Thursday, October 04, 2007


At this point, we've been home nearly a week from our big trip to Ireland... It was a fun trip, but it was alot of work for Mom and Dad: not nearly as much of a vacation as we would have liked, I think. We went for a little over two weeks: arrived in Dublin on Friday morning and spent most of the weekend doing some local exploring in the parks, (especially St. Stephen's Green near our hotel) and getting the kids adjusted to the time change. The first week Dad worked, while mom tried to hold the family together: It was pretty stressful on everyone for Dad to get up early (before Teresa!) and take the light rail train to meet his carpool, and then arrive back at the hotel just in time to rush off for a not ludicrously expensive dinner before a bit of playtime and then bedtime. To make matters worse, Mom caught a bit of cough ("A bug caught Momma!") and wasn't sleeping well anyway. Fortunately, for the most part Teresa adjusted well to living in the hotel (and later B&Bs) although by the end of her trip, she was beginning to tire of the whole process (as were we all).

Dublin highlights:
Chasing pigeons in the park.
Feeding the ducks in the park.
Short swings: easy to pump!
Figuring out how to walk on the wiggly beams.
Listening to buskers on Grafton Street
St. Andrew's/Andrea's church, converted into the tourist info center.
Churches in general: "Spires go way up into the sky and reach up to the heavens!"
"Another taxi!"
Taking the train to Dun Laoghrie and watching the boats.
Doing puzzles at all hours in the hotel lobby.
Flirting with the guys going off to play golf.
Climbing in and out of the port-a-crib.
Lots of yogurt.

On Friday, Tina and Peter flew in from Denmark and we joined them at a B&B in Navan county Meath just north of Dublin. The owner was also a sheep farmer, so there were lots of sheep to watch and a slide in the backyard, which was as much fun to jump from as to slide down. On Saturday, we did a little exploring and discovered Bestwick Abbey, a somewhat standing old church in the area, which was a great climbing structure. On Sunday, we began our cross-country drive, attempted a hike in the driving rain, gave up, and ended up near Nenagh in the central portion of the country in search of a playground. Asking around, we discovered that the nearest playground was in a small town called Dromineer off of Loch Derg, a few km outside of town. We ended up finding the playground and staying at the B&B next door: a great little place that was the former Gargai (police) barracks. It turns out that Dromineer was once a main port on the canal route from Limerick to Dublin, but is now a small town mostly used by boaters in the summer. We did have a great night of roaring rain, but were able to enjoy it (and the spiders in the window!) from inside.

On monday, we finished our trek across the country to the Dingle peninsula. Most of the day was rainy, which made our 'perfect stop' going to see the Crag Cave. Most of the rest of our trip was spent on the Dingle Peninsula at a B&B between Lispole and Dingle. We were originally hoping to do a great B&B to B&B trek, but in the end we settled for one big hiking day where our host dropped us off in nearby Anascaul and we hiked about 6 miles back to Lispole, where she picked us up again. The stretch of the Dingle Way we did was mostly on back roads, letting us take the stroller and not have to worry about carrying both kids plus all our gear. Teresa wasn't terribly sure that she wanted to do a hike in the beginning (being more interested in puzzles and the B&B dog Fairn) and Daddy carried her most of the first mile. fortunately, after that she warmed up our adventure (after being assured that we were going BACK to the B&B) and ended up walking quite a bit. We had lunch at Minard Castle beach, dominated by a once formidable fortress, and got to wander around the rocks for a bit before continuing.

On another outing, we went to Dingle and took a boat into the harbor to see Fungie, the Dingle resident dolphin (pleasing crowds since 1984!) Teresa got a great kick out of that and combined with getting to climb on the bronze Fungie statue, it was one of the highlights of her trip.

Mom and Dad's 5th anniversary was on the trip: Dad surprised mom with a GPS receiver, so we could try geocaching (or "searching for buried treasure"). We looked for one overlooking Inch Strand (which was no longer there, apparently) and later in the week tried to find another no O'Conner pass (which we didn't have the right coordinates for).

Teresa and Owen both did pretty well in the Pubs/restaurants for dinner, although one time near the end of our trip, Teresa adamantly asserted that she did NOT want to go to a restaurant for dinner: Mom and Dad ended up with takeout Chinese food back at the B&B. They were both often a hit with the other patrons, and Teresa would sometimes carry on conversations with other people all by herself. Of course she was also interested in just having them read her a book!

On Friday, we left our wonderful B&B and headed north, taking a detour across the Tarbert-Killimer car ferry (also a hit, of course) before spending one last night in Bunratty near the Shannon airport.

More highlights:
Teresa's purple rock from the Cave.
Climbing on Fungie.
Potty adventures (squatting in the park, realizing she had to go potty after going down 4 stories into the Cave, waking up with dry diapers, her realizing this and the next night deciding to take her diaper off before going to bed and then climbing out of the crib to go potty (all by herself!))
Picking out a hat (and a hat for Kristi!) at the farmer's market.
Digging in the sand on the beaches.
Getting stuck behind a herd of sheep on dingle.
Reading books with Peter.
Taking a shower by herself using the hand shower.

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