We Go to Ireland

Newgrange

My sister Libby and I boarded a plane for Ireland eight years ago this St. Patrick’s Day.  It was definitely a bucket list trip.

Our adventure was also the impetus for my first foray into blogging, which was intended solely for my family, as you will gather if you read the entries.  It started out as a series of long, involved emails until a cousin suggested a blog would be a better way to let our extended family read about the trip.  She was either trying to free up her email inbox or encourage me to write even more – I have never decided which.   I put the blog away after the travelogue and didn’t resurrect it for general audiences until a year later.

I’m reprinting our travel blog in all its glory in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.   I’ve added photos (something I didn’t know how to do in 2009) and present links to each post at the bottom of this one.  They’re listed in the order written in case you want to travel along with us.

I should warn you that it is a loooong journey, literary-wise.  The trip didn’t take as long as the telling about it did, as one helpful sibling pointed out.  Several times.  It seems I hadn’t figured out editing back then, either.

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We had a wonderful time in the land of our ancestors. We got in to the Dublin airport early in the morning, after about 3 hours of sleep, and decided to head north from the airport to see the sights and get used to the driving away from the city.

Lib and I went to an ancient burial site called Newgrange that is 1000 years older than Stonehenge and 100 years older than the pyramids. It was really impressive. The weather was lovely, sunny with blue skies and daffodils were in bloom everywhere. In fact, everyone we met wherever we went remarked that the weather the week we were in Ireland was the nicest it had been in 2 years.

After lunch at a pub in a charming little town, we decided mid-afternoon to head for the city and find our hotel.

See the street sign? Up on the second floor on the left, tiny and faded? Yeah. Try reading THAT while zipping around in a car.

Our first day in Dublin was taken straight from Dante’s 3rd circle of hell, the one with really narrow streets (none of them straight or grid-like), huge buses and suicidal bike riders all over. There are no visible street signs and traffic is moving too quickly to dare stop and ask anyone where you are. We later learned they have plaques mounted on the second story of the buildings that tell the street names. You can’t actually see them from the street – you have to stand right under them, and squint up through a telescope. But don’t get too attached to that street name, because it is sure to change in the next block. I’m not kidding. We hit Dublin the first day around rush hour, minus a map of the city and suffering from serious jet lag. It is a testament to our Christian upbringing that Lib and I were still on speaking terms when we finally dragged our spineless bodies into the hotel after a couple of hours of aimless, terror-filled city driving.

The next day, after a good night’s sleep, we set out to conquer Dublin on foot, armed with a good map. We toured a typical Georgian gentleman’s house on the square, went through the park, admired the architecture, went to Trinity College and looked at the beautiful illuminated manuscripts and their 2 story, vaulted library. We walked over the Liffey River to the historic post office, hit some shops for souvenirs, had breakfast in a little basement restaurant, coffee in a cafe and dinner in a pub right downtown. We split fish and chips and shepherds pie, served by a young Asian man with an Irish accent.

Kilmainham Gaol

We even braved the extensive bus system to get out to the old jail, Kilmainham. We arrived at 4 to be told that the last tour of the day was sold out. This was one of the few places Lib really wanted to see, so that was disappointing. We spend a few $ to get into the museum and strolled around in a desultory fashion trying to get a feel for the place before we had to head back out to try to figure out what bus would take us back to the city center. The tour group left from the museum and we asked the young woman holding the door if they possibly had any cancellations so we could join the tour. She looked around furtively and said “get along with you then; I didn’t see a thing” and motioned us after the departing tour group. So we got our tour after all!

It was a sobering place with a rich history. During the potato famine, the place swelled with people who preferred jail to freedom because they would at least have a roof and a little food. Later it was a political prison that saw the deaths of countless Irishmen who fought for centuries to get out from under the English thumb.

Yum!

