First trip I have taken that I did not keep a journal of where and what we did so may be a bit sketchy but I am wordy so hang in there anyhow. Lol. Many thanks to all who answered questions and all who post for us to get ideas. I personally love to read long trip reviews for ideas/tips and wish all forums would sticky them so they are easier to access.
Our journey started back in Oct when my mid 70 yo mother wanted to go to Ireland with my brothers and my family and celebrate xmas holidays together because there were some nice package deals and prices at that time. That fell through but after many phone calls, emails, and price searching between the 3 families it all came together. We were debating between Ireland and a cruise and boy did the laughs about not taking a cruise appear often during this week as it was cold, icy, and snowy this particular week in Ireland. LOL.
We were a group of 10, ages 7 to mid 70’s so finding a workable itinerary for all was challenging. We originally were going to rent one apartment/home but many places said we would get the heating and electricity charges after we got home and as we were unsure of what that cost might be, scrapped that plan. Then we wanted something quiet in the country but the college kids squawked about no night life for them. My mom just didn’t feel she was up to changing hotels every day so we tried to pick a central location and stay for a few days to make it easier for her that had city life also for the college kids. Limerick it was although many said there were prettier places after 2 months of back and forth trying to please all we just agreed bc we were tired of dealing with all the phone calling. LOL.
We left xmas day after opening Santa presents. A puking virus had gone thru some of our family that week and sure enough it hit the 2 oldest kids that night before. In the car to the airport, we had a barf bucket handy. Slim pickings present wise from mom and dad for our 3 kids but we had discussed well in advance that our trip was our present so even though we all knew it, it felt rushed and different than xmas’es past. At the conclusion of our trip we all felt it was a great idea to do this vs presents so we may do in the future again if we save money all year. Lol. Flight to Chicago uneventful and we meet brothers family flying from the Nashville TN area in Chicago. Notice on the tvs, the incident in Detroit but it does not affect us, however coming home, extra security beefed up. American airlines to Dublin which was not nearly as nice as Delta flights we have taken overseas. Had taken some cards/ art projects/snacks as a surprise for the 7 yo to open every few hours in the airports/plane to entertain herself which she really enjoyed.
Arrive to a sunny day at Dublin airport. Head over to Hertz for our 2 rental cars. Easy to pick up. Our car was quite dented/scratched and the mirrors were hanging on so we noted that. If I ever go back I would check the actual windshield wiper bc later in the week the fact it was eroded away +bad weather made it crazy to drive in safely. This was a problem for both cards and the van didn’t even have a blade on it in the rear, just the swishing sound. LOL. Head to Limerick, where we check into the Absolute Hotel. We brought our own GPS which we had loaded an Ireland map onto before we left. GPS not working however, which we think was maybe the cold area on the airline storage because it kicked in about halfway there. We have a dickens of a time finding this place and not until our 4th night there do we actually find it on the first try. Oh well, it made for a few curse words and laugher every night as we always could see it but never quite find the right street going the right way and not a one way we couldn’t enter. Obviously everyone is exhausted by this time, so we head out for a nearby pub and then dinner and a walk.
Stuff the kids notice and are intrigued by: the sheer numbers of families who drink with their kids in pubs (remember in the states, kids are not allowed in bars); active city life (both families live in the burbs);differences in vernacular and language; the hearses with the glass doors that you can see the coffin through ( our hearses are closed, no views to be seen); the funeral procession walkers. The male college kids really notice how dolled up the girls get at night and how short the skirts are. LOL. They said it was nice to see something besides leggings and Ugg boots which all the college girls here wear and cleavage in the winter. It gets cold where we live so not much cleavage for them this time of year so that was a highlight of the trip. I got tired of hearing about them looking at girls. LOL. Head back and we all play some games and cards. The men/college boys have some beers in the hotel bar which adds up so make a plan to get some take out for later in week. For some reason on this trip versus others, they have beer on their minds all week. LOL.
Day 2- Head out the door at 10 ( the plan had been 9 but a large group struggles and slows the pace down to get anywhere on time, lol) after a hearty breakfast by all. No one brave enough after recent stomach virus in our family to try the white/black sausages. About half our group has been to UK before so familiar with differences in bacon and sausages and egg yolk taste/color but the 2 picky kid eaters not too thrilled by it. All agree butter is the best we have ever tasted so we use more butter thru the next week on everything and anything than we usually would at home and hope our pants will zip up at the end of our journey home. You have a true commodity on great butter! We head out with the intention of going to Galway but a long leisurely lunch at Morans Oyster House (was on g-mas wish list) derails us. We then take our way to the Cliffs on a crazy winding road that my hubby says is the most stressful driving he has ever done in his life. We encounter some icy roads and he is thankful we have an automatic versus a stick even though he drives a stick shift Saab here every day. Many many curse words heard by my 7yo from dear old dad on this trip while he is driving and the man usually never swears. GPS works pretty well today without incident. Views are gorgeous on this road but hubby doesn’t dare take his eyes off road and I scream a few times as we scrape the hedges. We laugh because now we know where all the scrapes and the missing mirror pieces on our car were at-the previous driver had probably also been on this same path.
Catch the views and the sun is setting-just gorgeous. We go to Florida every year and always take a walk on the beach to catch the sunset so we enjoyed seeing it from another spot-a family tradition. Head back to Limerick and some more icy spots along the way. We had taken walkie talkies to communicate in case we were separated on the roadway which was nice with 2 cars. Off to get some food. Gma whooped and heads to bed. Eat at an Italian/ pizza place on the river, then the couples and college kids head to Connells or Connelly pub ( cant remember exact name) and we had an absolute blast. They really loved Americans in there and were so friendly. At first, we weren’t used to hugs from people we didn’t know, by the end of the night we knew everyone and they knew us. We so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and decided that night Ireland has the friendliest people. Words can’t express what a fantastic time we had getting to know everyone.
Will continue report later …..hopefully not too wordy thus far. LOL.