Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Luck of the Irish!

Yes, this post is long overdue, but here is a recap of our awesome trip overseas!

Our quote of the trip was, "We just keep coming up green!" because we had such amazing luck in Ireland.  No matter what we were doing, it all seemed to work out perfectly.  Loved, loved, loved that trip!!

A few months ago Tina, Mike, and our friend Bryce found this awesome flight to Ireland and decided to jump on it.  $380 round trip per person!  They actually booked the flights while I was at work and then called to tell me we were going to Ireland! 

Fast forward a few months and the time was here.  There were six of us that went, and it was the perfect size group, and the perfect people to go with.  Everyone was laid back and pretty "go with the flow", which made this whirlwind trip a little bit more relaxing.

The six of us (me, Mike, Tina, Jay, Bryce, and his girlfriend Bridget, whom I'd never met until this trip) flew out of the Newark airport on a Thursday night around 7:15 PM.  It was a really long day because Mike and I drove from Raleigh to Philly, then from Philly to Newark with Tina and Jay, and then got on a 7 hour flight to Ireland.  Plus we lost 5 hours with the time change, so we arrived in Ireland Friday morning around 7AM their time and got our day started with zero sleep since Wednesday night.  Phew!

We flew into Dublin and were spending our first night there at a place called the Clontarf Castle.  It was gorgeous, and they let us check in when we arrived at 9AM, which was an added bonus.  I ended up taking about a 2 hour nap, which helped tremendously.  Then around noon we headed out to check out Dublin.

 Here are some pics of the Castle:

We made it out of the Castle walls and now we're trying to figure out where we need to go.  By "we" I mean Tina, Mike, and Bryce.  Jay, Bridget and I kinda took a backseat with the planning of this trip.  We were along for the ride :)

Next stop was the Hop On Hop Off bus tour of Dublin:

There were a lot of old churches that I took pics of but don't remember any of their names.  Should've written them down as we went.  Ooops!

The most important stop on this tour was the Guiness Brewery.  Old churches are cool, but let's face it, this crew was far more interested in getting to the brewery!

At the top floor of the brewery was a huge circular room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking Dublin!  We picked the perfect day to go there too, because it was an unusually gorgeous day in Ireland! 

After we left the Brewery we explored the city a little bit more and decided to have the traditional fish and chips for dinner.  Hmmmm, it tasted good at the time, but boy was it fried!  And greasy!

And we ate it on the side of the road off of a concrete wall.  And yes, our packaging left grease marks on that concrete wall.

On our way back to the Castle later that evening two of the three boys crashed....

But Mike was raring to go, and he wasn't about to let them go to bed at 8PM, so he got us all to rally and hit up the Castle bar when we got there.  Leave it to my husband to enforce the strict drinking rules ;)

The next morning we were off to Dingle, which was about a 4.5 hour car ride to the southwest corner of Ireland.  We saw some gorgeous Irish countryside on the way...

 And we saw some sheep in the road...

We stopped at this place along the way that we knew nothing about, but it looked pretty so we pulled over.   This is where my February self portrait was taken.

Then Mike decided to start climbing these naturally we all followed ;)

About halfway up we found this!  A gorgeous lake that was apparently called Peddlers Lake.

Teeny tiny Jess and Mike

The King of the World!

Around 4:45 PM we finally made it to our Bed and Breakfast in Dingle.  Here it is...the Lighthouse.

And here is the view from the porch!  So beautiful!!

And the view from our bedroom window...

It was so peaceful and quiet there :)

The crew.  And yes, Mike is wearing the random pair of glasses that he found in our rental van.  He can't see at all with them on, but thought he looked cool.  Gotta love him ;)

Lucky, the Lighthouse Watch Dog...

At the recommendation of the B+B owner, we decided to take a drive around the Dingle peninsula.  We didn't have much time though because the sun was setting fast.

When we got back, we headed out for dinner and drinks in Dingle, then got up early the next morning to head north to Galway.  See what I mean about whirlwind trip???

We stopped along the way at the Cliffs of Moher...

It was a little bit misty that day.  Kind of what you would expect the weather to be in Ireland.

Bryce and Jay ventured out on this little trail.  The rest of us hung back in safety.

But Mike climbed over right as they were coming back to hop in this pic and make it look like he was there the whole time.  Notice his head in the back?  Very sneaky ;)

We continued on to Galway and were stopped by this.....  Yup, cows in the road.

