So, I've been recounting my trip last week to Ireland. In my previous post I told about arriving and Scrambling with Heather on my first day there, then going to Wicklow National Park the next day. I know I surprised Heather with how quickly I adapted to the 6 hr time difference - I think the trick was sleeping very little on the planes over.
A bit on that - I flew from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, leaving at 7:22 pm on Friday the 16th. I spent most of that 8 hr trip watching movies on my little viewer. My layover in Amsterdam was nearly three hrs; I basically sat like a zombie and tried to read a book! Then I hopped an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin - by this time I was quite tired and slept away most of the 70 minute flight!! Arrived in Dublin airport at 1:40 pm and zipped right through customs. Heather and her hubby were waiting for me in the "Arrivals" area - I knew ahead of time from Heather that it was by a little shop named Spar. I recognized Heather right away and was delighted to meet her and Philip. Then we traveled down the "motorway" to Heather's house in a town southwest of Dublin. I met Heather's two boys, Mark and Adam, and the dog Toby - my new buddy. After stashing my suitcases, we sat and visited, then had dinner - dinner at the Doran home is a family affair. Everyone gathers around the table and actually dines - I typically don't do that so it was refreshing. We did a quick clean up and got ready to Scramble. After the Scramble Heather prompted me to email my family back in the US to say I arrived safely - I was totally not thinking by this point and had forgotten them. Oh well.... I slept pretty well and got up bright and early for our trip to Wicklow on Sunday (see previous post).
Picking up with Monday the 19th, Heather and I began our travels out into the country. I teased Adam, asking him if he was going to make dinner while we were gone. He was quick to say, "no, that would be Mark" - LOL. Heather drove her car - with me calling it driving on the "wrong" side of the road; I'm so politically incorrect - it should be the "left hand side" of the road. They have a lot of roundabouts in Ireland - you really have to pay attention to the signs posted everywhere. A side note on that - everything is listed in English and in Irish. My knowledge of Irish is zero, and my accent is terrible (but not as bad as others, I'm told). Anyway, as navigator I was supposed to keep us on the right road; Heather always had her little crib notes though, just in case I screwed up. Heather's car has a stick shift so that guaranteed I wouldn't be driving (I was a stick shift drop out in driving class). Probably a good thing not to have me forgetting and going onto the right hand side!!
Our first stop - Waterford, Ireland's oldest city and home of Waterford crystal. The city was established by the Vikings, possibly some of my ancestors - LOL. We visited the House of Waterford Crystal Visitors' Center and got a demo of how the pieces are made. The guide explained that 95% of the cut work is done by hand we got to see an artisan at work - amazing!! We also saw some machines doing bits of the more intricate work on heavy pieces. I took this photo for Philip who loves American football (I brought him a Green Bay Packer t-shirt; sorry Vikings - I'm from Wisconsin originally):
Just look at all those intricate cuts - so gorgeous!! Well, I didn't buy anything since even a paper weight was a bit "dear" as they say over there - I'd say pricey. Really wanted that purple vase though - maybe, next time!
Waterford has its round tower, Reginald's Tower. Ugh - the photo of Heather impersonating a Viking didn't turn out so great so I won't share it; she has a similar one of me - maybe she'll share... An aside - Heather doesn't like her photo taken. My nickname for her is going to be Aunt Marie because my aunt is the same way! Anyway, by the end of my week Heather was getting used to my camera in her face!! So here's a photo of the Reginald's tower that I took from across the street along the waterfront:
There is so much history in Ireland - I'm glad I have little brochures from the places we visited as I'll never remember it all! Our destination for the day was Cork where Heather had arranged spots in Decie's B&B but I saw that the town of Ardmore wasn't too far off the route. Anyone who knows me well knows I love anything written by Nora Roberts. She has set many novels in Ireland and one series, Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy, is set in Ardmore. Off we went to see the town! Oh my, how lovely - we walked all around and saw yet another round tower and the ruins of the Ardmore Cathedral with its serene cemetery. Here's my favorite view from the corner of the cemetery looking towards the sea:
We also had a lovely lunch of the best pureed vegetable soup with brown bread in a sweet little cafe with art gallery. The server made a delicious latte too! Then we headed on down the road to Cork to our little B&B. After dumping our luggage we went off to find dinner in a pub - yummy food! Heather had a traditional meal of a piece of ham with stuffing on top, topped with a slice of chicken and gravy. I had a burger and some chips (fries). Another great day in Ireland and I'll share more of our adventures later. Thanks for stopping by!!