Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Ennis, and Galway, Ireland May 6th-12th

There’s really nothing quite like starting off our trips by driving to the airport and always getting stuck behind some crazy Italian thing… This time, it’s a tractor. ah.

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But to the point of the post…

Most know that Ben and I didn’t have a honeymoon. Our immediate post marriage trip involved taking a 24 hour road trip from Michigan back to Colorado Springs, CO where Ben was stationed at the time. Super romantic huh? It actually was great, and we already knew back then that we’d get our honeymoon one day. Moving to Naples was like having that dream come true, but also getting it to last for 3 years!

I think you can gather from the past posts, that we’ve had a great time everywhere we’ve visited. But this trip was special. We scheduled it during our 4 year anniversary, took almost a whole week, and it’s a place both of us have always dreamed of going to.

Now be warned, there’s almost 600 pictures… and (sorry mom) A LOT of landscapes and pictures of animals (mostly cows). We couldn’t get over the pure beauty, and a lot of the pictures don’t do the actual experience justice. That and the thought of being up close to those animals just makes me happy! and Ben doesn’t mind indulging me 🙂

May 6th- DAY 1: Goodbye Napoli, Hello Dublin!

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This is how excited I can look after getting off a 12 hour shift, getting ready, and then getting in the car so we can leave! See how enthused Ben is too?! 😉 Good thing we napped on the 3ish hour plane ride!

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Finally in Dublin and waiting on our car. Freaking out a little about driving “incorrectly”.

We went through a company called “Exploring Ireland” and they set up the car rental w/GPS included and unlimited mileage, as well as all the B&B/Hotel reservations for the entire trip. It was great! I loved having one less thing on my plate to arrange and only having to worry about what to do when we got to each city.

IMG_2967 Our true excitement shown here!

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I know we hit a curb shortly after this picture. Ben and I wanted to put a toy wheel on the other side just to help our brains 🙂

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scared…

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our first glimpses of downtown Dublin and trying to find our hotel. That was fun…

The first hotel we went to was apparently the wrong one. The people at Exploring Ireland and I had a miscommunication on the difference between itineraries and vouchers, our original accommodations were changed and we showed up at the wrong hotel! I was grateful that the hotel staff at the wrong place were helpful and the lady at Exploring Ireland quickly responded to my distress email. We got our actual vouchers and headed over to the correct hotel. Everything worked out just fine.

Rough start to the trip, but that was the worst thing that happened all week and we were grateful!

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Ben is the immediate comfort tester everytime we walk into one of our hotels

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Shmancy right? We found out later that our hotel was on the “blue collar” side of town. Not bad for being right on the Liffey River though. We’ll take it!

IMG_2972 Top priority on visiting Dublin, was finding some good Mexican food. It’s just not really a thing out here in Italy, and I knew we’d get plenty of opportunity to taste local cuisines, which is why the bustling city of Dublin was the perfect place to fulfill the craving. ANd yes ladies and gentlemen… Qdoba/Chipotle style Mexican is sufficient when you’re going on 8 months of missing the stuff you want! The above meal was delicious! I even slightly enjoyed the tomato ridden salsa they put on my tacos and Ben thoroughly enjoyed his burrito. And my mini margarita was good, they gave me one free refill 🙂

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The Liffey River

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The Millenium Spire that they spent about 3 million dollars on and went up about 3 years past the turn of the millennium. The tour guide thought this was hilarious. Apparently they built this after their economic boom, and now they’re broke again…

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The other craving that is never quite met in Italy, is a good milkshake. This one was decent. We were satisfied!

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See?!

A little while later we called it a night and fell asleep hard! Traveling is exhausting!

May 7th- DAY 2: Cork

Dublin to Cork

The next day we woke up around 8, had a scrumptious breakfast with eggs, ham/bacon, and ketchup! I’ve missed that about places we visit too! Most of the time we get continental type breakfast. This was also the beginning of our love affair with tea. I think we drank more tea here than coffee.

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apparently they’re really big into dog racing here, this statue was huge!

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and as we were travelling around the roundabout… our first Irish Pug sighting!!! We were very excited!

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Ben needed a break from driving, he was extra tired, so we utilized the only reason we got an automatic transmission car for the trip and I drove. eek. This moment was significant because, up until this point, the only place I’ve driven in Europe… has been on base! Way to pick the wrong side of the road/car to start driving. I know, I’m smart.

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This is how you do it right? eating and talking on the phone? Ha! (Ben told me to do that)

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not gonna lie, I was a little nervous

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at least the road to Cork, mostly looked like this.

