Not too long ago, my wife and I went on our honeymoon. It was a week-long trip that began in Dublin, went through London, and ended in Paris. We’re the kind of people who just like to get lost walking around, so while we had a vague idea of things to see and do, we mostly just meandered about seeing the sites.
Our journey began with a 3-hour drive from San Antonio to Houston, and then a 13.5-hour flight from Houston to Dublin, with a 1.5-hour layover in London.
After getting lost for about an hour on a bus, we made it to our hotel where we cleaned up and began walking around town. We arrived at O’Connell Street which is marked by a great metal toothpick.
The Millennium Spire is a 120 meter (390 ft) steel tower that was built as a monument for the turn of the century. Three years later, the spire was completed in 2003 where, according to the locals, was not met with a lot of excitement. However, it serves as a great landmark for tourist trying to navigate town since it can be seen from almost anywhere in Dublin.
Fun Fact: Written on the roads in Ireland and England are instructions on which way to look when crossing a road. “Look Left” or “Look Right.” Quite literally, it’s a life saver.
Walking further south, we crossed River Liffey where we located O’Neills, a pub recommended to us by some friends. It’s a quaint, warm place packed with chairs and tables, families and friends huddled closely together, and the happy blend of friendly banter and smooth Irish tunes.
The food is served cafeteria style, which, here in the US, has a sort of negative meaning, but over in Ireland, it's nothing but delicious! There was a whole line of stews, roasted birds, pigs, and lamb, and a variety of cooked vegetables and sauces. We decided to go with the classics and ordered Irish Stew and Fish n’ Chips.
As you can see by the clear absence of Irish Stew, we were hungry, and by the time I remembered to take a photo, it was already warming our bellies. However, the fish n’ chips are made to order and came out 15 minutes later – so they were safe from our ravenous hunger.
We woke up early to get on a bus for a daylong excursion to the Cliffs of Moher. It was a 3-hour trip to the cliffs filled with rolling hills, the greenest grass you’ll ever see, pastures filled with dairy cows and sheep – oh, and we met Barack and Michelle Obama.
Barack Obama Plaza is a gas station (a really nice one, I might add) located inside Moneygall. It was named such when, during his presidency, Barack Obama, who has cousins there in Moneygall, visited the town and gave a speech to the people. It was such a big event for the normally quiet town, that the owners of the gas station asked to rename it after him. Thus, Barack Obama Plaza was born and my wife and I enjoyed a nice cup of Barack Obama.
The Cliffs of Moher rise 120 – 214 meters (390 – 702 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean and mark the edge of Ireland. We were quite fortunate to catch some beautiful clear skies from the otherwise cloudy weather.
The trip took us to several more sites, a small town (where we enjoyed fresh caught seafood chowder), and ended in Galway before we headed back to Dublin. We finished the night at O’Neills again where we enjoyed a lamb shank and a football game on the “telly.”
We walked to a local hostel where we met several strangers and our charismatic and witty bicycle tour-guide. The next 2.5 hours were filled with interesting stories, events, and history of Dublin. We visited churches, buildings of famous writers and poets, significant architecture, and the best places for coffee and food. He also staked his reputation on a Mexican joint with really good burritos. We decided, coming from South Texas, that eating anything claiming to be Mexican food north of Dallas probably wasn’t a good idea.
Our advice if you’re in Dublin, take a bike tour the first day you’re there. It’ll get you familiar with the town and start your trip off right.
We took the bus back to the airport where we flew over to London.
After landing at 11:00pm and some slight confusion on how the Underground works, we made it out of the station where we were greeted with a warm London welcome: six cop cars outside a restaurant with a woman screaming and a shirtless guy with his pants falling down.
Fortunately, the next day, we were greeted by Big Ben and clear skies.
We only had one full day in London, so we made the most of it by seeing sites like Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the British Museum to name a few. We enjoyed some tea and scones with my wife’s sister and got to see dignitaries leaving Buckingham Palace after the Queen’s Garden Party. See more about that here:
We took the train under the English Channel and landed in Paris. The subway system there is very similar to the one in London, so we made it to our hotel with ease. At that point, we slept for approximately 16-hours – we were wiped.
Day 6 - 7
We enjoyed some nice cheeses and buttered bread for breakfast and made our way out to visit the sites. We walked a couple miles to Notre Dame and saw just how incredible and BIG it was. It was awe-inspiring!
Then we turned around and saw something even more amazing: a Bread Festival! It was a whole tent filled with bread makers, bakers, ovens, dough mixers, and a whole lot of tasty, fresh baked bread.
I’ve never eaten more bread in my life. So good! Beyond that, we went and visited the Louver, the Eiffel tower, and ate crepes at some highly recommended creperies.
The trip was a blast, filled with incredible sites, delicious food, and a lot of walking. If you ever make it out there, here are a couple of pro-tips:
Carry loose Euros. Public restrooms will cost you to use.
Bring rain jackets. It’s almost always raining in Ireland.
Walk. There are historical sites and unique architecture around every corner. Put on some comfy shoes and start exploring!