I must warn you, I did not take notes on this trip...AND I am loathe to write much,but I am determined to do my best to tell you how it went "over home."
I traveled with my 2 daughters - Kasey, age 27 and her husband, Corey, and Keely, age 33, and her boyfriend, Kevin. Do I need to tell you I was worried about this combination for traveling? Corey was highly resistant to flying and he had never before been out of the country. In the end, he agreed to go (under a wee bit of pressure from me). So, on Friday, August 28,we flew Aer Lingus, non-top from Washington Dulles to Dublin. Very good service, roomier than the US Airways flights I have taken in the past, and surprisingly good food. We arrived in Dublin at 5:30 AM. I have a childhood friend in Dublin (some of you may remember the story of our reunion during my first trip over in 2007), and despite my insistence that we would get a taxi to her home, a driver was awaiting us, holding a sign with my name on it at 5:30 AM!!!! She and her husband put up all 5 of us in her small, modest home in Kilnamanagh. We talked for a bit, then crashed, then got up and went to Temple Bar to celebrate Kevin's birthday. Over the next few days we visited Guinness (a must do for Kevin), St. Patrick's Cathedral (with the choir practicing!), Kilmainham Gaol, the center city area, Dublinia (the Viking exhibit), and we took a tour to the Giant's Causeway. Now this was admittedly a LONG bus ride, but it was worth it, for sure. It was a Paddy Wagon tour bus. The Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge was a wonderful, exhilarating experience. The causeway itself a wonder...
Everyone we talked to complained about how they'd had no summer this year, and how it had rained for months. Honestly, the worst weather we had in all our time there was a light rain and moderate wind, which mostly changed within minutes. The day we were at the Causeway was lovely and we were able to see Scotland in the distance. So...thanks to those of you who urged me to go ahead and go in September. You guys never steer me wrong! We stopped in Belfast for an hour or so. And had a pre-booked lunch in the town where they film Game of Thrones. Ballymoney. Sorry, I cannot remember the name of the restaurant, but it was excellent and had been chosen by the tour company...
Oh, almost forgot..Kevin and Corey each got a tattoo at Dublin Ink. A permanent reminder...
AND...all 5 adults getting along beautifully. Go figure.
On Wednesday, we took the train to Galway, where we picked up 2 small, 4 door, automatic cars at Budget on Eyre Square. I have no words for this part that can be shared on this wholesome forum. The cars were fine (almost brand new), the service was passable (I thought I detected some arrogance) and the price was an abomination. I had gotten a quote online when I booked the cars, of course. It was not close to what I ended up paying, so I am sticking with Dooley next time, and I am seriously considering BUYING a used car and leaving it with my family for my use when I am over. I am SURE I would save a TON of money by doing this. Hey! I am typing like Bob, the Italian Chauffeur right now. (See all the caps?) Hey, Bob, wanna go half-sies on an Irish car?
Alas, I had little choice at that point. One needs a car in Donegal. So...off we went to Donegal, and Kevin and Corey drove for the 1st time ever on the left. They did a fine job. We stopped at Knock on the way up. Lovely shrine, where I picked up a small Our Lady of Knock for my friend's collection of Madonnas. We arrived in Donegal at dinner time. The family had to split us up to accommodate us, so 3 of us stayed in Ballyshannon and the other 2 stayed in Rossnowlagh. My daughters and their guys were overwhelmed by the warm welcome they received. ( I had been over and connected with my cousins in 2011. My daughters were not with me on that trip. The purpose of THIS trip was to introduce them to their Irish family.) We were in Donegal all together from Wed until Sat, when the four of them (daughters and guys) returned to Shannon, after a night in Ennis, to fly home on Sunday. While together in Donegal we visited Rossnowlagh beach, Bundoran, Ballyshannon, the Gleniff Horseshoe Drive (OH MY GOD, MICHELE...THANK YOU FOR THAT SUGGESTION. We were there on one of those dramatically cloudy days, and we literally were the only ones on the drive and we stopped about every 50 feet to gape at the views. My daughter Keely said she felt as if she were inside a snow globe, with the bowl of the ancient mountains all around. WOW. Loved it.), and a small park with a ruins and a stream and a waterfall (not Glencar - I went there later in the trip). We also drove to Slieve League, which was awesome, despite the light drizzle and the wind. About two-thirds of the way, we stopped for some pictures which involved shots from the back, with each of us looking out over the ocean. When it was Keely's turn, she balked and did not want to pose. (She later said it was hokey, and it WAS. But, you see, we had a PLAN....) I urged her on (gently) and she gave in and posed and when she turned around....YOU GUESSED IT!!....Kevin was down on his knee with an engagement ring in his hand. Cool, huh? She said yes...so now I am planning a September 10th (2016) wedding. No trip to Ireland next year.
To sum it up, they fell in love with Ireland (well, the girls were already in love with Ireland from their previous trip in 2007), and with our friends in Dublin and our family in Donegal. They were anxious to get home to their children after 9 days, but sad to leave so soon, too. You all know the feeling...they left me behind to enjoy an additional week. More on that later, perhaps. It was great, too, but not quite so dramatic as the time we all spent together "over home."
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"Ireland Expert" Michele ErdvigClick links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland ItineraryVisit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.