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Post Info TOPIC: Dream Vacation Cut Short (October 2006)


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Dream Vacation Cut Short (October 2006)


My husband and I were on our 4 week dream vacation to Ireland when 4 days into our trip, we received word from WI that my mother-in-law had fallen and broken her hip.  She was 89 years old and in relatively good health, we thought.  Her bones were so thin that the doctors could not do surgery and said she would need to be bedridden.  We stayed in touch with our family but realized by our 6th day that she was failing and we needed to get back to WI fast.


We drove from Waterford back to Dublin on Friday, October 6th.  We called American Airlines and they could not get us on a flight until Sunday, October 8th, so we booked it.  On Saturday morning, we decided to go to the Dublin airport and talk with the American Airline agents to see if we could get on the flight that morning.  Noel Cox was an angel in disguise and got us on the next flight out.  We left Dublin at 10:45 am, arrived in Chicago at 12:45 pm, left Chicago at 2:30 pm and arrived home in Minneapolis at 4:00 pm.  We went home, packed some additional clothing and headed for WI.  We arrived by 11:45 pm and were with my mother-in-law until she passed away on Sunday morning.  We thank God for Noel Cox and getting us on that flight so that we could spend some quality time with Mom and let her know what a powerful role she has played in our lives.  She is dearly missed!


What we did see of Ireland was magical and magnificent!


Our favorite B&B’s were:


Wicklow Way Lodge, Oldbridge, Roundwood, Co. Wicklow (http://www.wicklowwaylodge.com/)


Marilyn is a wonderful, knowledgeable host.  Our queen bed en suite room was very comfortable, meticulously clean, we loved having coffee, tea, Crawford custard cream cookies & Oat and Wholemeal biscuits in our room and looking out at the beautiful views of the mountains.  The bathroom had great water pressure, a hairdryer and soft, fluffy bath towels.  The traditional Irish breakfasts, with the best porridge I’ve ever had, was fabulous.  I enjoyed looking out at the sheep on the hillside while having breakfast.  Knitters, like myself, love sheep.  You are in the country so you need a car to go into town for dinner.


Alcantra Bed & Breakfast, Maidenhill, Kells Road, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny (http://homepage.eircom.net/~alcantra/)


Liam & Brigid are charming hosts.  Our twin en suite room was spotless and comfortable.  The bathroom had great water pressure, a hairdryer and soft bath towels.  The breakfast was delicious served with tasty scones.  We really enjoyed the warm fruit bowl.  In the conservatory, coffee, tea, and cookies were available to us when we returned from dinner.  We decided to stay another night but Alcantra was already booked.  Brigid was so helpful and did some calling around and found us another great place to stay.


The Meadows, 6 Greenfields Road, Bishops Meadows, Kilkenny City, Co. Kilkenny (www.the-meadows.net)


Kathleen & Paddy are warm, compassionate and helpful hosts.  Our double en suite room was clean to perfection, quiet, and very comfortable.  We enjoyed coming back from a day trip to relax in our room with coffee, tea & digestive bars.  The bathroom had great water pressure, a hairdryer, soft bath towels and even a washcloth.  Kathleen leaves a breakfast menu to make your selection the night before.  The smoked salmon and scrambled eggs were delicious.  So was the traditional Irish breakfast.  The fruit scones were scrumptious served with an assortment of yummy marmalades (Orange, Lime and Whiskey Marmalades), jams and jellies.  When having breakfast, we enjoyed looking out at their beautiful gardens.  We decided to stay 2 nights and Kathleen & Paddy did a superb job in helping us plan our day trips.  Walking into city centre was a safe and easy 10-15 minute walk.


The Wicklow Way Lodge was the first bed and breakfast we stayed in when we arrived in Ireland.  She set standards that we felt might be hard to beat.  By far, her traditional Irish breakfast was the best, The Meadows was a close second and Alcantra came in third.  Each bed and breakfast had their own special touch and we would not hesitate to stay in any of them again.


Our favorite places to eat:


Roundwood Pub in Roundwood Restaurant in Roundwood, Co. Wicklow for the delicious smooth creamy head and black body of a Guinness draught and Lobster Bisque soup.  We had our first pint of Guinness here and by far it was the best.


Lynham’s Tavern (Jake’s Bar) in Lynham’s Hotel in Laragh, Co. Wicklow for the best Guinness stew served with brown bread.


Culleton’s Bar of Kilrane in Kilrane, Co. Wexford for the delicious Fisherman’s Pie served with mixed greens salad.


Lunch @ Langton’s Carrigan’s Bar, 69 John Street, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny a great lunch special of Wild Salmon, Mixed Pepper & Mozzarella Crostini on a Rocket Leaf & Cherry Tomato Salad with Potato Salad and Apple & Blueberry Crumble for 11 euros.


Kyteler’s Inn, Kieran Street, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny for the yummy Traditional Irish stew.  After dinner, we went into the pub, sat next to the fire and listened to wonderful Irish music.


