Thursday, March 22, 2012

Adventures in Ireland

I've always thought that someday it would be fun to visit Ireland, so when my daughter, Trizia, asked if I'd like to go with her, I said "Sure."

We had an awesome trip.

However . . . driving in Ireland is quite an obstacle. And it's not that they drive on the left side of the street and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car that was difficult. No. The real challenges were understanding their road signs and getting use to roundabouts.

Here's Trizia as she drove away from the Dan Dooley's Car Rentals.

See how she's gritting her teeth and both hands are white-knuckled. I wasn't much help. I was supposed to be the navigator. It was a little hard when most street signs were on buildings or the name of the street changed without warning OR the roundabout pointed in one direction, but actually meant for you to turn down the second exit.

We soon learned that when we became lost to pull into a gas station and ask for directions. I must say the Irish were very kind and patient with us foreigners.

We saw many castles. Here are three of the most famous ones that we saw.

KilKenny Castle

Bunratty Castle

King John's Castle

At Killarney we took the Ring of Kerry bus tour. Our driver's name was John.

He spoke with an Irish brogue and told us all sorts of delightful tales.Trizia asked his secret for driving a bus on those small Irish roads. He said, "What ye do when ye see an oncoming car is close yer eyes. That's what I do. Works every time." Of course, everyone laughed. She remembered his tip and for the rest of our trip every time she'd hear me gasp as a huge vehicle came our way, she'd say, "Close yer eyes."

John was nice enough to take a picture of Trizia and me.

My hair looks wild, but in my defense the wind was blowing.

On St. Patrick's Day we decided to drive down to see the Cliffs of Moher. On our way we saw the two million-year-old Aillwee Cave...

visited the Poulnabrone Dolmen the portal tomb in the Burren...

and saw the breath-taking Cliffs of Moher.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that one day we stopped at the Blarney Castle, and I even kissed the Blarney Stone.

Yes, you have to lie on your back while a fellow holds you. You then bend over, take hold of two poles, and put your head way back so you can kiss the stone. But kissing the stone is supposed to give you creativity. So, yes, I kissed it.

Our last day was spent in Dublin, and what a day it was.

We saw St. Patrick's Cathedral...

walked through Christ Church...

 saw the Book of Kells...

They don't allow pictures taken. I got this from photobucket.
and ate dinner at . . .

The last night in Ireland we took a ride on the Grave Digger Ghost Bus Tour of Dublin.

Our spooky guide.
We walked to a haunted castle...

drank pus from the River Liffey (it really wasn't pus, but I didn't take a picture), and had a night full of scary stories.

Here's Trizia driving at the end of our trip.

She looks more confident, doesn't she?

I haven't told you everything we saw and did. I forgot to tell you we visited the Waterford Crystal factory (The battery in my new camera needed to be recharged, so I didn't get pictures. Lucky you.)

We had the most wonderful time. But I was very glad to return home. Would I go again? Oh, yes. And don't be surprised if one of my future books is set in beautiful, magical Ireland.

Have you been to Ireland? Did you drive? Did you see some of the castles? Cathedrals? Or other historic landmarks? What did you find most remarkable? Would you go back? 



  1. If I hadn't already wanted to visit Ireland, I certainly would after reading this and seeing your photos. I'm glad you had such a wonderful trip!

  2. Carol,
    We had a wonderful time, except when trying to drive on their roads. But the people and landscape were awesome. You really should go.

  3. I'm all shades of green with envy. I'm wishing I could have been your daughter for a particular week! Someday...

  4. Looks like you had a lot of fun! I guess I'll have to put Ireland on my list of places I want to visit.

  5. Laura,
    Oh, I wish you could have been with us. I neglected to mention that we went to the Leprechan Museum where they told all about Irish folklore. You would have loved it. Next time...

  6. Marisa,
    I think you'd have a great time. It's so green and beautiful there. And it sparks all sorts of possible story ideas in your mind. I mean, the castles, seascape, and ... I'm sounding like a travel agent. But it was an awesome trip.

