Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some great craic

Sorry, sorry everyone. I've officially been done with my study abroad experience for a week now and still no posts. I know you are all dying to know how the family trip went, home amazing Iceland was, and how I'm adjusting back to American life. Well- here ya go. Picking up from where I left off.

Family arrived on Thursday morning to Dublin. They were expecting me to surprise them at the airport but no, not there. They were expecting me to be waiting in the lobby, but no, not there either. I was just waiting in the room with Emily and Pat, eating a scone. Katie and Dan knocked on the door, I jumped up to open it, and that was where I saw my family for the first time in 5 months. So happy I didn't really have anything to say to them . Just sat there with a smile on my face.

Thursday we just hung out in Dublin. Took a trip to the Guinness Brew House for my family to enjoy their first Guinness and tried to get the family adjusted to Irish time. It took awhile, and the grumpyness of everyone left us all a little nervous for the rest of the trip, but once Friday morning came, we were ready to go.

Sam, our wonderful guide, and the Vagabond van came to take us on our journey Friday. We piled all of our things in and were on our way.
I won't bore you with the detail, just some highlights. But, let me tell you, we had a great time.

I was fortunate enough to get to see The Burren, a castle, Doolin, and the Cliffs of Moher for the 4th time. Lucky me.

Galway. I got to show my family where I lived for the past months. We were lucky enough to be there on a Saturday, so the market was in full force. Definitely a highlight of Galway. I showed them the best food stands and trinket shops. The city was bustling, not too rainy. I think they totally understand why I loved this place so much. A walk to Salthill, some classic Galway Oysters, and dinner with Emily and Pat. For me, it was one of the best parts of the trip. I think everyone else would agree.

Beautiful weather let us climb next to Ireland's fjord. A little path with great views, no one else around, and lots of sheep just hanging out as we walked right past them.

Climbed a couple mountains, ending in great views as we reached the top. Even Mom and Dad made it. No problems for Laura.

Ennisgrone in Co. Sligo was probably my favorite place we stayed. We got there in the evening, dropped our stuff off in our nice B & B. We were pretty sure we had the entire house to ourselves that night. The house overlooked the beach, with a great sunset from our bedroom window. Before dinner we took a walk along the water, cows on one side, ocean on the other. The waves crashed onto the small rocks and as the waves rolled back into the ocean, it dragged the rocks back too, creating to coolest noise I’ve ever heard.
Dinner at another pub but this time with amazing tomato soup and goat cheese tarts, and of course Guinness. Katie and Dan were loving Guinness by the time we left; Mom and Dad, not so much. Mom was more of a Smithwicks fan. She couldn’t get enough. A walk along the beach and playing in the sand to end the night.

While in Donegal we took a boat ride with Paddy to see the biggest sea cliffs in Europe (I think) Too bad is was super cloudy and we could only see half of them. The water was really choppy and I must admit a little scary at times. But I always LOVE a good boat ride. ( No one was as scared as Katie though. She isn’t quite a rough water boater.) After taking my turn driving the boat, Paddy even offered me a job! I knew my plan of finding a job and staying in Ireland forever would eventually work out.

Finally we crossed into Northern Ireland, touring Derry and Belfast. Due to Sam’s stories, Mom was a little bias but I loved it. Seeing Giant’s Causeway and walking along the cliff path for 4.5 miles was gorgeous. Another climb up a mountain, in record time for Vagabond, and we were headed back in to the Republic of Ireland and ending our trip.

The best times were just sitting in the back of the van, laughing at mom writing in her “journal,” eating lots of Irish food, drinking Irish beer, and seeing the gorgeous sights of Ireland all together. For me, it was a perfect end to a wonderful 5 months.

Everyone always asks where my favorite place to visit was. I always reply that is was traveling around Ireland, hands down. I’m so happy my family was able to see it and hang out with me for 9 days. The people are wonderful, the sights breathtaking. No other place compares to it. I dream about going back, to Galway and all the other places I didn’t get a chance to see. No matter how much I saw, I will always feel like there are endless things to see in Ireland. Maybe I won’t be back soon, or maybe next year we’ll have a little Niland House reunion, I’ll never know, but either way you can bet that I will be back someday. You just can’t stay away from a place so great.

1 comment:

  1. yes, what a perfect vacation. great write-up, jen!