Friday, June 27, 2014

Do You Have the Gift of the Gab? Our Trip to Ireland

I've always wanted to visit Ireland and when the opportunity arose to go with a group of people I know, I couldn't resist. It wasn't hard to talk Larry into it, though he hates long flights. Actually, I'm not crazy about them either but we managed once we finally boarded a plane.

Excited and ready to fly.

We ran into a few snags, however. Our plane to Dulles was delayed several times due to weather and because there were 39 in our group, no other flight or airlines had that many seats available. So, we were put up by the airlines in a beautiful hotel and given food vouchers.

Finally on a plane.
The next morning we cheerfully headed out to catch our flight. We'd been rerouted to Newark. We arrived in Newark in good spirits. The air of good humor didn't last long. Our flight was delayed time and time again. Of course, the bad weather played a huge factor. We didn't even have a plane at the gate. The pilot and stewardesses were also waiting. When our plane finally pulled up to the tarmac, the place exploded with cheers and whistles. I couldn't help but notice the grins on the pilot's faces. Within a  short time, we were taking off. And the plane was huge and not full which allowed many people to lay down across three, others curled up in two.
Our first sight of Ireland.

Yea! We're in Dublin!
We were met by our CIE Tours bus driver at the airport and shuttled to our hotel. There we were met by our guide, a lovely Irish lass named Subina. She must have kissed the Blarney stone as she definitely has the gift of the gab. Very knowledgeable of the area, she kept us entertained with local folklore, jokes, and of course, history. 

Me in front of the Davenport
Day one of Ireland trip. Arrived at our hotel (Davenport Hotel)—a lovely historic facility. We were greeted with a full Irish breakfast. Since we'd lost a full day, we had to see a lot in a shorter period of time. After a brief break and we were back on the bus traveling through the fashionable shopping areas of Grafton and Nassau. Saw Dublin's famous elegant Georgian squares and caught a glimpse of the figures of the Famine Memorial. Toured parts of Dublin Castle. Returned to hotel for a welcome dinner. 
Dublin Castle

Our room at the Davenport
It's interesting to note that none of the hotels we stayed in were air-conditioned, however, we were always comfortable. If too warm, we asked for a fan and slept wonderfully!

The famous Guinness!
Day two of our tour. We visited the Irish National Stud and saw some of the finest stallions and learned about breeding. It's interesting to note that they do not do any artificial insemination as feel it weakens the strain. So, you can imagine how much the stud fee costs for these animals. If the mare doesn't get pregnant, there is no fee. On the grounds at the stud farm they had Japanese Gardens to portray life from birth to death. That afternoon we visited Guinness and enjoyed a pint. Burp! Worst stuff I've tasted in a while. That evening we went to Taylor's Three Rock Pub for dinner and a lively show with traditional Irish music, dancing, and story-telling. We were served Irish Coffee which could become a favorite for me. A jigger of whisky, hot coffee, and whipped cream.Yummy! 
Our guide.
Retired race horses used only for stud.
Listening to our guide.
Day three—Waterford Crystal and Kinsale Walk. At Waterford Crystal we watched master craftspeople blow and cut glass, saw examples of the many trophies they'd made for events, and elegant pieces kept for display. We checked into our hotel, the Actons Hotel and then joined a local guide at the harbor to learn the history of the harbor town. I've included pictures of the narrow, but colorful streets. We decided you had to be healthy and in good shape to live in Ireland as everything is on a hill.

Day four of our trip to Ireland—Blarney Castle. No, I didn't kiss the Blarney Stone as couldn't have hiked up the narrow curved stairway, plus I already have the gift of the gab. But I did take a peek in the dungeon. Nasty place and very damp. Before boarding our bus, I made a run through the Blarney Woollen Mills and purchased a few items. Next stop was Killarney where we enjoyed a relaxing Killarney Jaunting Car ride through Killarney National Park to Ross Castle. I loved the jaunting car and talking with our driver. During the summer months he drives visitors around and during the off season he farms. Interesting man and so informed about the area. We stopped to take a short tour of Ross Castle before returning to town. After fish and chips at a local pub, we stopped at the South Pole Inn in Annascaul for a drink. My first taste of Irish Cider, but not my last!  

Ross Castle

Larry & I with jaunting car horse Bob.

I tried to make the diagrams large enough so if you click on them you can see the detail and read the descriptions.

We had a wonderful but fun four days. In the next day or two I'll post about our last two days.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!


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