So I'm dividing this up into the different areas we traveled: Ireland, England, Benelux (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg - minus the Luxembourg), and France. Then I'll end with some planning advice and things we learned from our trip!
Part 1: Ireland - 14-17 September
We woke up early the next morning (16 Sept), and grabbed breakfast and snacks for lunch at the Tesco supermarket across the street from our hotel. Then we hopped on the Luas (light rail) to ride into downtown Dublin. First, we picked up our hop-on hop-off bus tickets, and then rode the double decker bus a few stops to our first sight-seeing stop, Trinity College. Our main interest was the Book of Kells, illuminated manuscripts of the four Gospels that date back to 800 AD. Above the exhibit, located in the Old Library, is the Long Room. This room was awesome; it holds thousands of rare books and artifacts in a room 213 feet long. I wish I could have that room in my house.
Next, we hopped on our bus and headed over to the National Museum of Ireland, had a picnic lunch at St. Stephen's Green, and then visited Kilmainham Gaol. This was the jail where many of the Irish revolutionaries were held and executed in the early 1900s. We also explored Grafton Street (a giant pedestrian way), Dame Street, the Dublin Castle (didn't go in), and the Temple Bar neighborhood. We finished the night with dinner at the Porterhouse pub in Temple Bar, then headed back on the Luas to our hotel. After all that walking, we slept very well that night. We headed back to the airport the next morning, dropped off our car, and boarded our Aer Lingus flight to the London Gatwick airport!