While on a two week vacation in Ireland & London, I kept track of what we did and my own thoughts in order to help me remember. Two weeks is a long time! I realized other might benefit from my experience, or at least enjoy my photos. This should not serve as the definitive guide to Ireland, just my own wandering trip.
Day 11 – Belfast and Drogheda
We woke to blue skies and sun! It was so exciting we decided to head out and walk the Belfast Botanical gardens before leaving. At breakfast, we met a lovely American from San Diego who was here on a month long trip to find her ancestors. We talked with her about what we had seen and done, and she told us that the Irish men are ruthless when trying to get you into bed. We shared our story, and let her know that traveling married doesn’t always help!
We then headed to the Botanical gardens, which were somewhat of a disappointment. They were smaller than I had expected and it was early so much of it wasn’t open yet. We headed out of Belfast and started on our way back to Dublin.
The plan had always been to stop at a small town just north of Dublin the night before we left, so we didn’t have a lot of driving that morning. For whatever reason, I decided on Drogheda, something about “having heard of it before.” As we were walking down the street, wondering what we were doing in this nothing of a town, I remembered it’s a name of one of the plantations in Gone With The Wind!
On the way to Drogheda we stopped at Newgrange, which is one of the largest passage tombs in the world. It’s older than Stonehenge and the pyramids, and no one really knows why or how the Neolithic people built it.
In this section of Ireland, there are thousands of these tombs all over the place. Some have been excavated, some haven’t. Newgrange was excavated and “restored” in the 1970s. Its white stone façade is controversial, but since no one knows what these tombs really looked like, the team excavating it was able to take some liberties.
When we finally got to Drogheda, I needed to run more than anything. Getting runs in has been tough. By staying in B&B’s we have a set breakfast at 8AM and getting myself out of bed at 6:30 on vacation just isn’t happening. By the time we are done doing things, I am pretty pooped and need to rest before dinner. All lame excuses, but I had been feeling like I really needed to work out, so Jared and I went and explored the city. It was great.
However, our digs for the night were not. There aren’t any B&Bs in Drogheda town. So we had the choice of the 55 pound a night hostel or the 150 pound a night hotel. We chose the hostel and Jared’s very accurate comment was “I think I am beyond the point in my life where I need to be staying in hostels!”
We did manage to shower without catching anything, and headed out for dinner, to find out there really isn’t any place to eat in Drogheda. Finally a nice woman took pity on us and showed us to The Hotel where the local prom was taking place. The bartender was nice enough to get us some dinner, even though dinner had technically ended. We ate surrounded by 18 year olds in formal wear while we ate chicken curry and stir-fry. It was awesome.
We then stopped by the pub, but there really isn’t any craic on Tuesday nights. So we headed back to the hostel and packed up to head to London in the morning.