Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

I finally got the pictures from our trip loaded into the blogs they pertain to. Scroll through to see them!


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Today we flew back from Dublin to London. Pretty much that’s what we did all day. We stayed at a B&B in Portmarnock near Dublin last night. The owners were kind of eccentric & weird, not in a cute way, it was a little creepy actually, but they did serve us a decent breakfast!

This morning we returned the rental car & spent 2 hours at the airport waiting for our flight. Chad chased Asher around & I watched our luggage. I like that arrangement. Asher slept on the flight, so that was really nice not to have to fight with him to sit still. Once we got to Heathrow we had to take the Tube back to Geoff & Margaret’s house. That took another 2 hours. We are finally back at their home & really looking forward to a relaxing week. We don’t have anything we need to do, just whatever we want to do. Except laundry. I suppose I have to do that.

G&M leave Friday for a trip of their own, so tomorrow we are just going to spend time with them & let Asher play. He got quite upset when we told him it was time for bed tonight. He did not want to stop playing.

So for the Ireland part of our trip, here are the smartest & dumbest things we did……

Dumbest: Taking Asher along? No, it wasn’t that bad, but I would rethink doing it again. Chad & I have a pretty fast pace & it was really hard to get Asher into that. Probably not taking Asher’s stroller along to Ireland. Not that we would have used it a ton, but it would have been nice to have when we were walking around in Dublin.

Smartest: Bringing straws along. We only had a sippy cup of water along for Asher & I didin’t really want it to get used for milk, so having straws worked great in all the B&Bs for breakfast & some places we went for lunch & dinner.

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Tonight we are at a very nice B&B in Mullingar. We’re headed back to Dublin as we fly out on Wed & we thought we’d still like to see the Guinness Factory so we can compare it to the Heinekin factory! I say it’s a nice B&B b/c they gave me a nice apple sponge for dessert. I like my desserts, yes I do.

We had dinner at a “touristy” pub in town & it wasn’t all that great. Luckily we had had a really good pub lunch this afternoon, so it was still a pretty good day. Chad & I shared a meal tonight b/c we weren’t very hungry. Normally I enjoy such a venture b/c it means I can order a dessert, but the dessert menu was not very appealing, so we stopped at a petrol station on the way to the B&B & got some Magnum Ice Cream Bars.

We drove through the Burren today. It was more what we envisioned when we thought of Ireland. Well, except for all the rocks growing out of the ground. As we were headed East again it got more familiar. Sheep, stone fences, some cows, small winding roads. Ireland is a nice place, but I think I’m ready to go back to England. I don’t think I’d like to move here, but it was nice to see.

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Tonight we are at a B&B near the Cliffs of Moher in the town of Doolin. Or I suppose I should call it a village. There are about 25 B&Bs, 5 pubs, a Petrol station, & not a whole let else. I suppose there are some houses here too, but it seems almost everyone has a few extra rooms to let out to the masses of tourists, & why not? There seems to be quite a lot of people who get all crazy about looking over cliffs into the Atlantic. As for me, I’d rather be closer to the water than 100 metres above it. We went to the visitor centre tonight & Chad went off up the hills to take pictures while Asher & I stayed in the gift shop where it was warm & broke things. Asher decided he wanted to see a Christmas tree ornament up close & smashed it on the floor, but the shop lady was really nice & didn’t even make me pay for it. Now THAT’S what I call service!

Speaking of customer service, it’s been really interesting getting acquainted with the way the UK handles its service sector. For instance, at a grocery store, you can pretty much bet that you’ll be bagging your own groceries, there’s no one to do it for you, & if you wait for the cashier to do it, you could be waiting a VERY long time, as it’s not their job. We were at Heathrow going through security, where you collect all your bits & pieces after they’ve gone through the x-ray machine & the belt was totally clogged with the grey bins for putting all your small items in. Nothing could go into the x-ray machines anymore, but were the security personnel bothered? Not a bit! It’s not their job apparently to remove the grey bins from the belt after people have emptied them, it’s the people’s responsibility. So Chad nicely removed about 8 bins so that our bags could go through so we could be on our way.

