Sunday, 13 June 2010

Ireland Part 1

Hello Family - As promised, here is Part 1 of 2 of our Ireland adventures last week. We left on Sunday, same day as Sam set off to Amsterdam. It was a smooth flight on Ryanair, and despite what Sam says, we all thought they were great. We arrived on time, it was cheap and we got lucky and ended up in row 5! We arrived in Cork and then proceeded to get our rental car, which was a tank! I had tried to get the smallest automatic that we could and we ended up with a Honda SUV similar to a CR-V (can't remember the exact model but it was huge.) So I was a bit nervous setting off, but we made it to Killarney without too much drama, except we hit town right as a Gaelic football match was letting out between County Cork and Kerry and it was a madhouse. I thought I'd lost a mirror a few times but luckily we were ok. We checked into our B&B and then walked across the street for our 1st pub dinner and my 1st Guinness of the trip. (It does taste better in Ireland!)

Monday we awoke to a torrential downpour outside, and the weather forecast for the next 3 days was the same. DARN! I guess we are in Ireland but we were hoping for better. We had our amazing Irish breakfast and set out enroute to Muckross House. We arrived and did a horsedrawn carriage ride up to the house and to the Muckross Waterfall. It was raining just a bit, but gorgeous scenery, and it was the 1st time I'd ever done a carriage ride. Very fun!

Then it was time for the main event of the day, the Ring of Kerry. This is a scenic drive around one of the southwest peninsulas and I'd been warned how narrow the roads were but nothing could have prepared me for this, esp not in the monster we were driving. Not 30 minutes into it, a huge coach got the better of me, and being well over the line onto my side, I swerved and went off the road into a ditch scraping up the entire left side of the car on a fence post sticking out. This caused the passenger door to not open completely and we had mud stuck in every possible inch of the tires and door panels. Hmmmm, this is not how I drew it up. So mom and dad were now confined to the backseat and I was their chauffeur for the rest of the trip. Nice!

Moving on (a bit shaky) we continued along the ring, stopping at lookouts and little walks along the way, but it was hard to enjoy because I was so nervous about driving. The speed limit on these roads was a constant 100 kph, and I was only able to do about 50. Insanity! We decided to take a coffee break at this cute little town called Waterville. The sun had come out so things were looking up. We chose a cute cafe and got coffee and cakes, and as my dad is chewing, something suddenly crunches in his mouth. It turns out to be a large shard of glass! At first I didn't believe it could be glass but it was. We alerted the owner and he did some investigating, and turns out it was a piece of the bottom of the jam jar that had somehow broken off as he was making the cake. It fit perfectly in the jar he dug out of the trash. How is that possible, the one piece of cake that my dad chose from the huge pan had this glass in it. Today is DEFN not shaping up to be that great. Not sure what else could happen, but I just wanted to get to our next B&B in Tralee.

So we continue on and the last hour or so of the trip is done in pouring rain, I can barely see. FINALLY we get to our B&B and the nice owners drop us off in town at a pub for dinner. I have a couple Smithwicks and am finally starting to relax. Back at the B&B that night the owners invite us for a drink and are literally shocked that my parents don't drink anything. They keep trying to offer them wine or whiskey but to no avail. "Nothing at all?" they say. I however take them up on the offer and Kay will not let my glass become empty. I LOVE the Irish. See mom and dad, Sam and I really aren't alcoholics. We are the norm. :) We ended up chatting with them until almost midnight. My dad and Dan for the record spent the entire time talking Gaelic and American football, we're talking almost 2 hrs here. I was amazed. Finally we hit the sack after a super stressful 1st day. I'm honestly just relieved I didn't kill anyone. I pray that it can only get better from here.
Jenny and (somewhere in Frankfurt in a sea of Germans cheering on Germany in the World Cup...yes, he has left me again) :(

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