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long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

indpls
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long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

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.

Limerick, Ireland
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1. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

My Oh MY!!

You picked some hairy days to be here :o)) St. Stephen's Day (the 26th) was a wicked day for driving.

And yes, the absolute is a lovely hotel. Very nice, excellent food. The restaurant you went to for pizzas/pasta is Milanos. The staff are lovely and the food is good with nice views if you are upstairs.

And yes, a lot of our young ladies (including my own teenager grrrr) dress more "tropically" than sensibly.

Looking forward to your next report :o)

Waterford, Ireland
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2. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

Love the idea of the miniskirted girls being a tourist attraction! Looking forward to the next instalment.

indpls
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3. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

Yes, I think that was the name and we did sit upstairs. The pizza was so good that the kids went back there later that week.

The college boys are mine but they live away at college so I had forgotten how testoerone filled the conversations go when being with them for extended periods of time. Sigh!!!. Trust me, I got so tired of them looking and noting all the ample cleavage exposed this week. We live in turtleneck/sweater country this time of year so apparently they have been deprived. While we are on the subject they also enjoyed the daisy duke short shorts over leggings look too. Lol. And they also really appreciated all the high heels and short skirts on NYE in Dublin. Drunk girls need to remember not to bend over bc men look when you wear teeny tiny dresses. Mine were not the only ones looking, all the young Irish fellows also noticed that trick.and were calling out "nice cheeks"

Anyhow, this topic has shifted (lol) but men are the same everywhere I guess but it is def one of the highlights of the trip for my college kids. I take them on a trip for culture/history/learning and this is what I get. LOL..

County Meath...
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4. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

Great report,looking forward to the continuation !

Dublin, Ireland
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5. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

Funny how the see through hearses (which we take for granted) are not used in the U.S.

I remember me and my friends when we were little ones running out to our garden wall to watch the hearse passing by to the church usually on a Winters's evening. We loved to watch the coffin all lit up in the dark with all the flowers on top. I think we were starved of entertainment back in the 80's :-))

Enjoyed the report by the way!

Edited: 02 January 2010, 23:11
indpls
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6. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

Day 3 Blarney Castle/Kinsdale

Everyone is still getting along. Daily breakfast included in our rate which is nice to not have to go search for somewhere every morning. Nice variety of choices again and the food is pretty good at the Absolute Hotel. Head out to Blarney Castle and even if people say it’s too touristy we enjoyed it and the teenagers had this on their to do list. We tried with a large group to accommodate at least one attraction on everyone’s to do list. The grounds were lovely and we took a long walk around and imagine it must be even prettier in the summer. Kids really enjoyed being somewhere they could run around and play imaginary games like they were living in that time period. Even though we knew we would spend a fair amount of time in the car, it still got old for the younger crew and g-ma. G-ma a seasoned world traveler but has reached the age she just can’t go it alone anymore so we knew we would be doing a slower pace and not accomplishing as much this trip but we have long meals together thru the week and all enjoy being together which was the whole purpose of the trip.

Head off to Kinsdale and gps has some problems in the country but we find out way eventually on some scenic winding roads. The walkie talkies were invaluable to us for communication. Kinsdale just lovely and scenic but quite crowded. Take a long walk, hit some shops, and eat a long leisurely lunch at the very back of the Blue Haven. I think it was a sister restaurant of theirs, not sure. Food good, restaurant very crowded and many families in there having tea. Rainy and cold the whole day with icy spots esp on the way home. We are used to ice and snow but a bit trickier on narrow roads and we didn’t see a salt truck out the whole week til we got to the airport for departure. Head back to Limerick and we get separated somehow in Cork. I wish we would have time to see more of Cork because it looked interesting along the river. We hit it at rush hour and make a wrong turn and it takes us about a half hour to sort our way out. Eat at a steakhouse which the hotel recommended. We hadn’t wanted a steakhouse and it was ok so I think their was some miscommunication on our part as to what we were looking for. Everyone is pretty tired so we played some cards and games in the hotel lounge.

Day 4 Bunratty Castle/ Hunt Museum

The group split up. We had originally all planned to go to Dingle for the day but my family was a bit tired of spending so much time in the car and the inclement weather and traffic conditions and not just having family time. Interpret this as hubby just couldn’t do the bad weather driving and wanted a day off too. We also prefer to see attractions at a much slower pace than my brothers family does…they tend to race through stuff…we mosey along. We head to Bunratty Castle, which we enjoy but it is pouring cold rain all day long. Some icy patches again but it is not a long drive. We head back and eat fish and chips and tea at a diner in Limerick across from Pennys. Off to the Hunt Museum which we all enjoyed and spend a few hours at. The group that went to Dingle has a dickens of a time getting home with the roads and had to leave early as they were told by the shop keepers the road getting out of town was getting ready to close because of snow. Some of the group heads back to the yummy pizza place and some are just tired of the inclement weather and g-ma too tired to go anywhere so we eat a late dinner at the Absolute. One kid heads to SuperMaxx bc he wanted to try a burger.

