Back from Ireland!
posted at 6/15/2009 11:39 AM EDTHello friends, we are back from Ireland!!!
What a wonderful vacation we had. Ireland is just so beautiful. We stayed in Adare at the Adare Manor (www.adaremanor.com, if you are interested). It is about 15 minutes from Limerick and a good choice, b/c it was so convenient to so many places.
The original owner sold the manor to an American business man, as he was not able to afford the upkeep.
It is sitting on 630 acres and has been restored to it's original grandeur. Since then an 18 hole golf course has been installed and several town-houses added. Recently - maybe just a couple of years ago - a section of villas were added. We stayed in one of the villas. A 4 bedroom house, each bedroom w/ a bathroom. All amenities were there. Everything was looking brand new. (No, we didn't pay $600/night - we had a package deal and could have added two more couples for the same price).
Adare village is so picturesque. Small straw tached houses - Irish Pubs strewn about.
We pretty much stayed with tt's travel log, when sight seeing. The first day we went to the Cliffs of Moher, but stopped at small stores on the way and chatted whit the locals.
Then we drove to Burren Perfumery (Ireand's oldest perfumery) in Carron. We had a hard time to find it, as it is not "on the beaten path" - but it was one of the highlights of our trip. (www. burrenperfumery.com) Their perfumes, soaps, lotions, candles etc. are all made of wild flowers grown on their premises. (Thought of circles while there - she would have had a ball). We were quite surprised, it was only contained in three tiny, straw tached buildings. As every place in Ireland, they also had a tea house - and we enjoyed our afternoon tea there with home baked scones. If you would ever go to Ireland, I would highly recommend you to go there.
The following day we went to Blainey. No, I didn' t climb the 120 steps to reach the top of the tower (the boys did), and according to them the line to "kiss the stone" were so long, they gave it up. The surroundings are beautiful and there are plenty of other things to do.
I have to agree with tt, that the gift shops there (at Blainey) are the best. Prices are good. We bought several pieces of crystals and woolens - that were such much better priced, than we ever saw later on on our trip. If tt had not told me, I guess I would have waited and paid a lot more. Thanks tt!
Then we went to Cork. That was quite an emotional trip for me. An emigrant myself, I felt for all the Irish, that left from here. The documentary they show at the Heritage Center got the best of me. Glad I brought some tissues!
The following day we went to Kerry. What a beautiful trip. Everyone told us, "In Ireland, you will see green, green and green." - True, but not in Kerry - at least not while we were there. They have wild Rhododendrons everywhere. Up the mountains, down the mountains, sideways. And I guess we hit it at the right time, they were all blooming. So, for us it was green, green and purple. Just spectacular.
After driving around for 13 hours that day, we were all pooped - so the next day were a day of rest. But there were plenty of things to do around the Manor. A lovely formal garden kept us busy during the morning. Beautiful, gorgeous roses everywhere - their sent made us dizzy. And the intensity of their colors, I have never seen anywhere else. Then a walk in Adare village in the afternoon, with yet some lovely crafts buy.
The biggest disappointment was, that we had to skip Waterford. We had even paid $25/person for a tour there. They went bankrupt 3 months ago - and now just show a video and have a gift store. Since we could buy their crystal everywhere else, we did not feel like driving all that distance just to see a video. So sad!
Everyone told us, that Ireland would be raining and cold. So, we prepared ourselves bringing umbrellas and wind breakers aplenty. Well, we had the most wonderful weather. Sunny and in the upper 60th. We had only 3 down pours. 2 while driving and one while we were on our way to buy some groceries. So, we just waited in our car for a few minutes until it was over.
The last night we had dinner at the Manor. An 8 course tasting dinner. We were treated and felt like royal. However, we wish we had skipped it. Having dinner at the pubs mingling with the locals were a lot more fun.
Would we go back? Yes, definitely! We only saw the Southwestern part. Maybe in a few years - we will make it back there and take our families. Our highlights were the beauty of this lovely country, the cleanliness and the hospitality and friendliness of the Irish people.
All good things have to end - and I am happy to be back home. - Pingo
ps. I almost forgot. Quite unexpectedly we got a bonus. The last afternoon walking home, we saw this huge crowd at the cathedral, with men in "tails" and ladies with beautiful dresses and huge designer hats, The next hat more elaborate than the previous one - entering the cathedral. The grand daughter of the original owner of the Adare Manor was getting married. A bus arrived with about 16 small children - all brides maids and ring bearers dressed in long off white dresses and suits. The girls all had the same updo with Lilly of the Valleys in their hair. They were just adorable. The bride was wearing tiara and an heirloom Irish Lace veil/long train. Stunning. Two local ladies filled me in. The brides father is a Lord - and this was a very special wedding. The bride is quite young. The groom has been married before and has 3 young children. Wish them much happiness and a long married life together.
Re: Back from Ireland!
posted at 6/15/2009 1:39 PM EDTWELCOME BACK pingo !!! You were missed! Sounds like you had a wonderful time and saw everything you had planned to see. I am picturing in my mind the colors green and purple in Kerry. That must have been unbelievable. What a surprise about the Waterford factory. It was a highlight of our trip as they showed the entire factory process but that was back in 2002. You really did a lot and bet you are resting up this week. So happy the trip went well.
Good to have you back.
Re: Back from Ireland!
posted at 6/15/2009 2:36 PM EDTPingo,,,what a wonderful trip. It sounded so exciting. I hope you took lots of pictures. If you did, and have a flikr account, maybe you can post some of them there for us to see.
My brother just got back from Ireland after spending several years there, with he and his wife trying to establish some Evangelical churches. He would have stayed, but his health demanded he return. He is 4 years older than I am.
Re: Back from Ireland!
posted at 6/15/2009 4:05 PM EDTHi Pingo,
Just got in and checked out your post. What a wonderful time you had. Reading about Adare, I think that is one of the towns we toured on my first trip to Ireland. If I'm correct, I saw my first thatched roof cottage there, and bought a beautiful handmade potholder from a little shop. Glad you had such good weather. Shocked at Waterford's closing, and emailed G.T. Told him the Waterford he bought there just went up in value. Did you have the stores ship your purchases home for you? We had all the crystal shipped. Yes, you're right, there is a lot more of Ireland to see, at least another trip or two.
Glad to have you back, and thanks for the interesting diary of your trip.