Family visit to Ireland!
Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures to post, we took all the good shots with my dad’s nicer camera (rather than my phone) and he has all the pictures.
My parents and brother came to see me on their spring break. We met up in Cork Sunday afternoon and spent almost two days just wandering the city. I took them to a few of my favorite places to eat and shop (English Market, Gino’s), I showed the around the UCC campus. We went into the church on campus (my first time being inside) and it was beautiful. The floor was this huge mosaic stretching all the way down the aisle. One of my friends from UMW had to make a mosaic, I think about 18 inches in diameter and she was telling me how long it took her to create so I can’t even imagine completing a whole church floor. Anyway, I showed them my apartment and it was so wonderful seeing them after over three months. They got a little apartment about five minutes from the City Center which made it easy to explore. I’m still impressed by their lack of jetlag; it took me at least two weeks to sleep through the night after I got here. They rented a car and my dad did an excellent job driving as my mom navigated us through the week. Only one U-turns most days which we all considered successful.
Tuesday morning, after several delayed attempts to leave Cork, we headed to Cobh where there is a great museum about the port there. This was the site the majority of the emigrants would leave Ireland, it was the last stop for the Titanic and several convicts ships headed to Australia all left from this harbor. We were only here briefly, just for lunch and the museum but it looked like a great town to explore for an afternoon or two.
From Cobh we headed straight to Blarney Castle, because my brother was the only one of us who had not kissed the stone yet and he should be in on the “gift of eloquence” the weather was beautiful (much nicer than when I went in February). After we did the castle, my mother and I skipped kissing the stone, we wandered through the poison garden, filled with various poisonous plants with varying degrees of deadliness. I’m still not entirely sure why rosemary was included because I put that on chicken…frequently. Again, we did not spend too much time here as we had reservations at the Holiday Inn in Killarney.
Killarney is beautiful, such a cute town to visit (and I expect to live in). We got a recommendation for dinner and ordered the American Pizza, just throwing ourselves into the stereotype. What is on an American pizza? Three kinds of meat and extra cheese. I’d be offended if it wasn’t delicious and my favorite kind of pizza. We were based in Killarney, but spent most of the two days in the area driving around and exploring the Dingle Peninsula.
The Conor Path
This part of the drive consisted of some crazy windy roads. The road is carved out of a Cliffside and is technically two ways, but should a second car come one of them has to reverse into a ditch off the side of the road spaced every hundred yards or so to pass by one another. Not my idea of a relaxing drive, but the view was beautiful and my dad did an awesome job keeping us safe and in one piece.
Cliffs of Moher
The hurricane I was in on Inch Beach in February was nothing to the wind we experienced on the Cliffs of Moher. Thankfully I had a bag of winter clothes packed in the trunk to be sent home with my family which at least gave my mother and I some options for extra layering (scarves, gloves, a winter coat) to pile on top of our clothes. The Cliffs are out in the middle of mostly nowhere but if you are ever in the area, or not in the area I don’t care, you should make it a goal to go. The walk up is quick and painless and the view is absolutely breathtaking. If time, or the weather, permitted I would have loved to do the walk along the edges which the sign said takes an hour or two. As it was we were only there about forty-five minutes which was too little time for my taste. Unfortunately it was foggy so we couldn’t see much of the islands off in the distance, but the cliffs were spectacular regardless. We walked to two of the ‘viewing platforms’ to get different angles of the cliffs and the gorgeous ocean waves, and then we were too cold and had to leave.
We stayed at an adorable bed & breakfast, the first Irish bed & breakfast I’ve stayed in during my time here. The house was right on the water. We did not have nearly enough time in Galway, just dinner Thursday night and breakfast Friday morning before we were back in the road
The trip ended on a bit of a bummer, it didn’t occur to me to find out if museums (or pubs) would be open on Good Friday. For anyone planning on traveling to Ireland during the Easter season in the future, they’re not. We only had one afternoon in Dublin and all the museums were closed, except the Book of Kells but that had 100+ people in line so we didn’t bother trying to get in. on the upside, it was a relaxing end to the trip. It was absurdly sunny so we wandered through Graften St. and watched street musicians and then strolled through a park (I didn’t see any name) which was just exploding with all these brightly colored tulips. So the end of the trip wasn’t as much of a bummer as I thought when we found out all of our planned activities were closed.