As some of you may know, I’m off on our family vacation to Ireland. It’s been a super busy summer for us and I’ve really been looking forward to some “down time” I took my daughter with me to NYC for the RWA conference in June. This was after a super busy spring softball schedule! That week nearly killed us both. We were exhausted when we got back home and we only had a few days to unpack and get ready to head to Panama City Beach Florida to watch my daughter play in the World Series of Softball. Now THAT was an exhausting 9 days away from home. AND? When we got home? We again only had a few days to unpack, wash clothes and get ready to head on our family vacation.
We left the house at 8am Saturday morning. Caught a noon flight from Houston to Newark. Had a two and a half hour layover before boarding a flight to Dublin. I prefer to fly first class domestically. My husband says I’m spoiled but really there are so many reasons that I won’t go into for the sake of brevity that I refuse to fly coach. Number one being I hate people and I don’t like being that up close and personal with the cattle grid as I lovingly refer to as the coach section of an airplane.
When we flew to Scotland two years ago, husband was convinced that there was no need. We were only taking my oldest son with me and he said we’ll have the entire row to ourselves! No other people to deal with blah blah. Ok well, he was miserable the entire 8 hour flight. He’s a big guy. Six foot four. Broad shouldered. My son is also a big dude. Yeah, you can see how that worked out in our little coach seats.
So this year I put my foot down, told him he had no say so, I was booking the flights AND I got an awesome deal on first class tickets by being flexible with the week we wanted to fly. (If we’d come next week, the tickets would have cost triple what they cost me to fly this past week) But I digress.
Let’s just say that after flying first class the entire way that my husband has vowed to never ever interfere in me making the travel arrangements and is happy to let me book whatever I like hehe. Seriously, the seats were awesome. The service was awesome. They fed us for the first three hours solid. The kids slept and I worked. I rarely ever “enjoy” flying but I have to say the first class on Continental’s 757 was freaking awesome.
We arrived in Dublin at 6:30 in the morning. I hear you groaning. So was I. It took us forever to get the rental car but we were finally on our way and it took us another three and a half hours to reach our destination of Doolin on the West coast of Ireland. So if you’re counting with me, that was a two hour drive to the airport in Houston. A 3 and a half hour flight to Newark. A two and a half hour layover. A six hour flight to Dublin and a 3 and a half hour drive to Doolin. That’s a hell of a lot of traveling. By the time we got to our cottage, I was a walking zombie. I didn’t even unpack. I fell into the very comfy bed with wonderful, plush pillows and passed out.
I forced myself out of bed a few hours later and we ventured into Doolin only to find the little grocery shop there (and when I say little, I’m talking closet size) closed but we were directed to Lisdoonvarna just a few kilometers up the road and so we set off just so we could get breakfast stuff for the next morning. We were warned not to try to buy groceries on a Sunday because the shelves would be bare and that Mondays were “stock” days.
After picking up a few items at the small grocery shop, we went across the street to the Irish Arms pub to grab some dinner. This is where my trepidation came in. To back up, two summers ago we went to Scotland and England on vacation. Now I’d warned my husband that English food…well, it’s just not good. It’s bland. Apparently there’s a law against seasoning the food. And he quickly informed me that I was right. And this guy will usually eat anything. He’s not picky like me and my daughter. We nearly starved and finally halfway through the vacation we gave up on eating out in establishments. We started going to the grocery store in Inverness and we’d buy yummy breads, sandwich meat, cheeses and drinks and we’d pack a lunch and eat wherever we decided to stop.
But to get back to Ireland, the food was really good at the pub where we ate. Even my daughter (who eats NOTHING) loved her food. Afterward we drove back to our cottage and sort of laid around looking at each other with glazed eyes and finally decided to go to bed at 9. It doesn’t get dark until well after nine but we were too tired to care.
This morning we staggered out of bed and hubby cooked breakfast. Or as well as we could given that we only had eggs, bread and the European version of bacon, which is nothing like American bacon. But at least WE cooked it similarly to American bacon. When we were in the UK, the bacon was always kind of half cooked, pale and slimy. I’m still shuddering as I think about it. Then we headed out to Ennistimon where we’d been told there was an actual grocery store (that was bigger than a closet)
Another thing we’ve discovered, or at least that my kids have told me, is that they hate the milk over here. Now I don’t drink milk in the states but they all do and they’ve said the milk here is “gross” I’m not sure what the difference is. But even my husband turned up his nose.
