August 28th – Sept 6th 2016
Back in the air & back to the Emerald Isle. This time with an extra travel companion, my (Richard’s) mom, Rosa.
We spent the first few days getting to know the west of Ireland, where Siobhan’s parents, Mike & Shannon, live six months out of the year.
Our moms, Rosa & Shannon 🙂
We capped our first night off at a pub with a proper Irish Guinness. It is a 100% different product than what we have in the States. Smoother, thinner, & just not as heavy. A shame we can’t get the exact same in the US
On the bright side Mike, Siobhan’s father, is a great cook and makes one hell of an Irish breakfast. And it could be argued breakfast is greater than beer.
Mike & Shannon’s Home in the West of Ireland 🙂
Next stop, Catholic guilt? (just kidding) A visit to the Church of Knock, or Knock Shrine grounds since there are four churches and a basilica. The Apparition Church is where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared, an old parish church where Siobhan’s Uncle Kevin and Aunt Brid were wed, a Sacrament Chapel & a Chapel of Reconciliation. There is also a museum, graveyard as well as caravan campgrounds on the premises.
Off to Galway city. And on to our first (and only) hop-on, hop-off bus tour; A Thatch Museum (those straw roofed cottage homes); and a picnic in Eyre Square also known as John F. Kennedy Memorial Park
Siobhan’s Aunt and three cousins 🙂
Family tea time at the Thatch Cottage Museum in Galway
A trip to the West of Ireland wouldn’t be complete without the main tourist attraction, The Cliffs of Moher. We arrived (at the same time as several tour buses) to 0 visibility with dense fog & a bit of rain. Fortunately for us, we had driven. (Unfortunately for the many groups of tour buses their schedule didn’t allow time to wait for the fog to clear.) And sure enough it did.
The drive there had been a gorgeous one and if you are a fan of scenic routes The Wild Atlantic Way should be on a few googled top 10 list.
That evening we found ourselves in a 16th century castle (or Castillo 😉 for a medieval night filled with wine, dinner, storytelling, and music.
The Irish countryside, rolling green hills, sheep grazing, stacked stone fenced fields…
Kylemore Abbey & its Gothic Church
What distinguishes most places from others though isn’t often the landscape, but the people. And the Irish are a stand-out. Not just those we had the pleasure of dining with here in Ireland, but also the ones we had met and would meet along our travels. On two separate evenings we were fortunate to have dinner with friends and family. First Mike & Shannon’s neighbors, the McDonnells. Then Mike’s brother Kevin & his family along with Mike and Shannon’s friend, Stretch.
We spent our last day and a half in Dublin, staying in the new hip waterfront district as we explored the beautiful city on a typical sunny Irish summer day.
I would have liked to end this post with a nice photo of the everyday blue sky reflecting off the River Liffey that cuts through the heart of Dublin . . .
. . . But then my wife would be remiss to have left you without the hidden gem that Ireland offers. Curry chips from Supermacs (yes those are fast food fries topped with curry sauce and cheese).