Republic of Ireland

Day One: Orlando to Dublin. We left Orlando at 20:30 on Friday and arrived in Dublin at 10:00 on Saturday. After finding out Irish rental cars are not big enough for six and associated luggage, Anna and Trey caught a cab to the hotel while we drove ourselves and luggage. One wrong round-about exit and a quick drive on the sidewalk we located the hotel lobby to get checked in. We explored the local city and then went to EPIC the Irish Immigration Museum. We finished the day with a tour and tasting at Jameson Irish Whiskey.

Day Two: Our day started with an Irish Breakfast and a surprise car show where Trey met an Irish “cousin” who welcomed us to take a look at the vintage autos. We next moved to the Guinness tour which featured an impressive 360 degree Birds Eye view of Dublin. Next was Trinity College where we got to see the Book of Kelly’s and the Long Room, very impressive! We finished the day with a traditional Irish Hooley and dinner which featured folk songs and awesome Irish dancers at Johnny Foxes, the highest pub in Ireland.

Day Three: We’re on the move, testing Jay’s ability to drive on the “wrong” side of the road and navigate the multitude of round-a-bouts that run opposite to what you’re used to. Luckily, if you miss the turn, another round should get it, “Look kids Big Ben.” We successfully made it to Cork County and the Blarney Castle. Everyone made it to the top of the castle to lean out into the unknown, on our backs, and kiss the Blarney Stone. The verdict is still out on whether any of our verbal abilities have been improved, as Reagan said we should be able to talk good now. We then headed to the English Market in Cork and got our first taste of single track motorways. These roads would be one-way in the States but in Ireland they are two-way. We did get word that those headed uphill have the right-of-way but that did not make the first drive downhill any easier, ask about that story some time. At the English market we picked up some local goods and Portuguese wine for dinner at the Maryborough Hotel, set an impressive eighteenth-century estate!

Day Four: Farm Day, we are going to see how cheese is made at a working dairy farm, we first stopped by the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs were impressive but we only ended up with about 30 minutes to look around before we had to jump back in the car to make it to Kylemore Farms. We ended up without a minute to spare as we found that the single-track motorways can go on for miles… The right-of-way is a little less clear when on flat land and I think boils down to the one with the biggest kahunas winning, since I was a guest I yielded more often just to be safe. The farm was absolutely amazing! Once we had our protective booties on, can’t be too careful with lots of un-housetrained field animals roaming, we toured the grounds and dairy herd. Got the history of the place, Ireland, and how they got much of their fuel from cutting peat from the local bogs. The girls got to feed the baby cows and then we helped rotate the cheese, which is a daily task to keep the good bacteria growing on the rinds to protect the maturing cheese. Once this was complete Theresa and her family served us a true farm-to-table meal with many local delicacies, and of course plenty of cheese. We then headed to Galway with recommendations on which pubs to visit from the locals. We also learned that when we went to Northern Ireland, the first town we were visiting was Derry, NOT Londonderry 🙂