June 10, 2007

Ireland - Getting Excited

Well our 10 year anniversary trip to Ireland is coming up soon and we have been planning our trip and have as final of details as we can possibly manage. We will likely change plans but have a pretty flexible idea of what we want to see. After all, one never knows what this crazy clan will do.

Since we will be there for 6 days (one I fear quite sluggish due to my first experience ever with jet lag - any great recommendations on jet lag welcome)we are focusing our time in the areas we most want to see. There are so many wonderful things to see throughout all of Ireland and they are simply too far spread out to see at any one time. Serona has very graciously deferred to me to pick the things I most want to see and is willing to go along. His one request - that we not stick too tightly to a schedule that we can't relax and have downtime. There are many great things to see but not at the expense of pushing a clock and rushing through any of them, better to miss some than to rush through what precious time we have there. A healthy attitude I agree. So I have spent the past week and some time before that pouring through guidebooks, websites and other recommendations looking for what I most want to see and that we will enjoy the most together.

We will primarily be in Dublin. There are simply so many wonderful things to see there and so much to experience. I am looking forward to Trinity College and seeing the Book of Kells (Rhia wishes she was seeing this with us), having the pint at the Guinness Brewery, St. Patricks, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, Grafton street and St. Stephens Green among all the other things we just happen to see and experience. Serona has been there before and done many of the things I desire to do already but is happy to experience them again. We will spend several days in the city. We also plan one, perhaps two day trips in the outskirts of Dublin.

One northern trip to see the historic and archaeological sites that predate the ancient Egyptian pyramids, as well as some monastery ruins and great crosses and hopefully the Hill of Tara. As best we can tell this should be a very full but do able daytrip to return to Dublin in the evening from. There are two sites I really would like to see and others we can see if we have time along the way back. That is the flexible part - so we are not rushing just to mark off locations.

The second day trip we might do (unless we decide we need another full day in Dublin) will be to the Wicklow Mountain area, just south of Dublin. To see the Powerscourt Gardens and waterfall, Glendalough, Bray and the Wicklow Mountains themselves. Another trip short enough to do and return to Dublin if we wish, but one we could skip if we are feeling rushed or over scheduled. Still the call of nature and the beauty of this area may be just what we need to slow down a bit.

Our major excursion out of Dublin will be a two day trip to the Aran Islands and Galway. At first we had ruled it out being on the opposite coast and a three hour drive. After reading many books and looking at so many pictures and websites though it was the Aran Islands that I felt I wanted to see and stay at. Galway while interesting and worth seeing if we are there I am not sure would have convinced me of the three hour drive each way.

But the islands and the ability to see some more traditional life, the home of the Aran sweater and the idea of renting a bicycle and staying at a bed and breakfast on the quiet islands - now that is appealing. Whether I will be brave enough to look over the edge of the 200 ft cliffs I am not sure of - but Serona will enjoy that view I am sure. There is much to see and just to have what I envision to be a peaceful time in a more traditional area of Ireland with Serona holds a lot of appeal to me. Then Galway itself and possibly the town of Claddagh before we head out of Ireland and back to the States.

If we do the things we tentatively have planned it is quite a mix of history, archeology, culture, nightlife, beautiful land, nature and the people of Ireland. The elements I most want to see. No, we will not go Kiss the Blarney Stone, can you honestly even begin to imagine how much wordy I might become with the "gift of gab?" Nor will we see the land where my ancestors come from, Giant's Causeway, Kilarnery, Waterford, Rock of Cashel or some of the other hot spots to see in Ireland. We are just fine with that, there is simply so many wonderful things to see and do and we are excited for the ones we have chosen.

Now just what to do for the three plane rides to get there? I have taken up knitting socks, playing suduko, have my journal and may read a good Irish history primer. We are bringing movies, computers and the standard occupy your time items. Anyone have any other good suggestions for passing the time on a long plane ride? Getting excited to go to the one place I have dreamed of going since I was a little girl!


  1. Oh, that sounds like such an incredible anniversary holiday! Ireland is one place I've always wanted to go and never been. I don't have any advice, but I'm so happy you get to go!

  2. Re: jet lag... in all my travels overseas (I've been on a number of missions trips) I am more used to the full day flop (i.e. 11, 12, and 13 hour differences), but one thing I have found is that the sooner you switch your clock to destination time, the better it will be. This may mean that as soon as you get on that plane, be in the time zone of Ireland. Then, regardless of how you feel, sleep when it is night (in Ireland) and be awake when it is day (in Ireland). If you can start the process a day or two early it will help even more.

    Have fun!

  3. Wow! I'm excited for you! You'll love it. We went to Europe for our tenth anniversary, too.

  4. If you haven't already read them, I recommend the historical fiction books The Princes of Ireland and The Rebels of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd (yes, furd not ford). Princes goes through medieval, and Rebels starts in medieval. I really enjoyed both of them, how fictional lineages are created and you follow them through significant points of Irish history.

    You'll really enjoy Galway and the islands for giving you exposure to the traditional rural Ireland. I did a ten-day bike tour through Clare and Galway with my mom a few years ago and it was terrific. I don't know what island you are staying on, but we stayed on the Inishmore with Dun Aengus, a Celtic ring fort and it was pretty wonderful!

  5. We were in Ireland eight or nine years ago. It was fun. We were struck by just how much older things are in Ireland. We walked through a cementary. Maybe of the people burried there had died before 1776. I think some died before the founding of the colonies.

    I hope you have a great time.