Part 1: Gettin’ Jiggy in Ireland

I know this blog post is late (try 4 months late, Christina), but you’ll have to forgive me with my tardiness in blogging about my trip to Ireland earlier this year. Between competing, work and vevamping my business, my plate was far too full to tackle this blog series at the same time.

Now that I have some down time, I’m finally able to give you a detailed account of my trip to Ireland! Granted this is the first three days of my trip, but you’ll have to stay tuned for more posts sharing my travels in Ireland and England. 😉

Day 1 & 2: April 11-12, 2017

One thing I have learned from this trip is that there’s nothing better than packing light and only having one bag to worry about during our Euro-trip. I also learned that there’s nothing worse than having to shove everything into a single carry-on bag that didn’t exceed 10 kg.

You see… it wasn’t just about ensuring I had enough clothes and necessities to get my through the trip. I also had to find a way to squeeze in two sets of dances shoes, electrical tape, a wig and crown, and a ballgown into the damn thing. Did I mention that this suitcase was only 21.5″ by 15″ and pushed the limit for dimensions for the smaller European airline specifications? Needless to say, packing for an 11-day-long trip was no easy feat.😑

After managing to pull off a miracle in making everything fit under the weight limit (WestJet wasn’t my concern – it was Aer Lingus and Ryan Air that had specific weight limits), we packed up the Jeep and were on route to the Edmonton International Airport. After checking in for our flight, we hit up Starbucks and killed two hours before finally boarding our plane to Toronto. From there, we made our connecting flight to London.

Armed with the entire second season of Outlander, The Last Kingdom and many other Netflix provided shows, I was able to get through the majority of the flight without dozing off. I had to do everything I could to acclimatize myself to the time change before competing at the World Irish Dance Championships on April 15th. I managed to finish off the majority of Outlander before we landed in London for our connecting flight to Dublin via Are Lingus.☘️

After a long travel day, we finally landed in Dublin on April 12th. We checked into the hotel rooms, met up with the remaining part of the dance fam (sans my sister who was flying in that Friday) and hit the town to grab some dinner. After walking down Temple Bar and admiring the many lights and sounds it brought, we decided on Milano – Clarion Quay.*🍕 After getting a solid meal in us (I had the Pollo Forza GF pizza and it was to DIE for), we all returned to the hotel and crashed for the night. And by crashed, I mean I slept like someone had knocked me out cold until the alarm went off early the next morning.

*We later realized that this was a part of the Pizza Express chain. We ate at Pizza Express frequently throughout our trip due to the limited amount of options we had for Gluten Free meals.

Day 3: April 13th, 2017

Since my sister was coming out the next day, we tried to keep out travels within close proximity of the Buswells Hotel. We sat down for a quick breakfast at our hotel and made our way over to Trinity College Dublin to start our jam-packed day of sightseeing.

Detail of a bookshelf in the Long Room at Trinity College Library. April 2017.

Trinity College was one of the many places we wanted to visit, both for the Old Library and the Book of Kells exhibition. The Book of Kells is one of the world’s most famous medieval manuscripts depicting the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ and dates back to the 9th century. The first thing that crossed my mind when I finally laid eyes on the book was how small it was. I was always under the impression that the Book of Kells would be a large manuscript that mimicked those seen in TV and films depicting the medieval period. As always, Hollywood had painted a farce in my mind. That being said, I was amazed with the complexity of the images due to its size – as well as the information I had learned in the exhibit prior to entering the book’s resting place.

After finishing the exhibit and making our way through the gift shop, we were off to the next location. Our next stop: the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. Despite my communications background, I took courses in classics and archaeology for my general courses and absolutely adored it. A part of me will forever be jealous of my sister who is currently graduating from MacEwan University with a major in anthropology. Alas, I digress.

Detail of the entryway ceiling in the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. April 2017.

Long story short, the museum was amazing. Whether it was admiring the Viking artifacts in the Irish Archaeological Collection or viewing the Egyptian antiquities, I was a metaphorical pig in sh*t – pardon my French. My family and I always make it a priority to visit the various museums when travelling and it’s one of my favourite outings. The museum had exhibits that each of us wanted to view and no one left feeling the least bit disappointed.

Once we finished at the museum, we hit our final stop of the day at Dublin Castle. Before we delve into the castle visit further, I’ll just state that it’s not what you’d typically expect a traditional castle to look like. As we learned later in the tour, there was one part of the structure that remains of the medieval castle – the Record Tower. For those of you who decide to Google to castle itself, you’ll see the tower next to the Chapel Royal.

Detail of a chandelier in the State Apartments’ Portrait Gallery in Dublin Castle. April 2017.

For anyone who is visiting Dublin and is considering the trip to Dublin Castle, I would highly recommend paying the €10 for the guided tour. It takes just over an hour to finish the tour and includes the State Apartments, the Viking Excavation and the Chapel Royal. Overall, it was beautiful in more ways than one and I was happy we took the time to walk through it.

While I wish I could post the entire trip in a single blog post, it would take an exponential amount of time to read the final product. Stay tuned for the next post detailing days 4 to 6 as we explore the beautiful country of Ireland!

About Christina Zoernig

Christina Zoernig is a St.Albert-based photographer who specializes in lifestyle, landscape and portrait photography. She's also a digital media specialist with a journalism background. When she's not busy competing as an Irish dancer or focusing on her day job, you'll often find her with my camera and a chai tea latte in hand!

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