Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ireland 2012: Part 1

My mom and I journeyed to Ireland the day after Thanksgiving for a tour around the country. We landed in Dublin bleary eyed and got our rental car. I was the lucky driver for the trip - it is definitely a strange sensation being on the wrong side of the car and road. I definitely drove on the wrong side a few times in the country that day but I got used to it pretty quickly. We went to Enniskerry first which was about a 30 minute drive away. There isn't much there but we found a good cafe that was filled with locals. We grabbed hot drinks and a croissants before heading to Powerscourt which has a big house filled with shops and lots of gardens. We walked around the gardens for awhile and we were really impressed. There was a beautiful view of the mountains too. We grabbed lunch in their cafe before going to the nearby Powerscourt Waterfall which is very pretty. Then we checked into our B&B in Glendalough. I fell asleep for about 3 hours! I really needed it. Then we decided to walk to a nice restaurant down the street - in the dark with flashlights! Quite the adventure! We both had Irish Stew which warmed us up on the cold night before walking back to our B&B to get to bed early. The next day we enjoyed our first B&B Breakfast before going to the monastic city ruins that Glendalough is famous for. It's at the foot of the mountains and along a river. I was shocked at how beautiful it was! I had very low expectations and it really blew my mind. It was one of my favorite stops. Such a great combo of nature and history. From there we drove to Kilkenny. It was a rainy dreary day but we found good indoor activities. First I think we got lunch and then we went to St. Canice's Cathedral before getting a tour of the castle. We loved our tour guide and we enjoyed the tour. It was the first of many castles we saw on our trip. After the tour we did lots of shopping in their craft store and we found tons of great items. Then the biggest driving challenge of the entire trip - driving in the country to a B&B with no real address. Boy, was that tough and stressful. We were very tense as it was raining and dark and only our 2nd day in the car. Somehow we miraculously found it eventually and were able to check in. Only to find that the heat didn't work in our rooms. They fixed it for a moment but then it was quickly shut off after awhile so poor mom froze that night. We used their wifi before deciding to grab a bite in a nearby town. Our B&B owner's directions sounded quite easy but they were not! We were driving aimlessly foreverrrrr! Somehow we found the recommended restaurant eventually and enjoyed a nice light dinner. The drive back was even worse! We really had a hell of a time but we got home! Then mom suffered through a freezing night while I was upstairs in the loft with a space heater. Not ideal but still one of our favorite places because the owners were SO cool and the b&b itself and their home were incredible. They had farm animals and the place sat above a river. They made us great food in the morning and told us we had to go to Kells Priory nearby. We were able to find that pretty easily and loved what we found - an entire field of sheep in front of the stunning priory. Classic Ireland! We soaked in the view and took a walk among the sheep before heading to Blarney Castle. I was surprised at how cool Blarney was! I figured it would be this silly tourist trap but the castle really is just ruins and there's lots of other fun things to see. It was an incredibly windy day and it made us nervous inside the open air castle as we walked up the crazy stairs. We finally got to the top and had to kiss the stone! Afterwards we walked around their different gardens - my favorite was the poison garden! SO cool! We spent several hours there and then drove to Cork. Our B&B there was great! So easy to find and they had easy parking out front. They gave us a great map and we were able to walk into town. We found a few different things to check out including the market where we grabbed caffeine and treats and then we went to a really cool art museum that had some incredible modern pieces. After that we went to a church and mom lit candles for her Irish fam. We also found our first Butler's where we bought some yummie chocolates. Then we went to the pub that our B&B owner suggested. It was a bit touristy but we were happy. We both had our first fish & chips of the trip and my first Smithwicks. The next day we enjoyed yet another delicious breakfast before making our way to Adare which was one of our favorite little stops! More on that later!

No comments:

Post a Comment