Update from Newgrange area

Blog, Ireland 2 Comments

Whew, only a couple of days left of our irish vacation, and I think Jason and I are both starting to get a little tired. We’ll still be a little bit sad to leave though, as Ireland has been an amazing place and we will have many fantastic memories to carry with us!

Since we left Killarney, we have travelled across Ireland and visited Adare, Limerick, Grange, Dublin, and Newgrange. In Adare we went to this Celtic Park and Garden and met this really interesting old man who was very, very nice and even drew us a map on how to get to our next destination! We talked to him for a while and he’s quite an intelligent man who has spent almost 30 years studying genealogy and Irish History. He was very interesting to talk to, and though we could have stayed there all day and chatted, we had a lot more on our itinerary so we took his picture (with his reluctant permission) and headed on our way. Next we drove to Limerick and toured King John’s castle. They put together quite a nice display, and it took a good 1.5-2 hours to tour everything, including 2 multimedia presentations they’d created – one of which was a bit “cheesey” but had a good message. From there we started to drive to the Lough Gur Stone Age center, but happened to pass through Grange on the way which is the site of the largest stone circle in Ireland – so of course we had to stop! We then drove to Lough Gur and learned more about it and the surrounding area, but the stone circle itself was really the main attraction.

From there, we drove to Dublin. Oi, Dublin. Driving in Dublin is INSANE! We could never quite find where we were going and I think we both were stressed out and frustrated. Finally around 9pm we found a McDonalds and decided to just pull over and eat since we hadn’t had any food since breakfast that morning. After McDinner, we tried to find a hotel that wasn’t extremely expensive (or booked!) and ended up at the “Tara Towers” hotel right outside the main part of the city. There was a LOUD, rowdy crowd of kids in the lounge, and the man checking us in wasn’t horribly helpful. First he put us in a room with 3 twin size beds, so we called and asked to be switched to a room with one big bed instead. He said no problem, we went down and got a new room key, and found out our new room had 3 single beds, 2 of which were pushed together (but didn’t even share sheets or comforter). We gave up and just went to bed.

This morning we woke up and went to the Trinity College Library to view the Book of Kells. I couldn’t believe how many people were there! We had to stand outside in the hot sun for almost an hour just to get in to the building, and by then I was starting to feel pretty overheated. We went through the crowded exhibit, trying to see as much as we could around all the people, and finally made it to the room where the Book of Kells itself was on display, along with a couple of other significant ancient books. People were crowded around the display, pushing in to get a better look, and basically just annoying me! So, I left Jason to get a better look and went over to the corner of the room and sat down trying to cool off. Pretty soon this woman who worked for the library (I think) came over and “yelled” at me (ok, she didn’t yell but she was quite loud and extremely patronizing) and asked if I needed help getting upstairs. That just pushed me over the edge, I think, after being stressed out and overheated and over-peopled, so I got somewhat upset and pretty much didn’t see the rest of the exhibit. FINALLY we got out of Dublin and drove up to see Newgrange. They had a nice display in the visitor centre, which was good because we had to wait almost an hour to become part of a “tour group” to see newgrange and take a bus out there. Once we got there, it was pretty interesting. The guide was nice, and had lots of information so it wasn’t boring. Then we found a Lodge located right outside the Visitor’s Centre, and checked in for the night. We went into a neighboring town pub for dinner, came back here with the intention of reading and relaxing (as well as our normal journalling/finance evening) and realized they had a COMPUTER ROOM! YAY! We can finally update without paying per minute or some ridiculous thing!

Tomorrow we are making our way back towards Shannon, stopping at the Hill of Tara and the Hill of Uisneach. We will probably stay somewhere near the Hill of Uisneach, and leave for Shannon the next morning. The morning after that we fly home! I am sad that our vacation is coming to an end, but I am a little excited to get home to my OWN bed and my OWN shower, and our friends and family and precious little kitty! (GIBSON!)

This will probably be our last big update before we get home, so hopefully we will see everyone soon! Once we are home and settled we will update this site with more details and THOUSANDS of pictures so be sure to check back!

Jill and Jason

Update from Killarney

Blog, Ireland 3 Comments

Finally getting to update again. Sheesh it’s been a while. We’ve done a LOT, and since Internet access is expensive here (‚.¨1/15 minutes) so we’ll just list some of it and post more later.

We have: Gone up to beautiful Westport and Clifden (MANY pictures), Jason climbed the mountain Crough Patrick (MANY MANY pictures), went out to the Aran Islands and we both climbed the hill to the ancient fortress Dun Aengus, came back to the “mainland” and took a tour of Ailwee Cave, and saw the very ancient Poulnabrone Stone Dolmen, came to Killarney, got lost looking for stone circles but did find some Ogham stones, toured Ross Castle, took a stroll in the park and then took a horse-drawn carriage (“jaunting car”) around the lake and up to a gorgeous waterfall, and now we’re posting from the crazy downtown area.

We also now have cell phone service (actually since Ennis) here, and our number is (country code: 353) 087 9598089. We get free incoming calls, and international calling cards are MUCH cheaper in the states, so call if you want to talk to us, but PLEASE keep in mind that we are 6 hours ahead of Minnesota time, so if you call at 10pm there it is 4am here… Calling at 2 to 4 pm Central time probably works best for us.