  7. Kathi, thanks for the wonderful post and pictures! You're making me all sentimental for Ireland. We lived there for two years, near Limerick, and when first moved there, I was very intimidated at the thought of driving on the left-hand side of the road, but I quickly got used to it. Some of those roads are crazy narrow, though! I love your bus driver's suggestion!

    I'd love to go back someday! What a gorgeous country.

  8. Stephanie,
    You lived there! Awesome. We spend half a day in Limerick when we toured King John's castle. We also had to chase down the GPO so we could mail some things home. Was that ever a race. As we were rushing down the street a very nice lady stopped me and pointed out an ancient wall that had steel supports holding it up. I could hardly understand her because of her thick Irish brogue, but she was very thoughtful. I can definitely understand why you would miss living there.

  9. I love it there! Sounds like your trip was great--by the way I am also not a fan of roundabouts, too scary!
    I did love the cliffs and got to stay in ashford castle for a night too. So fun.

  10. What a massive trip! Sounds like it was only deadly.

    (Showing off my Dublin slang, LOL.)

    Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  11. Coleen,
    I'm very jealous you were able to stay in a castle. Although the castles we saw, I wouldn't want to stay in: cold, drafty, and . . . well spooky. Ashford must be one of the nicer ones.

  12. Jordan,
    Very impressive (your Dublin slang). I'm glad you enjoyed my pictures. I have a ton more, but I picked those I thought others would enjoy.

  13. What wonderful memories! I'm so jealous, but glad you had a great time!

  14. Great photos, Kathy. Ireland is on my bucket list. Looks fun! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Rachel,
    I've been jealous of your trips to Portugal. You're right, trips do give us wonderful memories and fortunately the stress over the little things (like driving on tiny roads) melts away with time.

  16. Lori,
    You're too young for a bucket list. But it's good to start checking off the list as soon as possible. You'd love Ireland. Now my bucket list grew because I have awakened the yearning to travel to far away places. I just wish the plane rides were more comfortable. Thank heavens for movies. :)

  17. Looks like you had a magical trip, Kathi! Those castles are breathtaking. And those cliffs!! I can just stare and stare at that picture, it's so beautiful.

    Feel free to send some of your Blarney Stone creativity magic our way!! ;)

    Have a great weekend, Kathi.

  18. Laura,
    Oh, you should see those cliffs in person. The picture doesn't do them justice. Truly inspiring. And I'm more than happy to share the creative magic. :)

  19. Thanks for letting me visit Ireland with you. No, I've never been but have toured all over England and Scotland. So glad you had fun.

  20. Thanks for sharing the pics, everything looks great, I dont think I will ever get to visit that area so seeing your pics helps a little. I am sure you bonded a little deeper with your daughter on such a nice trip together.
    Paula O

  21. oh wow looks like you had a lot of fun :) i've always wanted to visit Ireland as well, but i am uber poor so i don't think it'll ever happen lol.

  22. Jenny,
    We did have a lot of fun. I had not planned to go, but when my daughter asked me to go with her, I couldn't pass up the chance. You just never know, some day you just might find yourself there. :)

  23. Paula,
    We had great fun. I had a hard time keeping up with my daughter as we walked all over Dublin, but it was good for me. The youth keep us young.

  24. Susan,
    Oh I'd love to see England and Scotland. They are definitely on my bucket list.

  25. I've always wanted to go. With one kid in college and another starting next year, the possibility is a few years away. Thanks for sharing your pictures and experience. I'm very envious.

  26. I haven't been to Ireland so thanks for the pics! I want to go someday. Not sure about kissing the Blarney Stone though. Sounds like a great place to set up a pub!

  27. Oh my. I'm going to call you Kathy O'Lucky from now on. What a beautiful place.

  28. Susan,
    Add Ireland to your bucket list. You'll definitely want to check it when your kids are done with college.

    There were pubs all over the place. I think you would have fit right in.

    I really do feel I was O'Lucky to have gone on such a trip. It was fabulous and I'm very grateful for the experience.

  29. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com

    1. Melanie,
      I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by.



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