The Search for a Leprechaun is On!

This post is mainly about going to Ireland for the weekend. My game for you is to find the Leprechaun in one of my pictures. If you find him, help yourself to a shot of Jameson.

To my adventures…I started my trip with a great day of tennis on Thanksgiving. I met Graeme and we went to the ATP Men’s Tennis Finals taking place at the O2 arena in London. The top eight players battle it out to see who’s the best at the end of the year.

I was hoping to see Andy Murray, the Brit, play but 1) he pulled out with a pulled groin and 2) he wouldn’t have been playing that day anyway.

The craziest arena I have ever seen--the O2

The O2 was really huge. Not only was there the arena in there, but it was surrounded by restaurants and bars.

A doubles match was first, but then the amazing Roger Federer played the American Mardy Fish. It wasn’t a Happy Thanksgiving for Mardy. Roger is just too good. It was so much fun to watch him again. He makes it all look so effortless. I could see his wife Mirka in the stands. It was funny because she barely ever clapped. I guess, though, if you had seen Roger play that many times and win that many times, you’d get sick of clapping after every point he won.

Roger warming up before the match.

I'm a happy tennis fan!

After the first two matches, we had a little break. But it was soon time for more tennis. There was a pretty great doubles match first.

Doubles Time

Then the real entertainment started. Rafael Nadal versus Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I was starting to get tired from the long day, so of course the match went on for three amazing sets. Being exhausted by the time I got to my hostel in London was worth it, though. It was the greatest match I’ve ever seen live.

A great point between Nadal and Tsonga

The next day, I explored a London a little more before Sam met with me to go to Ireland.

The Prime Minister lives behind those bars

I finallly made my way to 10 Downing Street–the home of the British Prime Minister. I knew it was behind bars but it was still disappointing when I got there.

Liam Neeson sat on this bench in the movie Love Actually

I found the bench where Liam Neeson has a heart to heart with his stepson in the movie Love Actually. I love finding movie spots if you hadn’t noticed yet.

Sam and I got on a coach Friday night which took us on a ferry to Ireland. It was a looong night and we ended up in Dublin way too early in the morning. We ate breakfast at the only place open…McDonald’s.

After the city woke up, we got tickets for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus of Dublin. We were able to see quite a bit on Saturday.

We visited the Dublin Castle.

Dublin Castle

And a couple Cathedrals.

St Patrick's Cathedral

Then we went to the Guinness Storehouse. It’s this huge building that the inside is shaped like a Guinness pint glass. You go up the levels and learn about how Guinness is made. There were also sections about advertising and a cafe and pub. It was pretty neat.

Guinness in Dublin!

We then went to a park and saw the Wellington Monument. There’s monuments to him all over the UK. He defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. He was also a Prime Minister–the only Irish one ever.

The Wellington Monument--he was Irish

We came across this sign on a bus stop and it still boggles me. I hope you find it as funny as I did.

Miller Time in the City of Guinness????

We then continued the Irish tradition of drinking anytime of day by hitting up the Jameson Distillery.

Sam and I at the Jameson Distillery

They had a little video about how Jameson first started. Then we went on a tour of what an old Jameson distillery would have looked like and how the whiskey would have been made. After the tour, we were given some Jameson to drink. I had mine with ginger ale and a twist of lime. It wasn’t that bad actually.

For dinner we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. Again we tried the Local Legendary Burger. I don’t know how it was ‘local’ to Dublin or Ireland. It had salsa on it. But it was very, very tasty. Later that night, as we were walking back to our hostel, I found a celebrity!

Ran into the Hoff

The Hoff in Dublin! Who would’ve guessed? It obviously wasn’t really David Hasslehoff but some drunk guy dressed as him. Since it wasn’t Halloween, I’m guessing him and his buddies were dressed up for a bachelor party or something.

The next day we saw some more of Dublin’s sights. One of my favorites was the statue of Molly Malone. She was a fishmonger by day and a well…lady of the night by night. She must have been pretty good to get a statue.

The famous Molly Malone

We went to a few museums and did some shopping before it got dark. Then we enjoyed the Christmas lights and carol concert.

An Irish Xmas

I enjoyed Dublin, but it wasn’t my favorite. I much prefer London. I wish we had more time to get out of the city and really see Ireland. I guess that gives me a reason to go back though.

Playing cards on the ferry back to the UK

Then we were on the coach and ferry home. It was another long night. If I do make it back to Ireland, I’m taking trains and airplanes.

When we got to London the next morning, I enjoyed my last day in London. I cashed in my oyster card–the card to use for the tube. Then I walked around the Westminster area and did my last London shopping. It was bittersweet. I really do love London.

Last day in London :(

Buckingham Palace was the last big sight I revisited.

Sorry for the delay on the blog posts. I got really caught up in essays and my final weeks that I just didn’t have time. I am home now and had to take time to readjust and enjoy my family. I have at least one more blog post I’ll get up within a week to finish up my adventure abroad. Thanks to all who have been reading.

Oh, did you find the Leprechaun? There’s a leprechaun head in the picture of Molly Malone. Two guys dressed up as cartoon leprechauns by her. One had set his head down behind her and I just captured it.

Wishing you the luck of the Irish,

Jenny

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