Our Latest Trip to Ireland

Four weeks ago we departed San Francisco airport and flew off to what was to become one of our greatest vacations ever. We have been back for a week now and I am finally getting around to organizing photo stories for this blog.  It seems that it takes longer every year for our aging bones to shake off the results of jet lag,  particularly when the jet lag turns into a nasty cold!

My wife and I have been happily married for 50 years and we decided to celebrate our golden anniversary by bringing our entire family across the continent and the Atlantic to experience (most of them for the first time) Ireland, the land of my ancestors.

IMG_1988-1

The most popular tourist attraction in Dublin is the Guinness Storeroom. We took the hop on / off sightseeing bus one day and the girls hopped off at Christchurch Cathedral but the boys stayed on the bus until we reached the brewery. The girls caught up to us after we toured all seven levels of the Storeroom.

We began planning for this vacation a year ago and decided right away that we would spend a total of three weeks in Ireland and at a different place in each of those three weeks. When we received an invitation to a family wedding in Northern Ireland it was settled that Belfast would be our destinaton for our first week. For our second week we chose a place we hadn’t visited in either of our previous two visits to Ireland: Galway, which is located on Ireland’s central west coast. Finally, we decided to spend our third week in the fair city of Dublin where, according to one of my favorite songs “the girls are so pretty.”

Belfast

My younger daughter Debbie and her family joined us in a whirlwind tour of Northern Ireland where we saw the great sights and experienced great craic with friends and relatives. Two of the land’s main attractions did not exist when we last visited Northern Ireland: the Titantic Museum in Belfast and the Game of Thrones filming locations all over Northern Ireland. The highlight of the week was our first Irish wedding. Cousin Henry’s son Paul got hitched to his Amy at a beautiful resort named Ballynahinch about 15 miles south of Belfast.

IMG_0638-1

Belfast City Hall from the top of the Belfast Grand Central Hotel. We got some of the best views of the city from the lounge on the hotel’s 23rd floor.

IMG_0272-1

The Dark Hedges — one of many Game of Thrones locations we visited during our week in Northern Ireland.

Galway

After a week in Belfast we returned to Dublin and then rode on the bus to Galway where our older daughter and her family met us at the bus station. They flew in to Dublin earlier that day and took the bus directly from the airport, beating us by about a half-hour. For the better part of the next two weeks all ten of us would share drinking in some of the fantastic sights and sounds of Ireland, starting with Galway and its neighboring counties of Clare and Mayo. We explored the Cliffs of Moher during this week as well as the hills of Connemarra and one day visited one of the Aran Islands. We also spent a lot of time just walking around the lovely little city of Galway where we encountered some of the friendliest people we ever met.

IMG_0735-1

Banners of the Fourteen Tribes that once ruled medieval Galway hang proudly over Eyre Square in central Galway.

IMG_0967-1

Dunguaire Castle is on the southeast shore of Galway Bay near the village of Kinvara and is about 29 km south of the city of Galway.

Dublin

There’s a lot to see in Dublin and we walked around a lot to see all of the city’s gems that we could in one week. We also toured the Wicklow mountains one day and visited the monastic ruins of Glendalough and the beautiful Powerscourt Gardens. We have to admit that my wife and I were really dragging the last couple of days as we tried to keep up with the younger legs of our daughters, sons-in-law and grandkids. We spent most of one day just resting in our hotel room. The next day we managed to get outside our hotel and walked all the way to the museum next door!

IMG_2053-1

The Samuel Beckett Bridge over Dublin’s River Liffey was designed to resemble a harp. Beckett is most famous for his play “Waiting for Godot.” One critic described the play as “a two-act play where nothing happens twice!”

IMG_2103-1

The monastic settlement of Glendalough is in the Wicklow mountains about an hour’s drive south of Dublin.

I will have more details about our fabulous vacation in the next few days and weeks, beginning with our private tour of The Giant’s Causeway on the northeast tip of County Antrim. Stay tuned!

Bonus

All right, I briefly mentioned one of my favorite songs a couple of paragraphs ago. Here is one of my favorite musical groups of all time singing that song:

There are several versions of this song by The Dubliners on Youtube. Paddy Reilly’s version is from their 40th anniversary tour in 2002. Patsy Watchorn also has a popular version. But this one features the voice of Ronnie Drew who founded the Dubliners in 1962. Someone once described Ronnie’s voice as “a piece of coal being scraped across a wooden floor!”

About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in Ireland, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Our Latest Trip to Ireland

  1. StillWalks says:

    Sounds like you picked out some of the best locations in one of the best countries. It is too long since I have been in Ireland (though I hope to go later in the year). I look forward to hearing about the rest of your visit.

  2. Peter Klopp says:

    Your post on your Golden Anniversary trip to Ireland is especially dear to me, since my wife and I have just returned from the wedding of our youngest son in Vancouver. His lovely bride Laura FitzGerald is of Irish ancestry. It was a pleasure to meet so many Irish relatives. Some had come from as far away as from Ireland for the wedding. I will play the Irish song you posted when the newly weds come for a visit. Looking forward to another post on Ireland

  3. disperser says:

    Interesting song.

    I look forward to more detailed descriptions of the sights. We have some friends who just returned from a tour (a bus tour) which they thoroughly loved. We’re thinking about it for next year or the year after.

    I didn’t realize GoT was filmed there. It should spice up the tourism industry. It happened to NZ after the LotR movies.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful anniversary celebratory 3 weeks! Happy Belated Anniversary!! 50 years is quite something today I wish you joy and happiness for the next 50 too!

  5. mvschulze says:

    Listening to the Dubliners as I write this …nice! And another wonderful post, great descriptions, great images. Jeanne and I are a year away from our 50th anniversary as well, and she, having some ties to a family farm in Ireland, and I may, just may take the step and visit. Oh and welcome back. M 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.