Wednesday, August 21st - Day 9
It was our last FULL day in Ireland!
We started our day with our last full traditional Irish breakfast. It was THE only time I remembered to get a photo of our breakfast on our trip. Unfortunately, it was the least like a traditional breakfast. They gave me scrambled eggs instead of a fried egg. The black pudding was as hard as a hockey puck and it looked like one too.
Haha! Nick didn't realize that I was taking a picture of him too. You can tell it was the last of 9 busy days in Ireland! He already looks like he's in a food coma.
We ate, checked out, and headed off to play some golf!
We had to search a little for the golf course, but we eventually found it.
This nice man was working the golf shack. It was only 10 pounds to play the course, and an additional 10 for a full set of clubs. He offered us a HUGE umbrella for 25 pounds. (That was more than what we had just paid to play golf!) I laughed when I saw how long it was! I asked if he could open it for us. I just about died laughing! You could easily fit an entire family under it! We thought about buying it, but knew that we could never get it through security at the airport for Ryanair. We thanked him, and made our way to the first hole!
I looked off in the distance and was grateful that a storm had just passed. There was a pretty rainbow!
Nick was in his happy place playing golf in Ireland! Who wouldn't be?!
The wind was really starting to howl. We quickly realized that the storm we thought had passed was actually heading toward us. We hadn't even walked 100 yards or played on the first hole!
His first swing...
Moment's later the rain caught us. Nick had just taken his first swing. I ran back to the golf shack. I was laughing so hard! The man had tried to sell us the umbrella and we had just laughed it off. Now we were paying for it! I was drenched.
Nick thought he could just play through it...
I was taking this photo from inside the moment he decided he couldn't just play through. It was POURING out! No more blue sky!
He stopped just short of the door and picked something up, then ran in. He was soaked!
He handed me my PHONE! It had fallen out of my purse as I was running back, and it sat in the pouring rain for a good 5.1 minutes.
I dried it off as quickly as I could. Luckily, it had landed face down with the cover up. It still worked! I don't know how!
We waited out the storm for another 15 minutes in the shack.
The storm finally cleared...and we were off again! Round 2! This time the gentleman gave us his own personal umbrella in case it rained again. How sweet!
Nothing like playing the golf course in boots!
I loved the mud splatters on the back of Nick's pants. Only in rainy Ireland.
I decided to give it a try too. :)
What do ya know? The umbrella DID come in handy! It started to pour again on hole 7. Nick just kept on playing. I had enough by hole 9. I walked back because it felt like it was getting colder! I left Nick to play the last 2 on his own while I warmed up. (One of my better decisions)
For lunch after our golfing adventure, we headed back into Portrush. There were a few restaurants we spotted on the water. A crowd was gathered near Mamore restaurant. One of the few times Nick and I will walk towards crowds is when it involves food. :) They must know something we don't. Since there were only two of us, we were seated right away. The restaurant was hopping! There must have been 200 people in there. The girl sitting next to me was from Northern Ireland, and she said that we stumbled across the best restaurant in Northern Ireland. YES! Our instincts hadn't failed us. The unusual part of the restaurant is that you are seated first. When you're ready you walk up to the bar to order your food and drinks. Our food was ready in a snap! It was delicious!
Random: The strange observation I made was how many women had TONS of makeup on. It was just caked on. That was the first time I had seen anything like that on our trip. It seemed out of place.
Nick still hadn't taken a dip in the Atlantic, and this was his last opportunity!
We drove 5 minutes down to the beach.
The sign on the ice cream truck adjacent to the parking lot said, "Often licked...never beaten." Eew.
The air temp was 14 degrees Celsius, and so was the water. Brrr...(that's roughly 58 degrees F)
There he goes! The wind and the temperature didn't slow him down!
Portrush in the distance..
All of the other tourists around him were shocked that he would run in without a wetsuit on!
He went charging into the water!
It looked painful, but he did it!
Last place on our list was to drive to Dublin to tour the Guinness factory. The factory was recommended to us (even though we don't drink) because there's a great view of Dublin from the top. Our one last adventure!
While we were listening to the radio on the 3-hour car ride; a station was asking callers to call in if they had already turned on their heat in their houses. Many people had already! All I could think about was how hot it likely was back in Italy. I was enjoying all the cool weather while I could.
Something we also noticed on the road was that Northern Ireland's speed signs were in miles/hour instead of km/hour like the rest of Europe. It was so strange.
The last part of the drive was the hardest because there was so much traffic in Dublin, but we made it!
Nick's first comment as we walked through the factory was that it looked like "Willy Wonka's Beer Factory." It was very well organized and they did a great job of educating people about their beer. It also somewhat made a god out of the founder, Arthur Guinness.
There were about 7 different floors.
They had a whole floor dedicated to the different types of transportation that Guinness has used.
