Sunday, September 12, 2010

IRELAND

AMAZING.  Amazing. Really, that's all I can say about our trip.  It did not disappoint. The country itself was even more charming than I had expected and every bit as beautiful as I had hoped. The wedding was straight out of a fairy tale, and I'm sure I'll never be to another wedding that spectacular in my life.  Where to begin?

The plane ride in caught me off-guard as being surprisingly beautiful:


Even through the airplane window I couldn't believe the shades of green there. And there were sheep on the sides of the runway. What could be more a more Irish welcome than that?  (Because, seriously, where weren't there sheep all over Ireland?)

We were SO so lucky that we had a good couple days of beautiful sunshine and perfect temperatures near the upper 60s. Seriously a blessing for a country notorious for it's lousy weather. So it was perfect that we flew in and were planning on sightseeing our way up the west side of the country until we reached the wedding destination.

First stop, Bunratty castle just outside of Shannon.


Also home of Durty Nelly's, the oldest pub in Ireland.


Excuse the grubby looks- this was just after getting off a red-eye and I don't know, a good 15 hours of traveling or so.









Stopped in Ennistymon for lunch and some meandering. I seriously could not get over how charming all the little towns were. Actually every town in the whole country that we saw looked like this.  All of them. I was so in love.





And seriously, if these two can't get you to drink a cup of Irish coffee, I don't know who can.



And the roads. Oh, the roads. I cannot adequately convey the fear I had for my life traveling on those roads.  Not only were we driving on the wrong side of the road, with a stick shift on the wrong side of your body, but they were the most narrow roads you can imagine!  I guess this are really the only pictures I have and they don't really do it much justice. Most of the time there are trees and bushes, maybe rock walls all within about 6 inches of the side of your car. And when you pass another car on the road there is seriously not a foot of extra room to spare. Not only that, but the roads are incredibly curvy and windy, and the speed limit on them is 60mph (100km/h)!!! We were dying. We're guessing that's why we never saw any cops out on the roads in the whole country - no one in their right mind would be speeding on those
roads.  We had discussed when we picked up the rental car in the airport that Ireland is apparently one of the top few most expensive places in the world to rent a car.  Within minutes of driving we knew exactly why. And then when we pulled up to the wedding next to another rental car and saw a demolished passenger side mirror and scrape marks all along the side of the car, we had nothing but sympathy for them. I seriously couldn't sit up in the front seat. Ryan did an amazing job driving, but every time I was hearing tree branches scraping the sides of the car I knew I was about 4 inches from death.

But the country is so beautiful. The whole country is amazing. All the houses are all well-kept and charming. There are planter boxes on houses and businesses everywhere. I could never quite figure it out.  We kept wondering, where's the ghetto?Where are the run-down houses with all the broken cars on the lawn? The projects?  None of it. We never got to Dublin or up north, maybe it's different there, but everywhere we went we couldn't believe how pleasant and aesthetically pleasing it was.

I know a lot of these are out-the-window-of-the-car shots, but I could hardly put my camera down everything was so pretty and almost unrealistically green.


















Then we headed over to the famous and picturesque cliffs of Moher. Here is Ryan with our traveling buddies, Natalie and Justin, who also work with Will (the groom).


















































Ryan was in love with these stone fences. While I concede to their charm, I mostly just pity the poor person who has to build thousands and thousands of miles of these all over the country. That's how all their land is divided up. Seriously, how do they even build them without the whole thing toppling over?


Here we stopped to see some 5000 year old tomb/burial ground and the however-many ton stones they moved to erect this thing.























And then we finally made it (picture a long dusty road lined with sheep and green grass as we're driving in) to Markree Castle, the wedding destination where all of the wedding party and guests would stay.



I wasn't kidding when I said this wedding was straight out of a fairy tale.



Wow. I'm not even through day one yet!  This could take a while. There might even be more pictures of us on subsequent days when we actually showered. Well, more to come....


16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Splendid! Thanks for posting these photos. Can't wait to see more!

xoxoxocyh

Stefanie Miller said...

Jen, I've been looking forward to hearing about your trip, and I'm glad that there's more to come! The pictures are SO beautiful. It must have been so wonderful. I'm pretty sure we have ancestors from Ireland and I wonder sometimes if that is why I am so enchanted by that country. Then again, who wouldn't be? Welcome home!

Sharon said...

absolutely lovely!

AnnaMarie Ferrell said...

Thanks for sharing. Oh, I love it! And you two do NOT look like you'd been traveling for 15 hours. Can't wait to see more!

Jenilee said...

WOW!! What an amazing opportunity. Now I want to go to Ireland even more. Seriously, staying in a castle, that is so cool.

SuburbiaMom said...

I can hear the bagpipes playing! Glad you got to have such a fabulous trip!!!

Mike & Britt said...

That is amazing! How fun!! I love all the beautiful pictures, can't wait to see the rest.
p.s. I wish I looked as cute as you after a red eye flight!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing all those wonderful views of Ireland. How great that you were able to get away for such an exciting adventure.
Aunt LeJeune

Chadlee said...

That looks so dreamy! I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures.

duck said...

Amazing! I'm drooling.. wanna see more!!!!

Marci said...

Jealous, jealous, JEALOUS!!!! The one place on earth that I am dying to see in person!! And without little ones to be caring for, what an amazing trip this must have been. Post all the pics you want, I'll keep drooling over them.

Gavin and Shawna said...

how fun! gav and i want to know how you pulled that off...3 kids (like us) in residency (like us)?? i cant wait to see the fairy tale wedding...really reminds me of...Made of Honor =)

Angela said...

WOW.

Seriously. I want to go.

Look forward to the rest of the pics.

Ty and Trista Swartzlander said...

Holy crap dude!!!! Are you serious? I cannot beleive you know someone who got married in a castle. That almost makes you a princess. wink wink. What a fun trip. Can't wait to see more.

Karen said...

wow, seriously... this post made me want to forget my little suburban life and jump on a plane. i could so live in a place like that!!! i'm glad you guys got a little getaway--you definitely deserve it. and i am SOLD on ireland...

quick question for you--what kind of camera do you have? the colors were so vivid and seemed true to reality. let me know when you have a second :o) thanks!

Corinne said...

Yeah, the cliffs picture almost made me pee my pants with envy. Nice job :)