And that guy was herding them with his Jeep-like vehicle.  Crazy.  He was a friendly guy and gave us a huge grin and a wave when we finally made it through.

Eventually (around 6PM, I think) we made it to Galway.  Here is where we stayed that night.  It was small quarters, but nice enough.

We ate dinner at this awesome place called Nimmos, and our waitress, Amelia, was amazing.  She gave us recommendations on what bar to hit up afterwards and where to go in Dublin the next day.  She was so friendly and helpful. 

After dinner we headed to the bar that Amelia recommended.  She told us it was where the locals go, and there aren't many tourists that know about it.  Well, she was right.  We stuck out like sore thumbs!  It was so funny, because when we walked in everyone stared at us.  But the people in Ireland were nothing  but nice to us the whole trip, so it was fine.  We listened to some live traditional Irish music there, which was really fun!  Then a drunk guy got escorted out by a HUGE bouncer (reminded us of Hagrid from Harry Potter), and they padlocked the door after they kicked him out!  That's right.  He was locked out....but we were also locked in!  It was weird, and something that you'd never see in the U.S.  When we left a little bit later we had to go out the back door.

That night poor Bridget got violently ill and Bryce knocked on Mike's and my door at 4:30 AM asking what he should do.  She was throwing up every ten minutes for 3 hours!  I think she had some kind of GI bug.  It wasn't from drinking, because we didn't drink very much that night.  And it couldn't have been food either because we all shared food.  Bryce thought maybe he should take her to the hospital, but Mike and I nixed that idea.  A hospital in a foreign country?  No thanks, not unless she's on her death bed.  I told him she probably had a similar thing that I had a few weeks ago and it would stop on its own in a few hours.  Try to keep her hydrated, and wait it out.

So around 7:30AM, she finally stopped throwing up and she and Bryce tried to get some rest while the rest of us checked out Galway.

Look what we found!....

It was a women's clothing store, ha ha!

We were on a mission to find some nice woolen clothing to take home as souvenirs of our trip.   Everyone succeeded on this mission except me.  Mike bought a sweater and hat, Tina bought two hats, and Jay bought a sweater.  I wanted a scarf, but couldn't find what I was looking for.  Oh well.

Then I had to get a few pics of our trusty (or not) van, Molly.
There she is...missing hub cap and all.

Around lunchtime we headed out of Galway and back to Dublin.  Our trip was coming to a close already!  :(  Luckily for Bridget, the road back to Dublin was straight, and not the hilly, narrow, windy roads we had been navigating thus far.

Here we all are in our van.  Normally Bridget sat in the back where Tina was, but since she was feeling sick we "allowed" her to sit in the "Death Seat".  Nice of us huh?  We named the passenger seat the "Death Seat" because the roads were so narrow and we hit a fair amount of curbs on that side.  Normally Jay got the privilege of sitting there :)  Mike and Bryce were our drivers and they both did a fantastic job.  Especially considering they had to drive on the opposite side of the road, in a country they didn't know, down VERY narrow, VERY windy roads.  Great job boys!

Once we got back to Dublin Bridget headed to the room since she still felt like dirt and the rest of us headed out in Dublin in search of my woolen scarf and something woolen for Bryce and Bridget (since they missed the exploring in Galway).  Unfortunately, once again we failed miserably.  By the time we got to the stores they were closed for the day.

On the bright side, we did get this cute cup of hot chocolate and delicious dessert:

We were all wiped out from our trip in general, so after dinner we headed back to our hotel in Temple Bar.

View from our hotel

Some neat chairs in our swanky hotel...

We got one drink in the hotel bar and then called it a night.  We all had to get up at 5AM to be on the road to the airport by 6AM.

Tuesday was another very long day.  Especially for Mike and I.  A 7.5 hour plane ride, followed by 1.5 hour drive to Philly, and then a 9 hour drive back to Raleigh.  Yeah, we were wiped out by the time we got home. 

I LOVED Ireland!!!  We had such a fantastic time, and I only wish we had a little bit more time.  We had a great group and we all got along perfectly, which was awesome!  Can't wait for our next trip with this crew.  Costa Rica anyone???

1 comment:

  1. YES! I'm up for Costa Rica! I agree, it was the perfect group to go on a trip together:)