However, it’s different when you go to restaurants. We are used to taking our trays & rubbish off the tables when we are finished with them so the next customer can use the table, but in the UK everyone leaves all their dishes on the table for the employees to clean up. Not at McDonald’s, as apparently being a N. American restaurant they have adopted the N. American way of doing things where you clear your own table, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a rubbish bin at most other places you eat.

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This morning we awoke to cold & rain….. much as we expected from England, & why should Ireland be any different? The room was also cold, but Chad reminded me that the houses here are not as well insulated as we are used to, and the heat is not turned way up to compensate, and the people must be more used to the cold b/c I was FREEZING!! Last night we were sitting up while Asher fell asleep & I had to keep my coat on b/c it was so frigid in the common room. This morning I had the presence of mind to wear my shoes to breakfast & I was very glad I did b/c the dining room felt like it had been open to the elements all night.

We decided that since the weather wasn’t great, we’d go into Limerick & see if we could find a shopping area just to stay out of the weather. We found a small mall & bought a new pair of shoes for Asher b/c he’s been working really hard at breaking the pair he has. We also enjoyed a latte from Esquires Coffee. We were a bit surprised to see an Esquires b/c we have only seen them in western Canada, so we thought they were just a small chain there, but they had the same logo & the penguin mascot.

The weather was quite warm by about 11am, so we decided to take Asher to a park to run off a bit of energy before lunch. We stopped at an old mill pub for lunch & ate out on the deck in the sun, enjoying the view of the fish ladder & falls. After a short nap on Asher’s part we departed for the Holy Island. When we were in England a few years ago w/ Chad’s folks we had tried to see Whitby Island (where Christianity first came to England), but the tide had been up & the road was impassible. So we thought we’d try to see Ireland’s Holy Island. Unfortunately you can only get there by boat & you must call ahead to book, so once again we were out of luck. We took some pictures from the other shore though.

After our botched trip to the H.I. We drove back to Ballina/Killalae, stopping at a waterfront park along the way to let Asher stretch his legs a bit before supper. Taking a road trip with a small child can be very S-L-O-W, since you must stop every few hours for sanity breaks! Then we were off to the Chinese Restaurant so highly recommended the night before, & it was EXCELLENT!! The prices were a bit steep, but I had figured w/ such a high recommendation that they would be, so we were prepared.

While at the restaurant Asher spotted a picture on the wall of Mao Tze Tung & declared it to be “Uncle Brian.” It seems everyone he meets these days is “Uncle Brian.” It doesn’t seem to matter what they look like, or how old they are, “Uncle Brian” is a universal man.

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Last night was MUCH better. Asher only woke up twice, & I think he was not aware that we were in the room with him b/c when he did get up he looked toward the door & directed his comments towards it.

However, I didn’t sleep well at all. I guess all the walking we did yesterday coupled with the fact that I’ve been a bit of a couch potato of late, made for a very sore back! Finally at about 1am I decided it was time for some drugs. I took a Tylenol & within the hour, was drifting softly towards dreamland. I was a bit hesitant to take the Tylenol b/c I only have a limited number in my purse, but the pain was so bad & the drugs worked so well, that I went to the shops today & purchased some Paracetamol which is the UK equivalent. I am now a happy camper again…. just waiting to be rid of the stuffy nose.

We are staying in the quaint town of Ballina/Killalae, Ireland. We had a delicious Pub dinner this evening, & Asher amazed us all by eating a whole pizza all by himself! I asked the proprietor of the B&B where we are staying where she recommended for dinner & she gave us a highly recommended Chinese place, or the Pub. Chinese sounded really good to my pregnant cravings, but when I asked Chad which he’d prefer, a little boy piped up, “PUB food!” So off we went to the pub. The prices were a bit steep, but Chad & I decided to share since we both wanted the same type of food (quite a rare thing since I usually want pasta) & we could afford a delicious Apple Crumble as well!

