I know it’s been over 6 months since we were in Europe, but it’s brown and dreary and cold here in Boston (though this winter has been such a breeze compared with last year!) so I thought I’d post some green here to remind me that there is lushness someone in the world.
We flew out of Switzerland early. As the ever budget conscious travelers, all of our inter-Europe flights were super early, flying out of inconvenient airports on super budget airlines. The kids thought it was so cool to board the airplane from the ground instead of through a jet way. It’s pretty cool as a 4 year old to see how huge that machine is that you get to fly on. One of the most exciting things on the trip was that Em lost her first tooth, on the airplane! Charlie lost his first tooth in Wales. Thankfully Em’s tooth fairy is much more on the ball than the other kids’ fairies. She had her Irish money to her before the end of the day. We flew into and out of Ireland because it was the most economical way to do it and since we were ‘forced’ to go through that country, we decided to spend a few days to explore it. I’d never been to Ireland and was so happy that I got to. I though I was just an anglophile, but I guess it extends to all of the British Isles.
I’m sure that Dublin is wonderful, but since we had such limited time and since we figured out kids would have had enough of cities by that point we decided to spend our time in the country. The rental car company upgraded us to a big old van, which kept the kids from getting too frustrated, but was quite a challenge for Jeff to navigate on those tiny roads. Once we were all set we headed straight for the western side of the Island. We stopped here at this ruined castle on the way. We have something for ruined castles ever since Carag Cennen in Wales (photos here). We all love the freedom to explore and imagine and wonder. Always Lammy. These photos remind me so much of those ones 5 years ago, just with bigger kids and no one crawling around in the dirt. I loved that afternoon light. For dinner we stopped at this funny pub that felt very Irish to me. And Charlie ate pizza with chips on it. Not sure how typical that is but he was psyched (though he doesn’t look it in this picture!).The drive to our little cottage that evening was filled with magical silver twilight and lots of green.
This is the big car we drove in front of the little cottage we rented. It was a quirky and super inexpensive airbnb find that was perfect for us. It was situated on some beautiful land in county Claire just north of a little old old town called Killaloe. This description and photo make it seem a little more fancier than it was. There were also lots of old trailer homes on the property. I wish I had some photos of the inside. It was just the kind of accommodations that I love. Quirky and old and wondrous for the kids. There were two really rustic looking attic rooms upstairs. One with four twin beds in it. Emmeline was tickled, felt like she was living in a little house book.
The next morning we got up and headed to the Dingle Peninsula. We drove through a bunch of towns like this ^^^ and stopped for a windy and beautiful and a little bit panicked picnic lunch at the beach. We ran in the wind and got out our fidgets before hoping back into the car to brave these skinny and scenic roads. These roads don’t look too bad from here, but man, Jeff and I were white knuckling it with that wide car, cliff on one side, mountain on the other, passing other much more confident drivers on those one lane roads.
We stopped quite a few times to breath and loosen up our stressed out shoulders. And admire the breathtaking views. This craggy wonderland was my favorite stop. It was just a little pull out and we just kept hiking higher and higher, wondering in separate ways through the rocky, grassy wilderness and then coming back together to navigate our way over little stream beds, surprised by a sudden marshy wet step every once in a while. Man, did we feel alive. Just seeing these pictures brings back such life filled memories. Loved how we all had to work together to get up and down and navigate our way through. On the other side of the hill we found this little runoff pond. Oh, that light. We tried to get a family shot, here’s Hazel trying to pretend I’m in the picture. Sorry for all the pictures, but I want to remember every second of that little roadside pit stop.
The next stop was filled with grand vistas, overlooking the ocean. Em was the only one with energy enough to come out and explore with me and Jeff. I’m pretty sure she kind of loved being the only kid for a few minutes. After driving up over the highlands we made our way onto the Dingle Peninsula and out to the sea. Where more kind of unbelievable beauty awaited us. Love these golden locks in the golden sunshine. Oh, how I want to be back in that moment for a second, feeling that sunshine, the happy aura that surrounds us when we are so alive with fresh air and beauty and the sea.
We took another little detour down to the beach. It was quite a feat to restrain Hazel from jumping right in. Then Hazel and I took a little off the beaten path adventure, past some signs that might have meant we shouldn’t have gone there and up onto this peak. It was windy and filled us with a sense of adventure. The world turned and the greens shifted and we headed away from the ocean, To this old old old church, Irelands oldest standing structure. It’s believed to be built sometime between the 8th and 11th century. A small little room with a window. We loved standing in there, singing in there, wondering about the people who carved and laid the stones without mortar in a way that would withstand thousands of seaside storms. We wrapped up the day with a dinner of fish and chips and kebabs in the little fishing town of Dingle. One of my favorite family meals ever. We even splurged on some after dinner ice cream. I love that feeling of exhilarated exhaustion that you feel after pulling off a day of fun adventure, your cheeks kissed by the wind, your belly hungry from burnt off energy, your body tired by the thrill of being alive.
Missing all that fuzzy green whizzing past my car window. Soon it will be green here too.