Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our Ireland Anniversary Trip: Day 1&2: Dublin

Brian and I have been planning our 10th anniversary trip to Ireland for a while now, and it was everything we had hoped it would be! Brian has done so much research on his family tree, and has traced many ancestors back to Ireland, so we couldn’t wait to go see some of the places and meet the people he has been researching! As always, I took a lot of pictures, so read along and enjoy our journey with us! There are 5 separate blog entries… so hang in there!

A brief overview of our trip (with several stops along the way) was roughly 2 nights in Dublin, 1 night south in Kilkenny, 2 nights on the west side in Milltown/Killarney, and then our last night was spent near Shannon. Enjoy following along!

Ireland

We flew out on a 6-hour overnight flight to Dublin, and arrived there at 8:15, ready to hit the ground running, or driving at least!

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Our first look at the country was… Green!

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Although quite a distance from the kids, we knew they were having a wonderful time, and we were ready for a little parenting break! Thank you Aunt Bridget, Uncle Kevin, Nannie & Grandpa for taking care of everyone so we could enjoy our time together!

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And just like that… I had my very first stamp in my passport!

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Brian did an amazing job driving on the other side of the car, the other side of the road, AND with a manual transmission, especially considering that our first adventure landed us right in the heart of Dublin!

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I enjoyed all the differences I could find in a foreign country… It always took me a while to pay in Euros since I wasn’t used to all of their currency. They use a lot more coin amounts than we do! Thankfully, the shops were pretty patient with me…

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It also took me a while to figure out how to cross the street, and friends are “mates” over there.

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The tourist shops are a bit different than the ones you find in NYC…

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… and the characters on the street there aren’t Hello Kitty & Buzz Lightyear, but lucky leprechauns!

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It took me a bit to realize that when people were talking about the “Liffey”, it was actually the name of the river that runs through downtown Dublin…

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There were old buildings, churches & castles everywhere!

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We enjoyed touring the city on the Hop on, Hop off bus, and were able to cover a lot of ground that way. The first day, we took the purple route, and came back the next morning to finish the tour on the pink route.

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We got off at Dublin castle and walked around the grounds…

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Of course, the major stop of the day was the Guinness Storehouse. We did the self guided tour through the factory to learn about the history and the making of the famous (although in my opinion, gross) drink…

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We each received a complimentary Guinness on their rooftop “Gravity Bar”, and while Brian enjoyed his pint, I enjoyed the views!

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I have to say my drink looked pretty special though…

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… and I even tried it! I still don’t love it, but I couldn’t go all the way to Ireland and not try…

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We did a bit of shopping for souvenirs on Grafton Street, and enjoyed watching all the street performers along the way!

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The second day, we made a stop at the GPO, where the Easter Rising took place. Brian’s great-grandfather, Jack Lombard, was in the IRA, and this place was full of history from that time.

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In fact, we took a special trip up to the church where his great-grandparents, Jack & Kathleen Lombard, were married back in 1923. The church was closed, but it was fun to be in the same place they were many years ago!

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We also enjoyed a stroll through the beautiful grounds of Trinity College…

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A trip to the area known as “Temple Bar” provided us with a great street side lunch (on cobblestone streets) and traditional Irish music!

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You can’t come to Ireland and not enjoy some authentic fish & chips with a cold Guinness!

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Our first night in Dublin was spent with some relatives of Brian’s (his great-grandma Kathleen’s, sister’s, daughter), and we had a WONDERFUL night visiting with them. They welcomed us into their home, fed us two wonderful meals, told so many fun family stories, and even gave us a champagne toast to celebrate our anniversary! Our only regret to this trip was not being able to spend more time with them! Thank you Val & Eddie for such a memorable time!

We even got to sit on Brian’s great-great-grandmother’s couches from the 1800’s!

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After two days in Dublin, it was time to travel south to the town of Kilkenny…

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