Day 1: We ended up with an eight hour layover in New York! Not to worry. We had never been to New York City before so we took the subway into Times Square and explored for a bit. We had some New York pizza, saw the Empire State building and managed to make our way back to the airport. Then we were officially on our way to........
Day 2: ......IRELAND!!! Charlie caught on pretty quick to driving on the right side of the car and left side of the road. Roundabouts everywhere. Also, the roads were very narrow and we felt the speed limit quite high for some areas!! It was almost as stressful for me being the passenger with the constant feeling that I was going to run into a tree or a building! We headed to Cashel first to see the Rock of Cashel, a huge castle. Along the way we saw a beautiful graveyard with lots of Celtic crosses. Our first B&B was at Dromagh right next to another ruined castle. It was very cool, but very creepy!!
Day 3: We headed to the Beara peninsula to find the Ardgroom stone circle. We learned why it takes so long to get from one place to another. All of the roads literally go right through the center of all the towns and villages. It's very cool. The history is just amazing. We passed so many ruins on the side of the road driving from place to place. Thousand year old churches and castles are all very breathtaking. We had to climb over some fences and through the sheep fields to get to the circle. No one was around and it was very peaceful. Next stop the Dingle peninsula. So gorgeous! We stayed at the Slea Head farm at the tip of the peninsula. Our room overlooked the ocean and we feel asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the cliff. The farm was a sheep farm. We thought it fun to see how all the sheep were sprayed painted differently to help keep track who belongs to who.
Day 4: We spent the day exploring the peninsula and the town of Dingle. We found a beautiful beach with crystal clear pools near the cliffs, a 1300 year old church made of dry stone that is still water proof, bee hive huts, saw remnants of crops from the potato famine, saw a rocky beach and castle that looked like it was going to split in two. We did a lot and it was so worth spending a whole day at the peninsula.
Day 5: It's off to Galway. We've spent half of our time in the countryside and now it's off to explore some cities. On the way we stopped at the Killmacdough churches and saw a amazing stone tower. We also saw some people at a burial site in the cemetary drinking wiskey and no doubt remembering their loved one. Galway was very fun. Lots of pubs and cute shops. We stayed at the Petra House B&B - it was the nicest B&B of the entire trip.
Day 6: On our way to Dublin. We quickly learned why they say not to drive in Dublin and took the advice. We parked at our B&B, ABC House, and took the bus for the next 2 days. We never found a schedule, but seemed to make our way around the city easily with friendly local help and good maps. Once we got to the City Center, everything was pretty much within walking distance. We saw the Christ Church Cathedral, Chester Beatty Library, St. Stephen's Green, Temple Bar, Grafton Street, O'Connell Street. That night we ended up back in Temple Bar and saw a very entertaining street band. The violinist was amazing and the old drunk guy dancing along definitely added to the entertainment! On the way back to the B&B we poked our head in a bar and saw some traditional Irish dancing. Very impressive! Oh, something crazy happens in Dublin on Friday night. We saw so many groups of people dressed up crazy. One group was wearing hula skirts, one group was dressed up like super heroes. It was crazy time in that town!
Day 7: More Dublin - Trinity College, National Gallery, Fitzgerald Street & the Georgian doors, Merrion Square, cool vintage/thrift store shopping in Temple Bar. Then we met up with our pals at Anseo (which we learned is pronounced On-shaw), Liz, Fern, & Paul!! And lots of other very friendly people that we had never met before! We had not seen our friends for over 5 years, but it was like it had only been a month and we had no problem catching up.
We had sunny and perfect weather the whole week. Jeans and short sleeves! Full Irish breakfast every morning which included eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, and cereal. Oh so good. We were not bold enough to try the blood sausage! It rained the day we went to the airport to fly home. I guess Ireland was sad to see us leave!
Thanks Ireland for an awesome trip!!!