit to the cemetery where granny and granddad are buried.

This is followed by a trip to the Cathedral.

Many a Sunday of my childhood was spent here

After I dragged Al on a whole 15 minute tour of downtown Monaghan (you think I exaggerate but I really don't. We walked the whole length of Monaghan in less than 30 minutes and that included stopping for photos), we said good bye to my uncle (and his inability to hear us) and jumped on a bus to Armagh.

Ten minutes outside of Armagh the skies opened and thundered down. Even though it stopped as quickly as it started, we kind of lost our appetite for actually seeing Armagh and instead just checked out a pub until the appointed pick up time. Hey, look at that! I sat in a pub just like I did the last time I was in Armagh!

My usual Armagh contact was out of town so stayed with the step-side of my family in Blackwater Town. I challenge you to pull out an atlas and find it on a map. No cheating and using goggle maps! To be honest, we didn't even stay in Blackwater Town. We kept driving, crossed into Co. Tyrone and spent the night in the middle of nowhere.

Apparently the middle of nowhere has an intersection!

The rains held off long enough for Al I to go for a walk around the neighbourhood farms and meet the local cows.

Shortly after I made friends with this horse, the rains returned and we had to make a beeline back home. Still, who can complain about a little rain when you're staying in a location other tourists would pay top dollar for? 

Question: Ever stayed somewhere so small and/or remote on your holidays that it's not in the guidebook? What brought you to that location?

*There are four NMI locations with different themes. They're all free and they're all worth checking out. The National Gallery and the National Library are also worth checking out but when you have limited time, you have to pick and choose :(


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

oh my gosh, that cup is hilarious. I wish they had them in the states!!

Everything is so green in Ireland!! I mean, I know they are known for that, but wow!

I am trying to think of a remote location that I have stayed on a vacation, but nothign is standing out. But I grew up in a middle-of-nowhere town that is barely on the map, so that counts, I think!

AndreaClaire said...

The cup makes me want to open a coffee shop here so I can have those cups!

Middle-of-nowhere hometown totally counts!