Tuesday, March 8, 2011






                    Did not disappoint.

My long awaited trip to Ireland, my life-long dream, was beyond amazing.  Ireland is truly all that I imagined it to be.  Green.  Lush.  Friendly.  Relaxed.  Mind boggling gorgeous.  Magical.

One week is definitely not enough time.  When you break it down, we only spent 6 days there.  Our first day (Saturday) was spent sleeping and settling in.  Which left us 5 days to see the sites.  

Lunch at Cracker Barrel on way to JFK

We left JFK about Midnight Friday night (Feb 25, 2011), had dinner on the plane, and watched a few movies (The Switch, The Social Network) .  We landed at 8:30 am Saturday morning, and I was so overwhelmed that I cried as we landed.  After getting through customs, picking up our rental car, driving an hour to our hotel, we finally got to our room/apartment about Noon.  Denise and I took much needed and long awaited showers, and went to bed.  Elizabeth and Mariah freshened up and went out grocery shopping out in town and got some dinner at one of the restaurants on the hotel property.  Elizabeth cooked dinner in the apartment later that night, chicken and rice.

Cemetery at local Catholic church

Sunday morning we went to Mass... walked to the local community Catholic church directly across the road from the hotel.  Then off for lunch in Port Arlington and on to Kilkenny Castle.  We missed the final tour of the day, so just wandered around the property.  Mariah made dinner in our apartment when we got back home... spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread.

Kilkenny Castle

Monday was Elizabeth's birthday!  We caught the train at Port Arlington and went in to Dublin.  Went to the Guinness factory and had our complimentary pint of Guinness, saw Trinity College (I waited outside while the others went in) & Dublin Castle.  I wandered up and down Grafton street while the others went to the National Museum, & we all rode in a horse drawn carriage.  We had lunch at a pub, and dinner that night back at the apartment... Elizabeth made grilled ham & cheese sandwiches.

Slainte!  Top of Guinness factory, complimentary pints

Our horse drawn carriage driver, Dublin Jerry

Tuesday was a trip out west to the Cliffs of Moher (Co Clare) and on to the city of Galway... experienced our first true Irish country winding one-lane road that afternoon.  Whew!   We had sandwiches at the onsite restaurant at the Cliffs, and had dinner at a yummy Italian restaurant in Galway.  Left Galway after dark and apparently had a long, dark, scary drive home.  I wouldn't know because I slept the whole way home.

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
On the road to Galway, random tower
On the road to Galway
On the road to Galway, sheep in a pasture
Galway, City Center

Wednesday was spa day for the other Ladies, and I spent the morning catching up on my sleep.  Had a lazy day reading, doing laundry, and playing on the computer.  I had lunch at the apartment, but didn't eat much else that day because my belly wasn't feeling on par.

Thursday we were off to the south, our destination: Blarney Castle.  There was extreme dense fog, and there was a 15-car pile up on the motorway, and we were detoured through the countryside and the local roads.  Finally pulled off in Cashel in Co Tipperary and had lunch.  Saw the rock of Cashel and visited a lovely little woolen shop.  On to Cork and the Blarney Castle.  I had no intention of going up to the top of the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, but found myself climbing the very narrow and tight spiral stairway up to the top... didn't do well because of my claustrophobia, but I made it.  Once at the top, I figured I made it that far, I might as well lean over backwards and kiss the damn stone.  I made the mistake of looking down as I sat down... it made me dizzy and panicky.  But I went through with it.  I almost cried afterward just from sheer the relief of it all.  The grounds at Blarney Castle are one of the most relaxing and beautiful places I've been.  We stopped at Blarney Woolen Mills for some last minute souvenir shopping, and then got dinner at the Blarney Castle Hotel.  Got back to the hotel and spent the rest of the evening packing.

Blarney Castle
Grounds of Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle
Kissing the Blarney Stone
OMG!  I did it!!
Yeah, I rock.
On top of Blarney Castle
Friday, after less than three hours sleep, we got up at 3:30am, left at 4:30am, drove through the dense fog again back to Dublin.  Turned in our rental car and got the airport about 6am.  We got there too early to check in and had to wait until 7am to check in.  The other ladies had breakfast, which I skipped because my belly was a little upset again.  Finally checked in and cleared U.S. customs at the Dublin airport.  Our flight took off about 10:45am, had lunch on the plane, watched a few movies (Life As We Know It, Morning Glory), and we landed at JFK about 1:30pm.  We were on the road home by 3:30pm, and got back home to VaBeach about 10:30pm.

Goodbye Ireland
I am so thankful that I was able to video chat with my family every night.  I was able to see their smiling faces and hear about the kids' days at school each day.  I was able to see my hubby and talk and laugh with him every night.  So thankful for the ability to do that.

As I said in the beginning, one week is not long enough for a trip to Ireland.  I hope to go back next year with Dave.... possibly renew our wedding vows there for our 20th anniversary.  But we will be staying for at least two weeks, a month would be even better.  

May the road rise up to meet you, 
may the wind be ever at your back. 

May the sun shine warm upon your face 

and the rain fall softly on your fields. 

And until we meet again, 

May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.


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