This time last week, David and I were on our way home from Ireland. We had our bags packed with 9 days of dirty clothes, souvenirs like pictures and ornaments, soup mixes, and a big bundle of tickets, brochures, and passes to everything we had seen.
We saw so much.
We went to Ireland as a family for the 25th anniversary of David’s parents, Mike and Jean. They took us along with David’s younger brother Adam — what an awesome family experience, right? David and I were so thankful to do this together. We will all remember and talk about this trip for a long time! From the bottom of my newly-Irish heart, big thanks to Mike and Jean for all the planning, driving around, and sharing of this wonderful country with us!
Everyone knows Ireland is gorgeous, but it was amazing to confirm it first-hand. Green, with lots of different landscapes across the whole country. The days were usually bright and cloudy with half-hour sprinkles of rain. We took tiny winding roads and saw ribbons of coastline, cows, sheep, stone fences and rolling hills.
We stayed in bed and breakfast inns most nights, which were all over the place. We had the cozy experience of meeting Irish people in their homes, sleeping there, then waking up to a lovingly served Irish breakfast.
Which leads me to –oh-my-goodness– the food! It was really good. I kind of didn’t know what to expect but had heard from David’s parents, who had gone 7 years earlier, that the soup and bread were good. Yes, the soup was creamy and the brown bread was delicious.
I plan to share more about the food experiences we had. We all know food is an enormously important part of traveling, right? I hope to also have some recipes to go along.
I may do some more detailed posts about the sites and cities we saw, what we thought of everything, and other trip memories — if not for you then for me so that I don’t forget!
Along with the gorgeous scenery and great family time, the Irish people were a really special part of the trip. They are just as friendly and welcoming as you might imagine — maybe more so? People were always happy to ask us where we were from:
“Iowa! right in the middle of the States.” A few people proudly responded to this by listing off Des Moines, Hawkeyes, or potatoes — err, nope, not Idaho.)
They also wanted to know where we were going:
“All over!” Ireland isn’t very big — about half the size of Iowa — so we rented a car and travelled in a big counter-clockwise loop around the country. It looked like this.
Actually, up close it looked like this.
They also wanted to know what we thought of Ireland and how our trip was going:
“We honestly love it.” Every new scene was either exciting or beautiful or historical — or all three. The castles, old buildings, thatched-roof homes, and big cathedrals gave us little glimpses into the history of the country. We had been learning a lot, soaking in a lot of scenery, and meeting warm and friendly people. It had been quite a trip!
Last week we were getting ready to fly out of Shannon, Ireland on the west coast. We had our last meal as a family in Ireland. We made sure we had our passports for the 78th time. We made sure we had all our stuff packed and ready to fly home. And we promised ourselves we’d be back to Ireland someday — not because we missed a big attraction or city but because our lives would be that much richer if we could experience Ireland again!