When we stayed at B&Bs, we had the full Irish breakfast every morning. This consists of one egg, baked beans, 2 pieces of what they call bacon, which we would call ham, 2 large pieces of sausage, toast and black or white pudding. This is actually another kind of sausage, with or without blood. We took it without the blood, thank you very much. If you were lucky, they served brown bread. I developed a passion for Irish scones and chewy brown bread that rivals Mom’s baked goods obsession.

Some OTHER people recently visiting the country developed such a nose for the ale that she (I mean the mythical person) could tell from across the room whether the drops spilled on the pub floor were Guinness, Swithwick, Murphys or, God forbid, Heineken. She (I still mean the mythical person) could further place the source of the brew’s hops in the proper county, within 2 kilometers of the farm, and speculate intelligently on which of the farmer’s sheep had fertilized the field. That requires a level of dedicated study heretofore unheard of in one week’s time. But what happens in Ireland stays in Ireland, as they say.

Anyway, enough of a travelogue for now.

Hope all is well with all of you-
Lots of love,
Peg

Our travels continue…

Lib’s rebuttal

First Night

On To Cork

Still Bound For Cork

Finally, Cork

Hoary Bitch

From Cork to Cobh to Limerick

Wherein We Meet Our Cousin

The Craic

The Soul of Ireland

The Quiet Man

To Athlone and Beyond

Maynooth College

Farewell to Ireland

 

 

 

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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26 Responses to We Go to Ireland

  1. Kooky Chic says:

    I’m pretty sure we spent most of our time in the car driving down one way streets the wrong way in Dublin. Nobody seemed to mind, well that’s what we told ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. judithhb says:

    Thanks Peg for sharing this. Recently I’ve been reading some of my earlier posts. Interesting to see what we were doing way back.

    Like

  3. I’ve not been to Ireland. It’s on my bucket list too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Epic in scope. Ready to be filmed. Who do you see as your love interest? And what’s the conflict?

    2009. Dang, baby, that’s a long time ago. Time for a revisit, methinks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Peg! I’ve been absent for a while, but yours is one of my first to visit now I am returned (you’re welcome). I loved this first installment, and a couple of others I clicked on. Haven’t got time to read them all, but I will bookmark and come back and read the others when I can! You’ve experienced more of Ireland than I have and I’m spitting distance! Isn’t that often the way though?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I would love to visit, even if I spent most of my time lost in the streets. My top places to see before I die are Ireland, Italy, and Iceland. (Pretty much all the I places…)

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  7. Ireland has been at the top of my bucket list for a very long time. As I just passed another milestone birthday I fear It will stay there. I love reading about your Irish escapades and live vicariously through them. I confess to being envious.

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    • pegoleg says:

      It was so great. I was home for the weekend and looked through my sister Lib’s scrapbook of the trip – it’s the best scrapbook I’ve ever seen – and remembering all the fun times.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Spent two weeks in Dublin back around the same time, was fortunate it was all expenses paid for work and so had a wonderful time over two weekends and in the evenings exploring.

    Enjoyed reading about your trip! Brave of you to drive, I stuck with public transportation.

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    • pegoleg says:

      Hey, Val, how are you doing? Maybe we passed one another in the street, but we wouldn’t know because I had my strained eyes firmly glued on the road. It says something when your credit cards automatically include the collision damage waiver on rental cars, except in a handful of countries, and one of them is Ireland.

      Like

  9. Dacian says:

    Awesome post!

    Like

  10. Shannon says:

    I remember discovering your Ireland posts accidentally a few years back. Such a joyful read! Adventures all, if I recall. Hope you and the fam are all well, Peg.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks so much, Shannon. They are very long and rambling, but reflect how wonderful the trip was. My sister Libby has brain cancer and is doing as well as can be expected, but these trips are no longer in the cards. 😦

      Like

      • Shannon says:

        Aw, so sorry to read, Peg. I know how close you two are. I hope her ride is at least a comfortable one if not a complete recovery; you are a gem to have at her side. My best to you both. X

        Like

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