There is a light breeze blowing outside and the sun is shining beautifully ... Not the Ireland weather we expected. We're at my sister and brother in-law's house way outside of the town/city of Galway. We had seen pictures of their fabulous garden and now, seeing it for ourselves, we can say without reservation it is truly resplendent with lovely waving trees, flowering bushes and a pond full of water lilies. With the sun shining it's so lovely. Unfortunately when we first arrived we experienced more traditional Irish weather with wind and driving/pouring rain.
The first week in Ireland has been full of discovery and lots of fun. Plus, I love the Irish people! The people here are so friendly and happy. Just going into a shop is like meeting a long lost friend .. they have a sense of humour embedded into just about everything they do as well as a self deprecating irony when you hold a conversation. I guess all that is a result of the struggle of just living in a cold hard place.
The week in pictures (way too much to talk about now!) ....
|The streets all through Dublin have hanging flower displays and there are lots of people walking around everywhere .. and, of course, there's a pub or cathedral on every corner.|
|We went through the Guinness Brewery ... Which is almost like a Disney Experience! .. It's complete with floor after floor of "experiences" .. leading up to the tasting experience. Look at this website to get an idea of how they've turned the drinking of Guinness into an art form Guinness Storehouse|
|Of course we had to follow up beer with whiskey and a tasting at the Jameson's Distillery. George was appalled that they kept insulting Scottish Whiskey so we didn't enjoy their product as much as the Guinness.|
After 3 days walking around Dublin we rented a car and headed for Waterford to visit with George's brother John. We took the coast road through little hamlets and along winding narrow roads stopping every now and then for coffee in a little village or an ice cream. Great drive and interesting scenery. Before we arrived in Waterford - which is only a 2/3 hour drive max from Dublin if you take the direct motorway route - late in the afternoon, we travelled through an area who's claim to fame is it the ancestral place of the USA Kennedys. Many Irish immigrants departed from these surrounding shores to America to escape the famine and John Kennedy's family was one of them.
We spent a couple of days with John in Waterford catching up, laughing and telling stories. One day George and I drove up to the town of Kilkenny where we did another walking tour of that fascinating historic town.
|We stopped along the way to visit the Drombeg stone circle and hut site circa 1000-800 BC. Fascinating .. I HAD to hug a stone! Feel the vibes!|
Our next night we spent in Bantry on the west coast - nice little town and a welcoming B & B. Then on up through the mountain passes on the Iveragh Peninsula to a very small town north of Tralee called Ballybunion for our final night before reaching Angela's house. Our first days in Ireland were blessed with clear skies and no rain - very lucky. But the Friday morning we woke up in Ballybunion the rain started and it came down in sheets! And it rained and rained and rained on us all the way to Galway.