dear diary, our trip to Ireland
TO the best of my memory
Day One (June 19): Departed Minneapolis, arrived in Boston. Longish layover, made Ezra run around and ate some dinner. Ezra insisted on trying tomato juice. He hated it. Boarded flight from Boston to Dublin around 11 pm US, touched down in Dublin around 8 am local time. Ezra slept the whole flight, Jack and Christine did not.
Day Two (June 20): Good morning, Dublin. Everyone was so friendly. The airport was deserted but they had Ezra's "buggy" ready for him to pop into as soon as we stepped foot off the plane. Stood in line a bit in immigration. Got our luggage and then waited approximately forever to get our rental car, more on that later. Took a shuttle to the rental car place, realized it would be a long week driving on the left side of the road and started our journey to the first sleeping spot.
There was a bit of a miscommunication about when we could check into our rental apartment. I thought 12 pm, apparently we had agreed on 4 pm. We compromised with 2pm after being given the keys and accidentally opening the door on the guests that had not yet checked out.
Instructed to go up the road a bit to "what Americans would call a shopping mall" for lunch. Ate some cheesy sandwiches and made Jack buy us a toothbrush and paste as ours was in our luggage. The mood was very tense: Ezra had 100% his usual energy, I had 25% of mine and Jack was operating on 0%. Made it through lunch and back to our apartment, came close to divorce as Jack hit a curb and backed into a motorcycle during our short 20 minute journey.
Entered our serene two bed two bath apartment and crashed. I honestly could have stayed here happily the whole trip. Pretty sure we ate bread and butter for dinner and it was delicious.
Day Three: Jack and Ezra ventured out to a playground near our rental. I stayed in bed pretty late and then did some exercises on our roofdeck. By afternoon we were all feeling good and took a long walk around Dublin. We had dinner near Temple Bar, which to the surprise of no one was super-touristy. Jack had fish and chips. Ezra and I ate baked brie (yum) and something else not that memorable.
Day Four: Packed up our things and drove to Cobh (pronounced Cove). We didn't have a lot of options along the way so we ate lunch at a McDonald's in a really agricultural area of Kilkenny ;)
The McDonald's was actually super tasty and I was able to have a veggie burger (are they doing that in the states now too?). This was our easiest drive of the week at just under three hours. We fell in love with Cobh immediately. We stayed at WatersEdge Hotel. Ezra loved watching the big boats from our hotel room. Jack picked up a delicious margarita pizza and we called it an early night (recurring theme of this trip).
Day Five: Spent the day exploring Cobh. Did you know it was the last stop of the Titanic before her sinking? Well neither did we. And we didn't learn a single thing more than that. Jack got a haircut, we had lunch in a cute cafe, pizza AGAIN from the same place for dinner and off to bed.
Day Six: Woke up and started the drive to Dingle. I wanted to pick some things up at the pharmacy so we stopped at a Boots in Cork around lunchtime. Jack suggested we "shop around for a while" and I've never turned down shopping. Actually he might have said, "walk around for a while" but anyways... Cork was really pretty, it was a lot more industrial than the other parts of Ireland we had seen so far. On a future trip to this riverside town we will def be touring the Butter Museum.
I thought Dingle would be my favorite stop but we hated it. We arrived early evening and took a bit of time to settle into our hotel. Then we searched high and low for somewhere to eat dinner but the options were a Michelin star restaurant (not appropriate for a two year old, agree?) or pizza. So we had pizza.
I was shocked that even with the World Cup going on most pubs and restaurants stopped serving food at 8 pm. We couldn't wait to get away from Dingle. The hotel looked pretty updated on the booking website but I think they forgot to address the room we were staying in. I can get over outdated decor but we had to keep the window open because there was no a/c and this led to a general rotting garbage smell wafting into our room. I can't tell you anything about Dingle because everything was closed when we arrived and still closed when we left.
Jack's favorite part of Dingle? Watching Pretty Woman on a 12" TV. Classic Richard Gere.
Day Seven: Woke up around 6 am to check the hell out of Dingle and get to Galway so we could take a ferry to Inis Mor (of the Aran Islands) for the night. Well, the address we were using for navigation was to the main office of the ferry company, not where the ferry departed. Realized this was an additional hours drive and we would never make it on time. Sadly cancelled our reservation and stopped for a leisurely five course lunch near Limerick. After this we drove to the Cliffs of Moher and hiked around. This stop was one of the best on our trip. The views were indescribable.
I would like to go back to the Cliffs with some proper shoes and without a toddler to lug around. All of the literature said that COM is home to a puffin habitat, sadly we only saw seagulls and pigeons. The bathrooms at the visitors center are not separated by gender, just one large area of individual stalls. Who knew Ireland to be so progressive?
We spent the night in Galway.
Day Eight: Explored Galway. We went to this public park after lunch and I desperately had to use the restroom. After paying one euro the doors to this potty-pod opened and I entered. Everything was wet! Apparently there was a set amount of toilet paper the pod would dispense and I wasted most of it trying to dry off the toilet and surrounding area before I used it. To make matters worse the door was set to open after 15 minutes whether you were finished or not. I know that sounds like a long time but the stress and stakes were just too high. #neveragain.
We started our drive back to Dublin. On the way I spotted a petting zoo and insisted we stop to do something Ezra will like. The "zoo" had mostly free-range farm animals like sheep, chickens and goats but also hosted a raccoon, an alpaca, emus, two monkeys, a zip-line and an obstacle course. Ezra loved it. I did too.
After a week of sleeping in places that could only be described as cozy, quaint, quirky, or cute I was desperate to spend the night in an American-style hotel with air conditioning, an ice machine, and ironing board. We picked a spot near the airport and settled in, trying to figure out how we would get our suitcase under 23kg (spoiler alert, we didn't!) before our departure to Split, Croatia.
Some of this story sounds pretty whiney but we lurved Ireland. The people were friendly. The country was incredibly beautiful, clean, and felt very safe. It was unseasonably warm during our visit. Gun laws in Ireland are really reasonable and in one week there we saw one police officer (garda) who was out responding to a stalled vehicle. We didn't eat a single vegetable. Our dinner every night was either bread and butter, cheese and crackers, or pizza. What's not to love? I look forward to the opportunity to visit again.