Wednesday, May 07, 2008

More Ireland family names are O'Hara, O'Connell and Kingsland, it only seemed natural that I would be dying to go to Ireland. In college I had spent a summer in England studying literature and have always wanted to go back, so when my mom said that as a graduation present she would take me on a trip I was super excited when I found a tour online that lead us from Dublin to London in 12 days. We had been planning on going just the 2 of us on a tropical paradise type vacay but changed our minds the more we thought about Ireland. It was easy to see why Ireland is a land of mythical creatures, rainbows and legend. The mountains are so pretty with gentle mist floating around green green fields. I found myself constantly awestruck by the rugged beauty of the landscape and the kindness of the local people. I can't imagine a better vacation, and we have wonderful memories to share now because we decided to take my grandmother with us while she is still spry enough to handle the traveling. I am totally in love with every man with an Irish accent and could listen to someone talk for hours and hours in perfect contentment as long as its got that accent.

We started in Dublin and went from there to Killarney, visiting Dublin Castle and the Ring of Kerry along the way. We saw Muckross House, a beautiful estate home (and a MUST see if anyone is visiting Ireland) and toured Killarney National Park. So pretty. We went to Wexford after stopping in Blarney to kiss the stone. (which is absolutely terrifying by the way. They dangle you out over the edge of the castle, holding on to your legs as they lower you backwards toward the stone.) I hope that I am more eloquent because of it. I couldn’t go to Ireland without kissing it though, so I suppose it was worth it. We then went to the Waterford Crystal Factory, and what I once thought was just an expensive piece of glass I now realize is an individual work of art. I am so impressed and amazed by the work that those men do. Originally I thought that I would be bored on this tour but it was actually very cool. We also stopped in Cobh, pronounced Cove, which was the last port of call for the Titanic. Pretty little town, and a nice walking tour of it…..but of all the wonderful things to see and do in Ireland I thought this one was a bit of a waste of time. We took the ferry across to Wales and went on to Bath, England. It’s the site of a roman bath, the hot spring still pushes water into the ruins, and it is very pretty. The whole city is made up of blond sand stone, and everything is just as it was 100’s of years ago. Its very cool. We went from there to Stonehenge, which was creepy but something I wanted to see. And then spend 3 days in London before heading home. London is my favorite city. Its so full of history and beautiful architecture.

I introduced my mother to hard cider, I like to drink Cider and Black which has black current juice in it. I showed them all the tourist sites that I loved when I was there last, as well as the best place to get fish and chips. We really had an amazing time. And I made my family keep a journal on our trip, passing it between the 3 of us every day. It’s a wonderful memory. My favorite though is: One evening we went to see Irish musicians called “The Merry Ploughboys”. My grandmother referred to them in our journal as the “Playboys”…..she was so embarrassed when I pointed that out….. or my mother who joined an Irish gentleman in the hot tub at one of our hotels…

Me: “Oh yes, I think I saw him in the lobby, was he the tall guy in the suit?”
Her:“I’m not sure, I never saw him with his clothes on or standing up”.

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