Looking through my Lens...at Ireland

Our trip to Ireland was magical. It reminded me of every fairytale that I loved as a child.

Grab a cup of coffee or your Diet Coke and enjoy the view from my Cannon camera.

Shane and I always have travel issues when the two of us go anywhere together. Traveling alone or with the kids, we never have issues. This trip was no different and mentally we were more prepared and seasoned in our traveling. This time, in Chicago, the plane was loading and then it stopped due to mechanical issues. The strange thing was 10 TSA agents started walking through our boarding area and asking everyone about their bags. I have never seen anything like it. Needless to say the poor people who already boarded, sat on the aircraft for a good 45 minutes before being dismissed. We had to get new travel plans and stay the night in Chicago. No biggie! We ended up flying Aer Lingus and it was much nicer than the American Airlines flight we had originally been booked on. The fun part was sitting next to an Irish man that flew this route often. He literally talked my ear off. He bought several rounds of drinks for us. The time pasted quickly.

When we landed our good friend, Ryan met us and gave us an amazing couple of days in Dublin. He first took us to a farmer's field. In the middle of the field is New Grange. It is an ancient tomb that was believed to have been built before the pyramids were built.

Something interesting about the tomb is that once a year, the sun is at the perfect position to shine light in it. The tomb was constructed on a hill, even with the horizon. Your name could be put in a yearly drawing, so you can be in the tomb when the sunlight shines in. The tomb is small, and only holds 15 people.

Next, we headed to our first of three castles. I told you fairy tales come true. This one is called Trim Castle. Braveheart was filmed here.

Shane shot a few imaginary arrows out the castle window. You know the saying "When in Rome...."

In Dublin, the nightlife is really what the town is about. Street musicians and pubs as far as the eye could see. The streets are bricked. My lovely Guess high heel got stuck in the street as we walked in front of a crowd listen to this group. I had to go back and get my beloved shoe....oh, how I was embarrassed but I laughed with everyone else. Not the best choice in evening shoe wear, but boy-- are they fabulous shoes.

Okay, here is the prison that Ryan and Shane couldn't wait to go to. I was not looking as forward to going to a historical prison. All I can say is, glad they made me go. AMAZING. It is called Kilmainham Jail. Women, children, and men were placed here. Many died. It felt so heavy the minute I walked into it. The tour taught me about the history of Ireland and the revolution. The construction of the prison was also significant. The dome made it impossible for the prisoners to even whisper. The guards could hear every sound. It was a silent, eerie place.
Actually, U2 recorded an album here because of the amazing acoustics.

After the prison, we needed a drink! Guinness Factory tour. The top floor of the facility had a panoramic view of Dublin. So beautiful! No, I never did acquire a taste for Guinness.
Yes, I did try it.

Unfortunately, we had to leave Dublin. We hopped on a train. Of course, there would be a transportation issue. Shane and I are traveling together remember. The train had to have a new engine hooked up to it. We only had a 13 minute connection with our luggage. I guess we weren't making it. Stress, stress. Well, to make a long story short. The other train waited...we made the journey to Killarney and just a few minutes late to the reception. No biggie!

Our first excursion was to Blarney. 100 steps to the top of the castle and you too can kiss the Blarney stone. All you have to do is:

  1. lay on the ground,

  2. hold on to bars,

  3. hang backwards off the castle and kiss the castle wall

  4. and kiss where 100's of people kiss it all the time.

  5. Yum!

Then, you have the gift of Eloquence. Of course, Shane did it. Prissy me-passed. Shane kissed me afterwards to pass on the gift of eloquence. So, I am told I have the gift too.

Lucky me!

Here is the view from the top of the Blarney Castle. Long way down!

The next day we did the Gap of Dunloe tour through the hill country. Another transportation issue. Our poor horse and driver. I wasn't sure we were going to make it in the cart. We were passed by all the other carts and I think looped by one cart driver. LOL. We walked most of the 7 miles through gorgeous scenery. Notice in the photo our poor horse doesn't even lift his head for the photo. Shane saved Jen and I once from ended up in the ditch on the cart. Our horse was backing us off the rode. Thank goodness he wasn't on the cart and got control over the reins.