My favorite part was the taste-testing, but not for the reason you're thinking. A group of 20 or so people were directed into a room where a man was waiting. There were 4 white tubes with steam coming out the top. Each had a different smell. You could walk up to one that smelled like barley, hops, water, and yeast. It was like a magic show.
The next floor had some great photo ops. :):):)
The last floor was the view of the city! It was pretty incredible!
We were both a little baffled by how many people were pretty wasted by the time they got to the top floor. Maybe we were just there on an odd day.
We had some fun taking photos around the area after our tour. I loved all of the brick buildings.
We jumped back in the car and quickly decided that we would try and eat our last meal in Dublin. Our last B &B was about 40 minutes outside of Dublin near the airport and wouldn't likely have as many eating options. Nick found a great Mexican restaurant on the Millennium walk.
That was some of the best Mexican food! It obviously wasn't a traditional Irish meal, but we had had our fill of fish n' chips up to that point. We practically ate our way through Ireland.
Around 8:45pm we left for our last B &B. Half way to our destination I realized I didn't have my phone. I frantically looked through my purse, but no luck. I waited until we could stop the car to look again. My mind was racing. Where could I have left it? We reached the town of Swords, but couldn't find our B & B. I still couldn't find my phone that had all the information we needed to find our B & B. We went searching for wifi, so Nick could connect his phone and I would be able to log into my email account. We found a pub with wifi. The locals in the pub were so helpful. They helped me remember which B & B it was by listing off names. One gentlemen called the owners of the B &B. It was located just up the road, but the owners had already gone to sleep and turned off their sign in their front yard!! (It was only 9:30pm) We thanked everyone and off we went.
When we arrived our hosts were so kind. They gave us a little breakfast to take with us on our early morning flight. We paid them ahead of time so they wouldn't have to get up at 4am. Then I started the hunt for my phone. I could only have left it at Guinness or at the Mexican restaurant. Nick went to clean out the car, and I started a search online to track my phone. Nick came back 10 minutes later with my phone. It had fallen out of my purse and landed under my seat. Phew! I wonder how many lives a phone has. I had just used two that day! It fell out of my purse and into the pouring rain, and then under my seat in a rental car. I was grateful to have it again!
The next morning, we had our last grand adventure. Well, maybe I wouldn't call it grand. We left at 4am to get to the airport. It was then that Nick decided to look for a gas station around the airport to fill up the tank. (I felt like I was having Deja Vu. Isn't this how we started our trip? Why not just fill a tank up BEFORE you leave for a trip?!) No gas station in or around the airport was open at 4am, and they don't take credit cards. You literally cannot fill up your tank at 4am in Dublin. We had to turn in the keys with half a tank, which meant we would be charged 80 Euro. Oh, well!
Next we drove our rental car over to the same location we had picked it up. The gates weren't open and there were no lights on. We drove around for 10 minutes trying to figure out what to do next. As we approached terminal 2, I started to freak out. We only had 45 minutes until our gate closed. We were driving around aimlessly. We couldn't figure out where to drop off our car. We still had to turn the keys in and get through security. Nick reacted as well. The words that came out of his mouth were, "We just have to turn in the car to the parking garage in terminal 2 like the guy said!!" What?! He knew where we had to turn in the car the WHOLE TIME?! Did he even hear what he said?! (I'm laughing just thinking about) We found the parking lot. The one and only spot for our car rental company was taken. How did they only have ONE spot?! We just parked next to it and started running. We ran up to the rental car desk and deposited our keys. Ok, it was more like STUFFEd them into an envelope and shoved them into the drop off point.
We ran from terminal 1 to terminal 2. We reached security, but the line was long. Both of our bags were needed to be rescanned and checked by security. I had completely forgotten about the glass jar of jam in my bag!! After rescanning my bag, the guard handed the jam back to me and told me to hide it in my purse but not to do it again. Phew!
We realized we actually had a few minutes to spare! All that panicking over nothing...or was it?! As we boarded our plane the flight attendant took looked at our tickets and passport. "Did you get these checked before going through security," she asked. I gave her a blank stare. "Is this your first time flying RyanAir," she asked. ....."yes," I said. I was having a mental panic attack. If we had to go back outside of security we certainly wouldn't be able to make our flight, AND I would definitely not get my jam back after going through security AGAIN! She looked at us...then waved us through. I breathed a sigh of relief. That was WAY too exciting for 4am.
Lessons to remember:
1. Don't lose your brain or phone the last 12 hours of a trip.
2. ALWAYS get gas in your car the night before a trip.
3. Pay attention to instructions about where to drop off your rental car.
4. Don't forget about your jam.
5. Always check in before going through security at the airport.
6. Avoid flying at 4am; it's too exciting.
Even though our morning was a little more exciting than we had hoped we were both pretty sad to have to leave. It was such a fun adventure! Ireland was so breathtakingly beautiful! Our pictures just don't do it justice. We are still trying to figure out a way we can go back and live there. I would be a street performer if I had to! So long Ireland...until next time!