**In case you were wondering about my new handbag, I still love it, & I informed Chad today that even if I don’t find any other souvenirs on this trip, I will still be happy b/c I am SO chuffed w/ my new bag!

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Oh boy! Last night was a doozy! Asher went to bed fine around 8pm, but then woke up repeatedly crying that he wanted to come out, “please out!” Until we finally just let him cry. I felt really bad for the people next door b/c it was after midnight, but I could hear someone snoring the whole time, so they must not have been too bothered by all the noise. We sure were though. I think we got about 6 hours sleep. Today Asher never got a real nap, so we are hoping it goes better tonight.

We decided to stay at the B&B for 2 nights since it is a short train ride into Dublin. Today we parked the car at the station & went into the city to see what we could see. Now, first I should tell you that as we were leaving London, I said to Chad, “we don’t really need the stroller b/c we’ll be in the car the whole time, right?” Ummm, not so much. We walked all around Dublin today, well as much as you can w/ a small child who can’t decide if he wants to walk or be carried, but never the one that he is actually doing at the moment. Chad was great about carrying him, seeing as it’s a bit difficult since I have my own little bundle I am carrying around as well.

We went to a few shops, & in the first one we stopped at I got a new bag which I am quite chuffed with. It’s a Guinness bag (how cool is that?) & I can chuck my purse & the camera in it w/ plenty of room to spare, yet it isn’t a real big bag that I’ll get tired of hauling around. Also, I can throw it on one shoulder OR attach the longer handle to carry it more on my back. Can you tell that I just LOVE my new bag?

We looked at a few pay-as-you-go mobile phones & decided to get one b/c it’s pretty hard to come by a phone box when you need one, & it seems like no one knows where one is either. I suppose that makes sense b/c everyone has a mobile phone nowadays. It was a pretty good price, & the piece of mind we have is excellent. What we really should have done is bring Chad’s mobile w/ us & merely bought a new SIM card, but we didn’t think of it. Next time we’ll remember to bring everything.

Speaking of forgetting things, I realized as I was getting up in the morning that I had forgotten to pack the most essential items. Something I can’t borrow from Chad, & something that isn’t especially easy to just pick up at the shops….. Have you guessed what I forgot yet? You bet, my bras! So today along with looking for souvenirs & mobile phones, we were bra shopping, something I dread at the best of times, let alone in a strange country where you don’t know the stores & we’re supposed to be on holidays, enjoying ourselves! Well, we did find a store that was having a huge sale & I even got a bra for 50cents! Not too shabby!

When we were leaving the shopping area it was POURING! WE noticed on the way in that there were rickshaw-type cabs that said “free ride” on the backs, so we found one parked a short ways from the shopping centre & the driver informed us that the ride really was free, & we didn’t have to pay b/c it’s a promotion done by 7Up Free. It’s some new beverage that has no sugar & no calories or something. Great advertising, but I don’t like 7Up, so sadly I won’t be buying their product. I love the idea though, & if I lived around there I’d definitely tell others about it as well.

We got back to the car park & we weren’t sure what to do b/c it was only about 2:15 & Asher was quite tired, yet we didn’t really want him to sleep b/c we are hoping to get him on the time schedule here. Not to worry, apparently we parked where we weren’t supposed to, & our car got CLAMPED!!! There goes a day of the vacation budget! But how do you call to get your car unclamped w/o a working mobile phone? Send a pretty girl into a nearby shop to ask if she can use the phone of course! After Chad had tried to get the guy at the train station to call w/o any luck, he was quite upset by the day’s events, so off I went & 10 minutes later emerged poorer, but the situation was sorted. We waited in the car about 40 minutes & the man came & removed the clamp. Lesson learned, money burned!

I really hope tomorrow isn’t as eventful as today, however, I am really, really chuffed with my new bag!

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