Family Fun

Back in town now but I had great fun with my parents and my youngest sister in Ireland’s south. Really lovely there and if the temperatures were just a tad bit (ok that’s a lie, make it a LOT) higher you could think you’re at the Mediterranean Sea.
Saturday after picking up my family and our rental Kia Cerento we headed to my place and had lunch. Seeing my family again is lovely!
We repacked the bags – ’cause it was a small car you see… and then hit the road.
Driving on the left side is of course kind of strange at first. However, the weirder part for me was to put the turning signals on. I don’t know how many times I turned the windscreen wipers on instead. They never tell you that they are on the other side as well. Shifting with my left hand wasn’t too bad though.
Our first stop was Kilkenny where they brew the beer with the same name. Our Bed & Breakfast – Park Villa – was lovely with cute little rooms and really nice hosts. The city is pretty nice as well. They really do need a bypass but notwithstanding all the cars, the castle, little shops, design centre and the pubs of course made for a cute little city. We were blessed with dry weather and walking around the city was very enjoyable. Found an Asian store there and got sushi rice, soba and sauce so that saved me a trip to the city centre in Dublin. 🙂
Had dinner at Kyteler’s Inn – a historic place that was owned by a “witch” back in the days (or more like a woman that scared men…). Food was ok but the ambience was really nice and of course we drank our Kilkenny beer there. 🙂
After an Irish breakfast I started driving them around again. The first stop was requested pretty early though at Kilkenny Castle so we walked around the park there that had been closed the night before. Then we stopped at Jerpoint Abbey, an ancient monestery ruine that was pretty impressive. I’m always kind of awed when I see these buildings from 1000 years ago and older sometimes.
In New Ross we had lunch and looked at a church and glimpsed at the Dunbrody Famine Ship. Kind of scary to think about crossing the atlantic in one of them. I think I’d prefer an Airbus. 😀 After another 30 minutes of driving we got to Wexford and checked into our great Bed & Breakfast there. They had antique furniture everywhere and we felt like being in one of those castle museums. The owners were really attentive and nice as well. OK so it wasn’t super clean and they clearly lacked a look for details but it was very enjoyable and the breakfast was amazing. I have to say, my Lonely Planet book and http://www.tripadvisor.com have really helped me picking out great accomodations here.
We walked around Wexford for a bit. Well, just another city with a river really but not ugly. Saw all the main sights and then found an Indian restaurant to eat. The waiters kept chatting with us when they heard me ask for Lassi and they obviously thought I was an Indian expert – uhm no but I know just a tad bit about it. But they were really nice and the food was great and way too much. Yum!
Monday we visited the Irish National Heritage Park, which is an open-air history museum that was quite nice with lovely landscapes, too. (BTW, it’s funny how often I say lovely now, isn’t it?!). Had Seafood Chowder for lunch there and then headed to Curracloe’s beach. Soooo nice! Totally like Florida, with palm trees and a really wide, sandy beach. Of course it was pretty cold still, I’d say 9C but the sun was shining and that was perfect! There were loads of sea shells and star fishes, which I were really excited about. I’d never really seen star fishes at the beach and really wanted one! Well, they were mostly pretty alive still so we threw them back in the sea hopeing they’d keep on living. Not so sure about that, they probably got washed ashore again right away but I couldn’t really let them sit there and dry out and die right in front of me. We took some with us that looked quite dead and didn’t move anymore. Turned out they were still in the process of dieing as they did move their arms around a bit here and there when we weren’t looking. Ah well.
After a fancy dinner the night before, our budget said fast food that night and we went to Abrakebabra “Ireland’s Premier Fast Food Chain” (we couldn’t find a McDonalds in Wexford…). The food was super gross. Yuk! Don’t go there!
Another lovely breakfast in the morning though and then we were off towards the Wicklow Mountains. We stopped at Avoca Handweavers, one of Ireland’s lovey woolen scarfs/blankets/everything creaters. You were able to look at how they weaved some of their fabric and surprisingly, they don’t use Irish wool, they use Italian yarn! I can only hope that that yarn is made from Irish wool though! 😉 Got me a Claddagh ring there as they had really nice ones and not the rubbish they have in Dublin’s tourist shops. We had delicious cake and coffee there before continuing to Glendalough.
Glendalough is an ancient monestery in a fantastic valley. It’s beautiful out there! Unfortunately the sky was somewhat overcast but it’s got to be breathtaking out there when there are no clouds around. Beautiful!
The last stop for the trip was Powerscourt Estate. We finally got there after loads of tiny, windy roads that had horrible signage (if any) – and this is a touristy area! Horrible! Anyways, we made it there just in time to see the gardens before they closed for the day. The grounds were really pretty and kind of bizarre in places. They had a pet cemetary with real gravestones saying things like “Elsie the cow gave over 100000 gallons of milk, had 17 calves…”. Freaky!
Finally we made our way back to Dublin though and after loads of winy, reallllly narrow roads, no signs, avoiding the M50 because it was rushhour, and luckily finding the right way through the city centre (ahhhh) we checked my parents and sister into their hotel, dropped the car at the airport and slept.
Nice trip! 🙂 Photos are and will be on flickr. I have loads more things on my mind that I could blog about but this is all you get for now. 😉
Hope you’re all doig really well, too!

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7 responses to “Family Fun

  1. That’s awesome that your family came to visit. Sounds like you guys had a fun time and so much to do. Driving on the left side sounds so scary to me. Usually it takes people some time to get used to it… as far as I have heard. So thumbs up for you for being able to manage driving the first time!

  2. awww i am jealous! i wish i could have been there as well! cant wait for the pictures!
    oh and be careful driving on the wrong side!!! love ya

  3. I see you had a great time with your parents! Whenever we are finally going to plan that trip to Ireland, I will definitely use your blog entries for advice. You picked some great places so far! As for now – TGIF!

  4. Ooooh, I went to see the Wicklow Mountains and the Avoca Handweavers too! It was a very lovely area.

  5. Abrakebabra “Ireland’s Premier Fast Food Chain” ……… haha… your stories always amuse me 🙂

  6. Hey Sanna, sounds like your family and you had a great time cool that you bought a Claddagh ring I love those rings, they are so special. I bought one for Clayton and my mum bought one for me for my 18th Birthday. Gonna hop over to flickr to see your photos now.

    Hope your having a good weekend.
    Take Care.

  7. I’m so glad your family visited you and that the South was so nice for you and yours! I knew you’d be a professional at shifting with the opposite hand. I wanted to see the Dunbrody Famine Ship so much because it has such a tremendous place in the experience and history of Irish-Americans, but it was so far off. Your weekend story is so exciting, ah, sigh, to be there again.

    I finally posted my blog entries about my visit starting at “Ireland Trip: Day 1” and Ireland Trip: Day 1 For Real“.

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