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Day 3 Ireland 10/15/2011

October 16, 2011

Am I even putting the right dates on these?!?

Hi all! Had a great day today. Went on a Collins Day Tour bus to the above places. Had a terrific guide and driver (who operated as a comedy team without meaning to!). We’re realizing that the Irish have fantastic senses of humor and they use it freely. They can also take a joke quite well, and AJ and I are amazed how much it reminds us of the way Tommy, TJ, AJ, and I act around each other.

First of all, we drove into what had to be the most amazing mountain/hilly terrain anywhere. Imagine trees so thick you can’t see throug them, and adorable mountain homes – most with sheep and sheepdogs leaping about everywhere!! Very rustic, but very serene and beautiful.

We took a hike to see Glenalough, a lake and monastic ruin that dates to the 6th century. Amazing. You can probably imgine how hard our jaws hit the floor when we walked around a bend and saw this (and the picture does NOT do it justice):

Wickow County is a favorite for movie sets, and you can see why.

And I’ve never been anywhere that there’s wild swans. The swans were very important to the Celtic culture – they believed that humans who died came back to live on in the shape of a swan. Kind of a romantic thought, isn’t it? Personally, I’d rather come gack as Cindy Crawford, but you get the point:

They weren’t agressive either, like I thought they’d be. Of course, they aren’t stupid and came up for photo ops in the hopes that someone would have snacks. One kid was eating a sandwhich and it was pretty funny to watch the swan’s friend side step up to Sandwhich Boy like, “Hey, I’ll take that if you don’t want it.” We were literally within a foot from these swans and they were just curious. They are amazing up close and so BIG! After our animal encounter, we hiked through the medieval forest that surrounds Glendalough and the ruins. I know I keep likening everything to a movie set, but if a character from Lord of the Rings had strolled out of the forest it would not have surprised me. In fact at one point I said, “Should I be concerned this is reminding me of the movie “Jurrassic Park”?”.

(These are Irish willows, they told us, as opposed to English willows….whatever those are.)

Then we came to the ruins and, oh my gosh, it was breathtaking:

This ruin stil accepts burials and is of some aclaim because it is considered a “Christian” graveyard where Protestants and Catholics are buried together.

AJ and I did our best to get left behind because the cemetery was so fascinating, but we made it onto the bus and we were off to Kilkenney Village, the medieval capital of Ireland. We passed through some beautiful farm land, with lots and lots of sheep, cattle and horses on them. As we reached the top of what they call the Wicklow Gap, we stopped to watch the mist falling onto the top. It’s not rain, and it’s not fog (because you WILL get soaked walking in it):

After some more farmland and me wishing that Tommy could see the herd of Clyesdales that we whizzed by (gorgeous!), we turned into Kilkenney Village and just over the town you could see this monolith poking up into the sky. I pointed it out to AJ and thought, “If that’s what I think it is, we’re about to get really happy..”

“I’ll just wait here for my Prince!”

It’s a moat! A MOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A REAL, HONEST TO GOSH MOAT!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and for my Baker family that’s reading this, this was the home of the Butlers. Kind of funny that our Native American grandpa had an Irish first name! Oh, and if you have the word “fitz” in your surname, your decended from the Vikings. You’re welcome.

And then we were done. As we drove back into Dublin, everyone including the tour guide and our driver were having a good nap, the rain was falling steadily, and it was quite chilly outside. Thinking that Dublin would be a ghost town becasue of the rain, imagine my surprise when we got to the city centre and……………….all 4 million of Ireland’s residents were walking down the street!! The babies in strollers? They have these toaster cover things to keep them dry. It’s aweome!

But now I will sign off as we have to get up tomorrow alot earlier than I’m used to, and head off to Blarney Castle. But I’ll leave you with this:

I don’t know who this guy is, why I didn’t notice him posing for my picture, or why he did it – but I know he was from Norway, and he just looked so happy!


From → Ireland 2011

  1. Kathy and Gene permalink

    Tina! Do you remember when we were kids and visited Gillette Castle? And it was a misty, rainy day? That’s what I thought of when I saw the picture of that castle you guys visited. I am enjoying checking in with you guys every day.


  3. Heidi permalink

    Loving reading your blog and looking at the pictures!! Great job, and keep them coming!!!

  4. Tina Hoover (Nana) who was most fortunate to have a son who could send he ont his trip of a lifetime. permalink

    These castles arre much bigger than Gillette. Everything is so beautifual and majestic here. Not near enough time to take in all the history. They have these “fairy trees’ that are a LONE tree sitiing in a lareg field on a mound. Word is the fairies live under them (AKA lepricuhns) and come out 2 x a year. Anyway if you cut one down you will and your future generations will be blessed with bad luck, so most Irish leave them alone. The Kennedy family did not so that should tell you something. Made a believer out of Terry.

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