We’re starting to sound like a picky lot aren’t we?
The grocery store was fun. We were on the hunt for biscuits. Not cookies. Our cookies are biscuits but I wanted what OUR biscuits are. Finally found some scone mix and we’re going to attempt to make those for breakfast tomorrow to go with our funky bacon (that more resembles a thin porkchop) and our very orange yolk eggs. I do love the bread over here though and I hit the bakery and got a nice selection :)
This afternoon we’re going to visit the Doolin Cave because the fog is still as thick as soup and there’s not much to see. I can only see perhaps fifty yards out my window before I encounter a solid wall of white. On Wednesday the kids are going horseback riding but there’s supposed to be NO chance of sun on Wed and a 90 percent chance of raining so that should be fun for them…
We have a whopping forty percent chance of SUN tomorrow *laugh* and only ten percent chance today. I think forty percent is the highest percentage of this entire week so tomorrow we’ll likely try to take a boat over to the Aran Islands.
That’s my adventure so far! Tonight we’ll probably hit a local pub here in Doolin where they play traditional Irish music and just chill. If I find internet again, I’ll post more of our week as I’m able.
Hope all is well with all of you!
7 thoughts on “Ireland day 1 (well and 2 sorta)”
I’m not a milk drinker either, but as I recall most of the milk in Europe is ultra-pasteurized, like the boxed milk. My family of milk drinkers doesn’t like it either.
I hope the rest of your trip is just as great!
So Maya, thanks for the report. I am leaving for Scotland on Wednesday and thanks to your report here, I now know that I have hours of torture sitting in coach and rainy weather to look forward to. Good thing some of the itinerary will be indoors viewing castles. And my trip will be a great new diet plan. And I had been looking forward to the bacon – darn!
Hope you have a wonderful vacation. Are you planning to post any pictures?
Hated the food in England, quite enjoyed the food in Ireland, especially breakfasts! The breads were to die for.
I liked Irish bacon, it’s quite like Canadian bacon without the smoke. Delish.
My family and I are no-fussy and very adventurous eaters so we love to travel. My 5 and 7 year olds are the ones who see a waiter walk by with food on a tray and say “What’s that? Can we have that?”. That said, even we had a tough time with the milk because unlike super ultra homogonized and pasteurized milk we have here, there it’s almost always full fat and not as processed. Also, it tends to be milk from gradd fed cows versus grain fed cattle and that changed the flavor of the milk as well. Makes the milk tough for Americans to handle but it’s also what maked the butter and cream to die for. :)
Highly recommend trying to make it over to Glendalough if you can. Absolutely enchanting and the ruins and St. Kevin’s tower are fascinating.
Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. Sounds like an adventure already. Have a great time in Ireland.
As I understand it, going to the UK would not work out for me unless I want to starve. I’m a vegetarian, and I really don’t like what most of vegetarians eat there.
I had to laugh at Margie’s comment. My parents are going to England in the fall and so I think I will just keep this travel torture information to myself. LOL
Maya, thanks for taking the time to share. I love the weather report best. That’s my favorite part. It reminds me of MY weather report here in the western (rainy) half Washington State. ;)
I was born in Ireland and if I recall correctly the milk is whole milk. In other words not much of the fat content has been reduced, which makes it rather creamy, thick and not that cold. I am now living in Canada and much prefer skim milk, if and when, not a drinker of the stuff, I do drink it. Enjoy the rest of your stay.
Ah, Ireland, what a wonderful country…
Milk usually there is fresh, which means lightly pasteurized, and yes, cows eat grass there. You can get skim milk, usually even in small grocery stores.
And please, don’t say european bacon! ;) What you had is called rashers, and you’ll not find it anyplace else in Europe except for Ireland and GB. But you should be able to find bacon in a bigger grocery store, like Tesco, SuperQuinn or DunnesStores, these are also open on Sundays. You should find all of these in Galway, Ennis and Limerick at least.
Are you planning on going to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park? It sure is worth a visit, just as Galway always is.
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