Day 5 head to Dublin

Heavy heavy rain on our way and we see a horrific accident just outside Dublin so caught in traffic for a while. Everyone is a bit tired and cranky and hungry after checking into the Shelbourne Hotel so off we go in search of food. Rain still pelting down and gma just not able to do the long walking as we search for a restaurant that satisfies everyone as most places very busy. Finally we decide on M and S which the men were a bit miffed at bc they wanted a Guinness with their meal. At the end of the meal all agree it was delicious and it was nice to not spend as much as we had on other meals for a change. Their soups were to die for and the kids loved it watching all the shoppers and other families. Groups break apart and some go shopping, some go to a pub. Head out to the Brazen Head for dinner and storyteller (see review.) Took taxis as g-ma not up for this long walk. College kids and parents head out to O’Donoghues bc it is very near our hotel and we all enjoy-very crowded in this area at night. Kids love the Shelbourne as they feel very top notch and pampered bc my family usually does not stay at such a nice place but I had gotten a great rate 2 months prior. The 7 yo took a long bath and loved the robe and slippers, the enormous bathroom and mirrors and seeing the brides taking pics in the lobby and xmas decorations etc. She felt like a princess. The doorman always got a kick out of her too

Day 6

Sleep in until 9 bc all are tired with early rising all week. Hubby and I take walk around area and pick up some juice and bagels for the kids. We sure missed our big breakfasts that were included in our room in Limerick but know the budget doesn’t hold breakfast at the Shelbourne in our future this day. LOL. Husbands work calls him so further delay as he has to problem solve via phone/computer. We decide to do a HOHO bus which usually we explore by foot or city bus bc we are pressed for time to explore on our own by then. The college boys def notice the girls are spiffier in the city, lol and downright gorgeous. Again, I am tired of the “girl talk.” The men head off to Guiness bc they had wanted to do that. They enjoy it but had hoped to see more of a brewery like operation up close like they had in the states. They drank their share of beer this week. Women and children head to Kilmainham Gaol which we thoroughly enjoy, took about 2 hours. Our guide was fantastic and I highly recommend this. G-ma head off for woolen and yarn stores, some head out to cathedral and I head off to Dublinia for daughters to do list. She really enjoyed it and I would recommend this for school age kids as it is interactive. She and I eat at a bistro near there as its 4 pm and nothing since breakfast. We split some cake and tea-so much for healthy eating. She and I do a bit of shopping on O’Connell St and its dark so we head back so other don’t worry about us. Everyone packs for flight out tomorrow, then out to dinner at Hugo’s (reviewed) which brother had seen and wanted to try bc of all fresh ingredients advertised. Pretty restaurant inside and we were fortunate that another party of 10 had just cancelled. LOL.Adults head out to have one last pub experience and end up at O’Neils (sp?) to listen to the music. We notice it is snowing so we all stand outside to see the gorgeous big snowflakes and all comment how blessed we feel to be together on NYE in such a surreal experience as Dublin and gorgeous snowflakes. It just felt magical at that moment. About 2345 we head down to river to hopefully see fireworks which we just saw a few but again the magical moment for us to experience NYE abroad was lovely! We saw many revelers out that night, lol. Head back to O’ Donaghues bc we knew where it was and have some Baileys. College kids had wanted to experience a nightclub so they went to Q-bar (sp?) but felt a bit out of place. We all had about 2 hours sleep before we had to head out to airport but had not done heavy drinking/partying so were just tired. We all commented on our late night walk that night about how dressed up everyone was and we had no idea how they were managing to walk in such high heels thru the icy roads. The Shelbourne was very crowded with people dressed to the nines that night.

Day 7-Icy roads on the way to the airport and our flight delayed quite awhile. All are sad to leave and truly enjoyed the friendliness of all that we met, the hospitality wherever we went. Truly a lovely people and country. We have hopes to go back because we felt like we just had a small taste and wanted to do so much more but are happy we got to do it with family and gma. We laugh a bit because we had heard/read that Ireland tends to not get some bad weather w/r/t ice/snow which did hinder our travels a bit but all was good. We also had heard it got dark early but until you are experiencing it you don’t appreciate how it does cut into your plans for the day.

Another observation we did have was the enclosed smoking areas off of bars bc we don’t have those in the Midwest. Some were heated and decorated almost like the pub itself. Also why are bathrooms so cold in public buildings? The only warm public bathrooms we encountered were in the hotels. It was interesting. Butter will never taste the same now back in the states either.

County Meath...
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7. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

Fabulous report ! Thank you for taking the time to share your trip with us .

Edited: 03 January 2010, 22:21
indpls
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8. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

thank you Mary. I always write long reports in the hope of helping others! I will always inspect my wiper blades before renting a car again and wish I had read that somewhere, lol.

My fav tip I ever read on TA was to pack snacks so you always have room to take home souvenirs and have snacks you live whilst away from home. LOL.

I truly hope we get to come back in nicer weather in a smaller group. We loved it but felt cheated we didn't get to do more.

Limerick, Ireland
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9. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

Another BRILLIANT report Wam!!

The "Diner" you ate in was the O'Connell Grill and its been part of the scenery here in Limerick forever but not some place I'd usually recommend.

Glad you had such a wonderful time, and yes, while the snow was magical, it was very difficult to drive in.

We've been having the most protracted cold spell here since December 1962 - January 1963 (that was a year!! there were main roads blocked with snow. My Mum was speaking today of how she drove from Limerick to Waterford and back during that time and there was only one track going to Waterford and one track going to Limerick and you couldn't deviate from the track)

County Meath...
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10. Re: long trip report 12/2009 extended family of 10

Bean your Mum was a brave woman.We went to Dingle & back for NYE on a wing & a prayer.Looking back now,although an enjoyable trip,it wasn't one of our brightest ideas !