Ireland: Day 3 – Gardens, and Castles, and Books…Oh My!

We woke up bright and early despite the drizzle outside, almost ready to begin our day exploring Dublin before traveling across the country to Tralee. But of course, how could anybody be ready for the day without downing some good old Irish breakfast?

As we entered the dining room, we walked right into a table covered in brown bread, cereals, granola, juices and coffee. We were thrilled with the choices when we were handed a menu by one of the owners, who offered to whip up anything we wanted. I ended up going with the half Irish, which was more than enough needed to get me going.

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We began our day with a guided tour of Trinity College, including the library and the Book of Kells. I’m not at all exaggerating when I say that our tour guide, a current Trinity grad student, was a legitimate Harry Potter look alike, something that he himself even announced before we began. The fact that the tour guides must wear the old Trinity robes that all students had to wear at one point only brought it out even more.

 

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Trinity College Library really is even more amazing in person than it is in photographs. My favorite part would have to be the fourteen busts representing the faces of various philosophers, writers, and supporters of the college.

For those wondering, no, Trinity College Library is not the library where Harry Potter is shot. I hadn’t heard this, but apparently it’s a very common rumor especially amongst tour guides in Ireland, and so our tour guide made sure we had the facts before our tour began. The actual library used for library scenes in three of the films was Bodleian Library at Oxford.

Of course no trip to Trinity College is complete without paying a visit to the well-known Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. When it comes to time to enter this area, you receive a stern warning to not take any photos. Being both a history junkie, and a lover of religious studies courses,  seeing the Book of Kells was high on my list of must-do’s.

After Trinity, we switched course towards St. Stephen’s Green. We did some shopping along the way, stopping to grab some ice cream from Murphy’s, records, and scarves from an Aran Sweater Market.

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It didn’t take us long to get to St. Stephen’s Green, however it did take us a while before we actually entered as we got a bit distracted. Surrounding the park were numerous artists selling and showcasing their art work, not one who wasn’t super talented and original. Even at home, stopping to admire art is definitely a pastime of mine.

There was only more beauty to be found inside. I gravitated towards the flora and fountains, my sister towards the duck-filled ponds, but my mother, after getting her hands on a park map, made it her mission to locate numerous statues located around the park. But of all, the one she had to find was The Three Fates.

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Unfortunately, we had to miss out on the Little Museum of Dublin, which I had been highly anticipating visiting, but that just means we have more on our agenda next time we’re here.

After gathering our bags, and leaving half at our next Dublin hotel, where we’d come back to after a few days on the other side of the country, we hopped our train to Tralee.

The ride required one train switch and in total took approximately four hours, but with the gorgeous views of hillsides and cows, how could we complain? But it did help that we sprung for VIP seats. You’d be surprised how much more comfortable you are with reclining seats and wifi.

Before we knew it, we were stepping out of a cab in front of Ballyseede Castle, being welcomed by Einstein, one of the friendly dogs that calls the more than 400 year old castle home.

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Ballyseede was everything we had imagined, with beautiful guest rooms, gardens, and common areas that still managed to not to drift too far from the true, vintage castle feel. If  have any complaints, it is one, and it’s one I know many prior guests have experienced as we had read through numerous reviews before booking.

To avoid making unfulfillable promises, guest services avoids letting guests request which room or floor they’d prefer prior to check-in. Because of this we ended up on the basement floor, which did have large size rooms, however cell service was virtually non existent. Wi-fi was available everywhere on the entire premises until you reached the stairwell leading down to our floor. Typically this wouldn’t be an issue for me as sometimes lack of wi-fi forces you to be more in the moment. However, we had no cell reception either. I’m talking zero bars. So if there happened to be an emergency or my mother, who runs her own business and is consistently receiving client calls had a call, we’d have not known about it until we left the floor of our room. I did leave a comment on a review sheet in the room as I feel it needs to either be fixed or specified to guests before they choose to stay here.

But other than that, Ballyseede was absolutely lovely, especially if you’re a dog person. To my fellow humans cursed with dog allergies, staying here is not a problem. We had no issues with dog shedding or dogs constantly being around. In fact we had to seek out the adorable pups when we wanted.

The bartender and waiter of the bar was super kind and helpful when it came to our let arrival, making us cheese and ham sandwiches. And the complimentary breakfast, which is a buffet + entree, was delicious.

After exploring, and wandering the gardens obviously pretending I was Alice, we decided to hit the hay early before the long day ahead of us.

 

Read about the rest of our Ireland Adventure:

Ireland: Day 7 – A Man Named John Jameson (2016)

Ireland: Day 6 – The Rock of Cashel and the Gift of Gab (2016)

Ireland: Days 5: Bidding Adieu to Ballyseede Castle (2016)

Ireland: Day 4 – Adventures Through the Gap (2016)

Ireland: Day 3 – Gardens, and Castles, and Books…Oh My! (2016)

Ireland: Day 2 – Towers, Cliffs & the Burren (2016)

Ireland: Day 1 – The Three Musketeers Take on EPIC (2016)

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