Thursday, January 10, 2013

a chuisle mo chroí (pulse of my heart)

We spent a week split between France and England. Our second week was to be spent in Ireland. We spent the week driving clockwise around the island hitting a lot of the highlights of the beautiful country Ireland. This was my family's second time visiting Ireland and Alex's first. We enjoyed sharing our experiences and memories with him and making new ones together.

We travelled from England to Ireland via a ferry. We landed in Rosslare and stayed at a cute B&B along the coast. We walked along the property and visited with the farm animals.

The next day we began our tour of the island with a stop in Waterford to tour the Waterford Crystal Factory. 

It still amazes me how they make the glass. It is truly artwork. We enjoyed seeing and learning their process. As well as shopping.


Next stop, Blarney so that Alex could get the gift of gab by kissing the Blarney Stone.

Surprisingly we got up to the top of the castle quickly. Which was good because Alex is not big on heights. I got my gift of gab for the second time.

Alex went for it and did great!

We ended our day in Kenmare. It is a cute little town located on the Ring of Kerry.

We opted to take a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry this time around. Before the drivers weren't able to enjoy the majestic views of the peninsula. This time everybody was able to watch the scenery. We were able to stop and hop off the bus to take in the sights. 

We even got to meet a real sheepherder and and his sheepdogs. It was an amazing demonstration. The dogs were intent on the sheep. With a whistle hear and there, the sheepherder got the sheep where he wanted with the help of his dogs.

The next day we headed up the coast to the Cliffs of Moher. Just like the last visit, it was cold and rainy. We stuck it out and saw some amazing views.

We ended the day at Kylemore Abbey. It is a beautiful home that was built out of love by a husband for his wife. It has since been turned into an Abbey. The contrast of the white against its green backdrop was breathtaking.

The next morning we headed up to Belleek. We crossed over into Northern Ireland and visited the Belleek Factory. Just like Waterford, we did a tour of their workspaces. Again, these pieces are a work of art. It is amazing that all of it is done by hand. We ended our visit with a bit of shopping.

We started towards our last stop before Dublin to the northern tip of the island to view the Giant's Causeway. The rock formations were amazing. Never seen anything like it before. 

Our last leg of our trip began once we arrived at the Kilronan House in Dublin. The main reason why we saved our pennies and packed up for two weeks was to cheer on Notre Dame as they played the Naval Academy in Dublin. We enjoyed our sightseeing but it was down to business.

We got in some irish dancing and music.

Even got to pour our pints of beer. Dangerous!

I discovered Bulmer's Irish Cider. Yum! In America it is called Magner's Irish Cider. I have never been a beer person, but Irish Cider hits the spot.

The next day we set out to visit some of the sights and sounds of Dublin. We viewed the Book of Kells and headed over to the Guinness Storehouse. The city was crawling with Navy and Irish fans. It was a lot of fun.

The boys toasted the Irish to victory a top of the Guinness Factory. The stuff will put hair on your chest.


GAME DAY! Here come the Irish! We visited the Tailgate Party that was outside on Grafton Street. I even tried a bit of Irish dancing myself.


The game was played in Aviva Stadium. This is home to the Ireland's football (soccer) team.

What a great time!

Cheers to the Irish and their victory over Navy!

On our last day we travelled outside of Dublin and visited Powerscourt. This home is considered to be the Versailles of Ireland. The grounds and gardens were beautiful.

We bought a picnic lunch at Powerscourt from all of their goodies and ate our lunch by the tallest waterfall in Ireland.

Sadly, our trip ended. It was a great time. It is hard to believe we were there just a few short months ago. It still boggles my mind how much we did and saw. Even as I post these pictures.

Slán go fóill Ireland. Goodbye for now Ireland. We miss you the most of all.

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