I woke up the second day of the trip feeling fine, which surprised me. I had expected it to take at least a day, and probably two or three, to get over the jet lag and get my internal clock reset. We slept in a bit more than we planned to (just until around 9 though), but then we got on the road fairly quickly and headed to Newgrange. We had time to kill before we caught a bus to the tomb for our tour, so we got food and wandered around the visitor's center. Also got a good many pictures on the way over to the bus. Again, Ireland wowed me with it's schizophrenic weather. It was sunny and warm when we first got there, then got cooler by the time we'd eaten, started pouring rain on the bus, stopped at the beginning of our tour, rained some more while we were inside...you get the picture.
The inside of the tomb was really cool. We walked up a narrow passageway into the main part of the tomb. Then the tour guide, after telling us some of the history of the site, shut off the lights and demonstrated with a light bulb how light comes into the tomb - the entrance of the tomb is perfectly aligned so that during the winter solstice, when the sun rises the rays pass through the roofbox (a special hole just above the door). The light goes up the passageway, which slopes upward (again, perfectly) so that the light directly hits the inner chamber and completely illuminates it. Pretty cool how accurately that was set up, especially considering the tomb was built over 5,000 years ago! Apparently you can enter a lottery to have the chance to go into the tomb at sunrise during the winter solstice to see it firsthand instead of with an electric light. If I ever live in Ireland (or at least closer so a trip would be more feasible) I'd definitely try for that. With my luck though it would be cloudy that day and I wouldn't get to see anything.
After we were done at Newgrange we caught the bus back to the car, and went to our next stop - Malahide Castle. We took a guided tour through the entire castle, but again we weren't allowed any photography or video. It's a shame - there were a lot of interesting rooms and art, antique furniture, etc., and the Great Hall was amazing. So was the library.... We were able to wander around outside and get pictures though, of the castle and the cemetery and parts of the grounds.
Once we left Malahide, we headed back to Jade's house. Not far from her house is a park that has the remains of Rossmore Castle. Unfortunately the castle was completely demolished, so there's not much left of it aside from parts of the foundation and the dungeon. There are a lot of paths through the woods in that area though, and we spent a couple of hours there while Jade showed me some of the gardens, the Pet Cemetery (lol), a waterfall (a frog scared Jade to death while we were looking for it, and we caught it on video...) and some great scenery. We also went to the mausoleum (I'm not positive that's what it was but something along those lines), and I randomly climbed over a gap in the wall around it to get pictures of the graves in the area behind it. And of course then I had issues climbing back out again, because the wall was much higher from the other side as I had nothing to stand on. All in all the park was a lot of fun, it was cool having something nearby to do and it reminded me a bit of some of the parks around here that I love going to. Minus the castle, of course.
Here's the video with the frog! Please ignore the stupid watermark in the middle of the picture - I had to find a way to convert my mp4 to something I could edit. I'm just using the trial version so I'm stuck with the watermark, as I don't do enough video editing to justify paying for the full version of the program. And of course between the watermark, the size of the video, and the downgrade in quality when I changed the file format, you can't even see the damn frog...figures.
The sad thing is that I have probably 40 videos from the trip and Jade and I are that ridiculous in nearly ALL of them. ^_^
At any rate, after Rossmore we went back to Jade's house for dinner, and then we went for a drive. There's a mountain with some really nice views quite close to her house so we headed there for pictures at sunset. We kind of missed sunset, but we were close enough that I still got some nice pictures.
Will post the next day of the trip soon, though I might have to start splitting it up and doing two posts for each day, considering the number of pictures I have! We'll see though.
1. Newgrange, view from the front (believe it or not it was pouring down rain 10 minutes before this picture was taken)
2. Entrance to Newgrange, the entrance stone with megalithic art, and the roofbox
3. Malahide Castle
4. Me sitting on the random wall I was climbing
5. A great and terrifying frog! (I love you Jade, don't hurt me)
6. One of the pictures I took near Jade's house