July 10, 2016
In preparation for our trip, I thought of a million different ways I was going to try to force myself to sleep for the few hours that would be our Saturday night flight. Little did I know, the excitement of our grand adventure would overrule any of those sleep aids. I struggled through The Secret Life of Bees movie, but couldn’t resist turning the channel back to the flight information every few minutes. Watching the plane fly across the map is my favorite!
The bugs were just as excited as Julie and me. And in case you haven’t heard about the bugs, they are the traveling companions of Julie and Jonathan who gather goodies on trips and send them back to our nieces- Bailey Grace, Becca, and Kylee. Once the bugs have delivered their loot, they make their way back to Julie’s house in preparation for the next big adventure.
Oddly enough, I don’t think any of us managed to capture photos as we drove from Dublin to Galway. I think we were all so in awe of our surroundings that we didn’t remember to capture it on film. (Is that phrase still relevant in today’s digital world?)
All exhausted, we made our way across the country. It was a first for any of us to drive on the “wrong” side of the road, but Jonathan quickly determined he was a BIG fan of roundabouts. I honestly think the US should take note, because those things are awesome!
It was on this 3 hour journey that we first discovered the wonder of bakery goods in Ireland. Y’all. I’m drooling right now just thinking about it. We stopped at a gas station, which by the way, isn’t something that litters your view when you’re driving down the motorway there. It actually was a bit difficult for us to find. Our first attempt at exiting the motorway ended in several rounds in a roundabout, confusion, and paying a toll to re-enter the motorway. Luckily, the second attempt was fruitful and there I discovered the gift of the gods known as a croissant. Yes, a croissant from a gas, excuse me, petrol station was just as amazing as I’m making it out to be. In fact, once the trip was over, I dare say it may have been the best one I ate the entire time. Now, that could also be because I was starving that morning, it was new to me, and I ended up eating like 387394823498 croissants while I was there that week, BUT nevertheless, MAJOR props to whomever whipped up that flaky goodness.
Our first city of choice was Galway. (PS- It is NOT pronounced GAL-way, as it appears. Rather, it is pronounced GOL-way, and the people there will very nicely say it correctly and plainly until you pick up their subtle hints…. even if you say it incorrectly the first 10 times like I did.) We checked in at the Harbour Hotel hoping for a quick shower before we headed off to my long awaited afternoon tea in a castle. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, and they were not going to be able to get us into our room till the scheduled 3PM check-in time. I took deep breaths, as this would be the first (unbeknownst to me at the time) of many deviations from the itinerary I had been carefully crafting for months. I resolved to postpone the afternoon tea for the next day (sadly, we never made it), and we left our bags with the front desk to head out in search of adventure.
Throughout our entire journey, mistakes and detours worked out perfectly EVERY SINGLE TIME. (I mean, we even met a famous artist because we missed a turn, but that comes later in the story.) The photos above were taken as we journeyed south from Galway en route to The Cliffs of Moher. The last panoramic was taken after making a mistaken turn that took us up a mountain for those beautiful views.
We also made a stop by Dunguaire Castle, which was a stop on my “If We Have Time” portion of the itinerary. I didn’t make the connection until we were back in the car continuing on to Doolin.
As we approached the Cliffs of Moher, we were (read: I was) at the point of exhaustion where one’s body won’t even cooperate. Just getting out of the car was like scaling Mount Everest, and Jonathan kept doing things like turning off the car without putting it in park first. Zombies, I tell ya. Thankfully, adrenaline set in as we neared the awe-inspiring wonders, and we stood at one of, if not THE, most visited natural attraction in Ireland… A sight to behold.
Admittedly, we didn’t stay as long as I would have liked. Had I not felt like I was hungover from a weeklong drinking binge, I would have walked these cliffs for hours. Also, a word to the wise who plan to visit here, DRESS FOR WIND. The wind does NOT play up here. Even with multiple layers on, I was freezing. And tired. Did I mention tired?
The only thing I could manage to gather enough energy to do was eat, because I mean… hello, it’s eating. We stopped in Doolin on our way back to Galway at McGann’s Irish Pub, as it was mentioned in my 1001 Place to Visit Before You Die book. This was our first true taste of Irish pub food, so we ended up going a little overboard. Turns out, their portions are quite large, and our stomachs may not have been as large as our eyes.
It was also at this point that we began to realize what the theme of our trip would be…
Y’all. It was bad. I mean really, really, really bad. Let’s just say- by the end of the trip, we became believers in Odor Eaters.
By the time we made it back to Galway and checked into our room, all I could think about was sleep. It was still fairly early, 8 or so maybe, and completely daylight, but I was willing to forego those hours for some sleep and the promise of a fresh start on Monday morning. We turned in early, and that turned out to be an excellent decision.
The tales will continue with the recap of Monday, which was probably one of my favorite days there!
Happy travels, folks!