UK & Ireland, Day 12: Ireland's World Famous Shopping Street

Sunday, 6/5/16

We stopped for breakfast at Established Coffee in Belfast where we shared a Lemon-Almond Cake, a pretty but bitter and flavorless latte, and a poached egg on toast. The cashier asked us where we were from, and she said that she would be flying to Chicago in August and traveling around Midwest. [It's been 2 months since we were in Ireland, so this is now, lol!] She commented on how much easier it is to travel in the US - there are so many hotels around, and you can just pull off the highway and stop wherever is convenient for you. It's so true! We could probably count on one hand the number of times we've had difficulty finding a place to stay in the US.
Established Coffee
Our first stop of the day was the Castle Espie Wetland Centre since I'm a total bird nerd. There was a bike marathon going on that delayed their opening, so we were just hanging outside watching the ducks for a while.  But holy heck, this place was a bird lovers' dream.
Castle Espie Wildlife Center
We definitely learned that loud birds mean babies are nearby - and they may dive bomb you - and babies tend to look nothing like their adult counterparts. Boy, are they camouflaged well!
This is probably not safe for young eyes, but we discovered that there had been a duck massacre. :(
There was a little park area with some mini zip-lines that we took turns trying out.
We ended up taking the long way to Dublin, which I kind of regretted. We stopped at Kilclief Castle, the oldest datable tower-house in County Down. There wasn't much to see here, and we were still 2.5 hours outside of Dublin, so I consider this a total waste of time.
Kilclief Castle
We stopped for ice cream and got a Banoffee, which featured Toffee Fudge and vanilla ice cream in a rich butterscotch sauce with banana and crushed Cadbury's flake.
Back in Dublin, we headed to Grafton St., Ireland's World Famous Shopping Street.
We grabbed dinner at The Counter where we ordered way more food than we should have. We shared a delicious shake - I think it was the Nutella + Salted Pretzel - and had Fries + Crispy Onion Strings + Sweet Potato Fries and a Build Your Own Burger.
We walked over to St. Patrick's Cathedral - we had just missed the opening hours, so we just walked around the exterior.
We headed back over toward our car.
Cool street performers
Still so stuffed from dinner, I couldn't pass up some artisan ice cream from Murphy's. We sampled a few flavors, and I asked a question about the Sticky Toffee Pudding sundae...and the guy at the counter proceeded to make me a tiny sundae. It was the cutest thing ever, complete with a tiny dollop of flavored whipped cream! We ended up with this sundae with Honeycomb Caramel.
We stayed at the Hotel ibis Dublin, and there was some confusion when we went to check in. We had booked through Travelocity, and the desk attendant insisted that we needed to pay now that we had arrived. I was pretty confident that all of our hotels for the trip had been prepaid, but after explaining this to her, I just went along with it. After we got to our room, I got on the Wi-Fi to check our credit card, and of course we had already paid. It was no big deal to go back to the front desk and have our account credited. Overall, our room was quiet, so we enjoyed our stay here.
Hotel ibis Dublin


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