catalina island, california

Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

From Dublin to Bergen

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Blah, sorry for the lack of posts. Time for the finale of Eurotrip II.

After Dublin, my next destination was Bergen, Norway after a (very) short night spent in Oslo. My objective of visiting Norway was to both get a taste of the scenery over the six hour train ride from Oslo to Bergen and then to experience the culture by hanging out in Bergen for a few days.

The fog that caused our Ryanair pilots to abort the landing in Torp, Norway before trying again a few minutes later.  Quite alarming.

On the way to Bergen.

The glacier near Finse, which was the highest point on our way to Bergen (1222 meters).

The fjords near Bergen on an unusually clear day.

Hill of Tara and Newgrange

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Since Dublin is relatively isolated from many of the traditional Irish destinations, I chose to spend my full day in Ireland visiting the nearby Boyne Valley and taking in the the countryside. Specifically, I joined a tour by Mary Gibbons that took us to the Hill of Tara and Newgrange.

The Hill of Tara dates to Neolithic times (~3000 BC). It’s most popularly known as serving as the seat of the Irish kings (~600 AD), and more recently (~1900) it was excavated by British Israelites who thought that the Ark of the Covenant was buried there. Currently (October 24, 2007), it’s basically just a hill.

Newgrange is part of the Brú na Bóinne complex (a collection of Neolithic chamber tombs). Built between 3300-2900 BC, it’s an UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s 500 years older than the Great Pyramid and predates stonehenge by 1,000 years. The Newgrange tomb was excavated and restored between 1962-1975, and it was discovered that on the Winter Solstice, the sun’s light illuminates the inner chamber for 17 minutes. I joined the tour group and squeezed through the entrance to see the inner chamber firsthand (no pictures allowed), and I entered the lottery for a chance to watch the Winter Solstice in person.

The view from the Hill of Tara.


The view from Newgrange.

Megalithic art at the base of Newgrange.

The white quartzite restoration of the Newgrange facade.


Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Based at Barnacles Hostel in the Temple Bar district, I spent three days touring Dublin and the surrounding area. I liked the city, and the people I met in the hostel made it easy to adjust to traveling solo again. Here’re some photos from Dublin.

The Temple Bar in the Temple Bar district.

Parliament Square at Trinity College.

The Ha'penny Bridge over the River Liffey.

Dublin from the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse.

Bedford Tower at Dublin Castle.

Eurotrip II

Monday, December 10th, 2007

From October 23 – November 3, I traveled solo on my second major trip through Europe. Over 11 days, I managed to visit four countries (Ireland, Norway, Scotland, and England), explore a monument older than the pyramids, experience an aborted plane landing, meet new people through CouchSurfing, sail across the North Sea, celebrate Halloween in Edinburgh, and spend a night on the streets of London. My goal is to have Eurotrip II blogged before Christmas.

Eurotrip II

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

The mid-semester break has arrived! Tomorrow I leave for Ireland, followed by Norway and the United Kingdom. Stay tuned!