Anyway, we’ve used up our time now, but we miss everyone (no really we do) and we will post again as soon as we can! We will be back in the states late next Wednesday, which is coming up fast already..

peace and love

jason and jill

Update from (outside of) Westport

Blog, Ireland 7 Comments
Jason and Jill at the Cliffs of Moher

Yesterday, after we posted, we went to the “Riches of Clare” museum in Ennis, then went to the Cliffs of Moher. If I had to pick one word to describe the Cliffs, it would be “HOLY CRAP!!!”. Ok so that’s not one word, but I don’t think there IS one word that will describe this place. We took something like 100+ pictures within that couple hours (I think we’re on a 140-picture-a-day average so far, which is why we haven’t taken the time to upload them yet). The picture above is one a guy there was nice enough to take for us. As it turns out, he’s better with out camera than we are. Go figure.

Anyway, The Cliffs of Moher is a huge (600+ feet in some places) cliff face on the western-most coast of Ireland, and sports the tower of the great and legendary O’Brien Clan (seen in the distance behind us). The tower and the area immediately around it was closed for renovation, so we couldn’t see it’s view, but our view from below was at least as good. As for the rest of the pictures, you’ll just have to wait till we have time to sort through them.

We then ate at a pub (in Inagh) called “Biddy Early’s”, which is a reference to a legendary “healer and seer” who lived in those parts. The famous author Lady Augusta Gregory wrote about her in the book (co-written with the even-more-famous W.B. Yeats) Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland.

We then went back and slept like logs at the Ogham House B&B in Ennis, before waking up today and driving all the way out to Westport, which is at the foot of Croagh Patrick. There are many interesting things to do out around this town, but unfortunately it rained all day and we didn’t get to do a lot other than drive there and look around. We found a nice B&B (that let’s us use their broadband.. yay!) 12km outside of town with a gorgeous view of the ocean, and hopefully tommorrow we can venture out from here to explore the area in nicer weather. More soon.

Update from Ennis

Blog, Ireland 5 Comments

Well, after MUCH tribulation, we made it to Ireland.¬ Our flights ended up very different than we planned, which was the cause of some stress.¬ First, we ended up on an earlier flight from Minneapolis to Chicago, so we arrived in Chicago by 7:50 am.¬ We then had to wait in the O’Hare airport until our flight to Philadelphia was scheduled to depart around 4 pm.¬ Unfortunately, there was bad weather in Philly so they rescheduled us on an overnight flight to London-Heathrow, then a flight from London to Shannon, Ireland.¬ The flight to London didn’t board until 6:40 pm, so we were very sick of the Chicago airport by that point!

The overnight flight went pretty well, the airplane was enormous and had 2 in-flight movies, plus a flight-tracker map that continuously updated itself.¬ It was somewhat difficult to sleep on the plane, so by the time we arrived in London around 8:20 am (2:20 am our time) we were pretty exhausted, and not too impressed with the ENORMOUS London-Heathrow airport!¬ The flight to Shannon from London left around 11:30 am, and we finally arrived at 12:30 in Ireland!!

After a long night of travel, and the stress from changing flights, all we wanted to do was get our luggage, find a place to stay, and sleep! However, things weren’t that simple.¬ Somehow due to the changes in our flight plan, our luggage got lost along the way.¬ We had to file a lost luggage report, then call them when we had a place to stay and a way to be contacted.¬ We then stopped by the car rental place and picked up our car, which is quite a bit larger than we realized, and learn how to drive on the left side of the road!¬ I’m actually doing pretty well with the driving part, so everyone watch out when we get back to the states!

We found a B&B in Newmarket-on-Fergus, an old farmhouse called Mooghaun Farmhouse run by a woman named Mary who raised 8 kids! We quickly drove to a neighboring town (Quin) and found a Pub for dinner, where we had burgers, chips (fries), and Bulmer’s cider.¬ Oddly enough, the pop sizes are much, much smaller here, but the beer sizes are enormous!! :)¬ The Bulmers bottle we were given reminded me of a Champagne bottle.

The next morning, after breakfast we went an explored the nearby Mooghaun Hill Fort for which the farm gets its name.¬ Upon our return to the farmhouse,¬ our lost luggage was delivered to us by courier (YAY!), we were finally able to shower and change clothes, then depart the Mooghaun farmhouse.¬ We stopped at nearby Dromoland Castle, which is absolutely AMAZING, and then headed to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.¬ Bunratty is a renovated castle that has a Folk Village built around it with many shops and interesting sights.¬ One of the neatest features is that you can go in and explore (nearly) all the rooms of the castle, and climb all the way to¬ the top of the tower (which we did)!

¬ After Bunratty, we moved on toward the town of Ennis, and got stuck in a major traffic jam due to the construction of a highway bypass.¬ It reminded us of home ;-) Once we arrived in Ennis, we found it to be a really unique city with very narrow streets and many many shops crammed into a downtown area you could walk all the way across in 20 minutes, if it wasn’t for all the people and traffic.¬ There are many interesting things to do and see here, and one could spend a week, but we are only taking two days.¬

So far, we have eaten at a Pub/Restaurant called “Brogan’s”, listened to a few minutes of live Irish music (in the pub side), seen the inside of the beautiful St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral, explored the “Riches of Clare” Museum, and come to the Dimension X cyber-cafe where we are posting this from.¬ Next, we go see the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren!

¬ Tommorrow we leave Ennis for the town of Westport, and then the Aran Islands!

¬ We haven’t had the time to post any of the ~160 pictures we have taken so far, but hopefully more posting and pictures will come soon!

¬ Love from Ireland

–jason and jill

We did it!

Wedding No Comments

The wedding is done! Everything went very well, we are now happily married, and we both hope that all who attended had a great time. We will be leaving for Ireland early tommorrow morning, but will try to post from there periodically, so check back here for updates.