Our favorite destinations:


Avoca Handweavers, Avoca, Co. Wicklow - The mill itself dates from 1723 and is said to be the oldest working woolen mill in Ireland.  Our daughter weaves so this was very interesting for us to see the workers demonstrate the whole weaving process.


Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Glencree, Co. Wicklow - On our way to Powerscourt, we made an unexpected stop in Glencree at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.  In one of the exhibit rooms was information on Operation Shamrock.  It had exhibits and information about bringing sick and malnutrition children from Germany to Ireland post World War II.  After reading the exhibits and looking at all of the pictures, it shows how wonderful, compassionate and loving the Irish people are.  I was extremely touched.


We went to the recommended travel guidebook sights:  Gardens of Powerscourt, Glendalough, drove the Military Road over Sally Gap (twice), visited the medieval city of Kilkenny, Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral, Rothe House, Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle, Jerpoint Abbey and Waterford Crystal Factory.


As much as we enjoyed touring these sights and learning the history, our favorite things to do was exploring the countryside and driving those crazy, narrow and winding roads, the small towns, seeing all the sheep on the hill and mountainsides, taking long walks and hikes, visiting with the wonderful people we met along the way and having a delicious pint or two of Guinness and Kilkenny beer.  Also, the weather was much better than we anticipated and the full moon was so large and beautiful, I felt that I could reach out and touch it.


General Information:


We rented a car (4-door compact, automatic transmission) through Kemwel Car Rental.  We took our paperwork to the Avis counter at the airport to pick up our car.  The car Avis had waiting for us was making a funny noise so we declined it.  We had to wait about 20 minutes for another automatic transmission and we got a nicer car (Nissan Primera SE).  We paid with our Bank of America World MasterCard and declined CDW.  No problems, no hassle.  I would rent from Kemwel again.


At the airport, I purchased the Ordnance Survey Atlas of Ireland at the Hughes and Hughes bookstore.  I also could have purchased it at the Tourist Information center across from the bookstore.  I did purchase our Heritage Cards at the Tourist Information center and picked up some useful information on visiting Southeast Ireland.


At the airport, we went to the Bank of Ireland ATM and withdrew euros.  We were not charged any fees to withdraw cash from the ATM.


Since we knew that we were going to head directly to Wicklow from the airport, we decided it was most efficient to get our car, map and euros right there.


Final Words:


We were saddened when we realized we needed to end our dream vacation and go home but happy to know that we will return soon.  We plan to go back next spring before the tourist season begins.  I was to celebrate my 55th birthday in Ireland but now I will celebrate it in Minneapolis or St. Paul at one of our Irish Pubs instead, unfortunately, the Guinness will not taste quite the same.


Once our lives have calmed down and I start planning our spring Ireland trip, I am sure I will have some questions to ask the travel forum.  Thanks for all of your help.  Your thoughts and suggestions made the beginnings of our dream vacation memorable.


Go raibh maith agat, Michelle



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Michelle,


My deepest sympathies to you in the event of the death of your mother-in-law. It was good fortune that shined upon you in your meeting with a compassionate airline representative.  While it is a pity that your trip was cut short, To be sure with her in her final days was exactly where you needed to be.


Bright blessings to you on your birthday. Rent Ned Devine, have a dram of whiskey and fall asleep to a bit of something soft and celtic. There will be another trip to Ireland and when you go, you can be assured that we will try to answer any questions you might have.


Slan Agus Beannacht,


Bit Devine


Cowboy Craic



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I am so sorry to hear of your loss Michelle. I hope your family is finding comfort with each other, and that you have many future happier travels.


Peace--oopsy



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Cowboy Craic,


Thank you for your kind words.  I am taking your advice about renting Ned Devine.  It has been a few years since I've seen it and I do believe this is a good time to see it again.  I probably will pass on the whiskey but falling to sleep with something soft and celtic is in the plans.


We are looking forward to our next vacation to Ireland and our tentative plans are this spring before the tourist season begins.


Michelle



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oopsy,


You really realize how important family is during difficult times.  We all need the support of each other.


By next spring we will be ready to return to Ireland.  My mother-in-law loved to travel and she would want us to return and continue on our dream vacation.


Michelle


 



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Michelle,


I'm just back from Ireland and was so sorry to hear of your loss. How wonderful that Noel Cox was able to help you return home in time to spend very precious time with your mother-in-law. She sounds like a special person. May she rest in peace.


I know how distressing it is to get such a message when far from home. I had to cut my trip short because my mother went into the hospital. Fortunately, she is recovering quickly. But everyone can sympathize with your loss and the panic of being so far away from a loved one at a time of need.


Thank you for taking the time and trouble of writing your trip report for the portion of Ireland that you did get to see. I enjoyed reading about where you stayed, what you saw and the restaurants you enjoyed eating at in the short time you were there. Your little taste of Ireland will only tempt you that much more to go back. And spring is lovely over there.


Let us know how we can help to your next trip memorable.


Michele



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