This photo shows the gap between the hills.
We ate lunch in Dunloe and then boarded a boat to our hotel. Yep, our boat got stuck. The other boat's riders were standing taking pictures of our bottomed out boat. Glad we made such good entertainment. Shane and I just shouldn't do any kind of transportation together.

The lakes and rivers were rock bottom and crystal clear. Many fished for salmon in this area. Our boat ride was for 2 hours. So beautiful!

Home Sweet Home.....

We were serenaded by bag pipes and greeted with warm, Irish coffee. Such a treat!

The hotel was elegant with a very European style.

The hats on the mantel were made of wood.

Views from the lobby!

I don't think I could ever get tired of looking out the windows here!
The hotel had a long driveway, full of gorgeous flowers.

Austrian horses grazed at the entrance.

We spent the day in Killarney shopping and being silly with friends.

Don't ask me what he is doing. Let's just say...too much Guinness!

We decide to walk to Ross Castle in Killarney. It was only a 3 mile walk.

Yes, I am sure in my next life I will come back as Cinderella.

We ran into some friends biking to the castle.

They bike in every town we travel to.

So cute!

I saw the most swans that I have seen in my life. Outside the castle, swimming in a farmer's pond. They were everywhere. Told you it was fairytale land.
The Pub life was festive and fun. I might not have liked Guinness but I loved Bulmers Apple. It tasted like apple cider with 17 types of apples used in it. It wasn't sweet but more refreshing then anything. It is supposably like Woodchuck sold in the US. I don't know if I have ever had Woodchuck.
Dawn and I had so much fun at the pubs....
A variety of great music and dancing!

This guy is in the Guinness book of world records for the fastest fingers!

Well, that was our trip to Ireland in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed the journey.
Drumroll Please:
The WINNER is Tina.
Send me your address and here is your goody ready put in the mail.
As always, I love hearing from all of you and thanks for taking the time to comment!


Sheila R said...

Looks like you guys had a great time! I can't believe all your travel problems!!

Caleen said...

What a great trip you had.. I have always wanted to go to Ireland. It looks so beautiful. Glad you had a great trip. Have a great weekend.

Mary said...

Thanks for sharing your stories and beautiful pictures - what a great trip!

tina said...

Thanks for taking us on your trip with you! Thanks so much for the wonderful gift, Kara! :)

Karen said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

Everyone talks about their fabulous trips to Italy and France . . . Australia and Hong Kong.

Me? All I want to see is Ireland.

Thank you. This was so nice for me. I don't know if I'll ever make it there, but if I get my dream, that's where I'm headed.

LOVED THIS! Although, I'm sorry you had such "unfortunate" transportation problems. :)

Lovely memories! Karen

Carla said...

Thanks for sharing your pics. Looks like you had a terrific time. I would love to get to Ireland some day, but I doubt it will ever happen. I can dream, though, right?!

Sandy Michelle said...

WOW Ireland looks so dreamy! I love the picture of the clovers! Hope you didn't take any prisoner's ghosts home with you. Did you go antiquing there? Welcome home and Happy Fall!

Missed you!

Leah C said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip...despite the travel mishaps. My husband kissed the blarney stone a few years ago{he was on a business trip}. Someday, I would love to visit Ireland, but I won't be kissing that stone;) I'm not sure which would be worse, putting my lips on an old rock or hanging "upside down" to do it! Love all your photos; it is a beautiful place:)

TxScrapAddict said...

What an absolutely enchanting vacation. Beautiful pictures, glad you had a wonderful trip. I've so gotta go now....

Dawn said...

Kara-you did such a great job on the blog of the Ireland trip! It seems like so long ago already-I miss it. Love your blog-I'll check back often. ;)

Melanie said...

Beautiful photos!! I DREAM of going to Ireland! I loved seeing your photos! It looks so beautiful! And you always looks so adorable in photos youself!!