Monday, July 25, 2016

Day 10

Sadly this is our last day in Ireland and as we head for the airport this morning.  Our flight leaves at 10:30 in the morning and we should be home by 3:30 in the afternoon.  Here are a few things we will always remember:

  • Fire drills at 2:15 in the morning are never funny, but especially when you have to walk down 4 flights of steps and don't get back to sleep until 4:45 because they can't figure out how to turn the elevators and escalators back on.
  • Guinness tastes a whole lot better in Ireland than it does over in the states.  It goes down really really smooth over there.
  • The Aran Islands trip was just incredible.  The ferry ride, the lunch in a pub, and Dun Aengus were something we will never forget.
  • Getting a horse drawn carriage ride through an Irish National Forest was one of the most beautiful things we have ever seen.
  • The friendliness of the people and how accommodating they were.
  • We realized that we need to do more traveling overseas.  We have already started planning our next trip and are beginning to narrow down the places we would like to visit.

Remember that most of the pictures from the trip are on our Flickr account which are many more than just what you see on the blog.  Just click the link on the right to see those pictures.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day 9

Well this is it, our last full day in Ireland.  It should be a fun one though because tonight we are going to the Guinness factory and getting a tour.  Once we got onto the bus we headed to our first stop of Avoca where they were going to give us a tour of the sewing factory.  It was an interesting tour and we stopped to grab some lunch so that we could have a picnic later on today.

Once we grabbed some lunch (Julie got a veggie wrap and Lance got a pastry) we headed to Glendalough which is an early 6th century Christian monastery site founded by St. Kevin.  We were given an amazing tour and the scenery was incredible.  The best part is that afterwards we were able to find a great picnic spot overlooking everything.

After the amazing visit we loaded the bus and headed to Dublin.  Tonight would be our final excursion and it would be the one Lance was most excited about, the Guinness Factory tour.  It was all he hoped for and more.  We were given a tour of the facility and then taken to the top which is a bar overlooking Dublin and given a free pint of Guinness.  Lance was in heaven having a Guinness in the Guinness Factory and it was free.  After we had finished our pint we headed down to the Guinness restaurant which was closed except for our tour group.  We were given an amazing dinner and taught how to really drink a Guinness so that you get a the flavors.  So technically we are both Guinness testers now.  It was a great evening.

We were able to get a few things from the Guinness store and then loaded the bus to go back to the hotel. We are both really disappointed that our Ireland tour ends tomorrow.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 8

One thing that we for got to mention is that many hotels in Ireland do not have air conditioning and who can blame them when the temperature rarely gets above 75 degrees.  Unfortunately we were in one of those hotels last night and it was very humid and we had trouble sleeping.  We didn't let that gets us down though because the first stop on todays trip was Blarney.  We loaded the bus and made our way to Blarney.  Once in Blarney Lance was determined to kiss the Blarney Stone, but Julie has no desire to do it.  Lance ended up dropping Julie off at a nice coffee shop and headed off to kiss the Blarney Stone.  It is a good thing that Julie didn't go because kissing the Blarney Stone is not as easy as it sounds.  Lance has to climb 144 castle steps (castle steps = steps that are 1 - 1 1/2 inches wide) and some of them didn't have railings, but did have a rope to pull yourself up some steps.  After the long trek (more people came down than up), Lance made it to the top and was given the directions on how to kiss the Blarney Stone.  You have to lay on your back, grab the railing, and lean over the castle to kiss the stone.  Lance's turn came around and the guy behind him snapped the picture.  It was a great experience and the castle was beautiful also.

When Lance finally got back, he found Julie and told her that he kissed the Blarney Stone.  Julie then proceeded to kiss him which means that she kissed the Blarney Stone too by proctor.  We then did a little bit of shopping and had some nice coffee and pastry for lunch.

We finally got into Waterford and in the evening we went on a pub visit excursion.  We listened to some great music and had a few pints between us (Julie had ale and Lance had Beamish).  We had a great time and you can enjoy the music and craic down below.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Day 7

Today was a day that we were both excited about, but the weather did not cooperate at all.  Now we can't really complain because the weather has been great since we landed, but today it just decided to rain all day.  We boarded the bust at 8:45 today (which was great because usually we are boarding at 8:15) and began our tour of the Ring Of Kerry.  Unfortunately we did not get a lot of great pictures because of the weather and fog, but we did get a few.  We saw the most beautiful rainbow today that went from the top of the mountain to the water.  Julie's dad's birthday would have been today, so it was kind of like a reminder that he was watching us.  Enjoy the pictures.

The roads were really windy on the trip, so here is a video I shot that showed the roads and the really great weather.

When we got back from the bus trip around the Ring Of Kerry we had a little downtime before the excursion to the Muckross House.  The Muckross House is a fully restored 1800's mansion.  If you have seen Downtown Abbey (which neither of us have), it looked exactly like that we were told. Unfortunately we couldn't get any pictures inside the mansion because of the age and frailty of the items, but we did get some from outside and from the beautiful garden.

We finished the evening off with a group dinner and picture.  Tomorrow is Blarney and Waterford.  Hopefully Lance gets to kiss the Blarney Stone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 6

We started off the day later than usual and hd a nice breakfast with some of the other members of the group.  Once breakfast was finished we loaded the bus and began a tour of Limerick.  We toured the entire city by bus and then got out and were given time to King John's Castle.  They had a brief history tour of the castle and then afterwards when Lance was able to climb to the top of the castle the views were amazing as you can see from the pictures.

Once we finished up at King John's Castle (and by the way Lance did get a really nice shirt here), we headed to Foynes to visit the Flying Boat Museum.  Neither one of this were really excited about visiting this museum, but we were really glad we did.  It was fascinating learning about the flying boats and exploring a replica Boeing B314.  We had a nice lunch here and finally headed for our final destination of the day; Killarney.  When we arrived at Killarney we were given a horse drawn carriage ride through the national park and Ross Castle.  I took videos and pictures of this, so enjoy.

After we got to our hotel we had a lovely dinner and Lance finally got his fish and chips with a pint of Guinness and he was in heaven.  Tomorrow we are getting to enjoy the Ring Of Kerry all day.  We are both pretty excited.  Remember to check out our Flickr link on the right hand side to see all of our pictures from every day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 5

Well we finally got a good nights sleep and the jet lag seems to be completely gone.  Like our tour guide, Katherine, says, "We look bright eyed and bushy tailed."  This morning after breakfast at the hotel we boarded the bus at 8:15 to make our way to Rathbaun Farms.  When we entered the first thing we did was make some scones.  We were divided into groups of six and the group we were in had two younger girls in it so we let them do everything.  The lady leading the demonstration was quite funny and Julie laughed quite often.

After we watched the two younger girls in our group make the scones they took them away to bake them.  We then headed to see the sheep farmer to tell us how the farm operated.  He showed us some of the sheep, gave is a demonstration of his work dog working, and how to shear a sheep.  Overall it was quite fun and Lance got a good picture of his little granddaughter playing with one of the baby sheep.

Afterwards we ate our scones and took pictures of the farm and the thatch roof.  The tour director even told Julie she had to take a picture with Lance which was funny because they were both being bullheaded, but the tour director won as you can see from the picture.

Once we were through at Rathbaun Farms and Lance got his picture, we loaded the bus and started our journey to the Cliffs Of Moher.  We made a few stops along the way so we could snap some pictures of the beautiful countryside.

Around 1:30 we finally made it to the Cliffs Of Moher and we were not disappointed.  It was amazing and awe inspiring.

Tonight we are going to rest up and get ready for even more adventures tomorrow.