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and this is what Ben did… Knocked out! He must’ve trusted me enough 🙂

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This is what we thought was our first B&B, notice the sign at the road. It was not.We tried to walk into someone’s house! Good thing all their doors were locked. I wonder how often that happens to them.

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the fancy lobby at our actual B&B

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A fancy room! We were supposed to have a smaller room but there were other people in it, so we got an upgrade. Nice!

We settled in to our room and then quickly left. It was rainy out of course but it was on and off. We had Blarney Castle in mind which was a short 5 minutes from where we were staying. We got to the entrance and bought an umbrella

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walking through the garden

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This is the explanation of what we were going to go see, history of the castle, the gardens, and the famous stone!

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Ben insisted we go in here first, a secret passage?

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in the cave! it was quite small

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Trying to get a picture of Ben crawling through the tiny space. The guy before us said maybe if you were a 10 year old you could climb through. Challenge accepted! We both crawled through!

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I was so excited and happy. And then Ben lovingly pointed this out… I screamed, took a picture, and then we couldn’t get out fast enough. That image ruined dark spaces for me for the rest of the trip!

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Now let’s go in the castle!

Except we went to the watch tower first…

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the standard castle greeting

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view from the castle windows. I could live here!

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seems like a smart place for a castle. this is the view from the top!DSC01169 DSC01170 DSC01171 DSC01172

That famous Blarney Stone. You hang upside down, kiss it, and then you have the “gift of gab” to speak eloquently whether it’s true or not. I was really excited to do this! Obviously. Just look at my face! The lady before me was freaking out so this was too hilarious to me. And of course there was a nice old man to make sure we didn’t slip to our deaths, I loved him!

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kissing the stone 🙂

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Ben’s turn!

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happy Ben! Not like he needed anymore help with speaking eloquently!

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a gentleman was nice enough to take our picture afterwards

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and then we took our own with the landscape

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all that was left was to begin the climb down

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I saw this and jumped over to read it. How kind!

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murder hole

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So from here, you see who is coming, and decide if they deserve it. Feels a little pranky

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until I read that they used these things and not slime…

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DSC01203And then we just walked around the grounds for a little bit. There were paths to follow but we stuck to the main roads

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we stopped on a bench in a courtyard where we met the nicest dog, he looked genuinely sad when we left

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at the gift shop on the way out

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this is the Cork gaol (Jail) it was in our touristy book to go see, but apparently was closed by the time we got there 😦

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The REAL road sign for our B&B. We stopped back here before heading out again

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dinner at a gourmet burger bistro. delicious!

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more pictures of the city

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tiny narrow streets we’ve grown to hate so much when there’s another car coming the opposite way

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one last picture of the B&B before we left

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goodbye lone horse

We liked Cork. Probably would’ve been able to spend more time there if we’d had it, but we were also happy to move on the next day after another awesome breakfast.

May 8th- DAY 3: Kerry

cork to kerry

the drive to Kerry didn’t take terribly long, it was about an hour from Cork. The scenery was unbelievable, and we were still happy regardless of the sporadic rain showers.

In Kerry, the “thing” to do is called the Ring of Kerry. It’s a driving path that takes you to various sites of historical or leisurely significance.

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This is only a few of the places on the ring to visit, we did the fort, Kenmare, and the Valentia Island which is right by Portmagee. It was a LONG day and A LOT of driving. But it was beautiful and worth it!

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I warned you about the cows!

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our cute little B&B. This was my favorite place as far as hosting goes. Too bad the bed wasn’t more comfy.

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we dropped our bags, got some advice from the awesome host, and we were on our way.

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we stopped and bought hats made in Ireland at the Woolen Mills store. They were perfect for the rain and wind we dealt with.

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we got out to wait for the ferry to take us to Valentia Island!

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we’re on a boat! in a car…

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the GPS was not amused!

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More Cows! They were so close!

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We got lost looking for somewhere to eat. so we took pictures!

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my handsome husband

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blah clouds

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dogs just everywhere! but they all look well fed and happy

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gave up on eating on the island… back on the ferry!

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Finally some food and lots of hot tea!

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mmm good thing we shared that

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hey moo moo!

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Random scenic stop on the ring. this picture doesn’t even begin to explain how hard that wind was blowing. We thought we might get blown away here. My hair was not happy afterwards.DSC01328 DSC01329 DSC01331 DSC01335 DSC01336 DSC01337

we could live there

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we thought these were ruins. so we climbed over to them to find out that they were part of a golf course. Ha! Apparently golfing is also big here

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these yellow flower bushes grow like weeds everywhere! They’re along all the highways. Pretty! But they hurt too! Those little spikes were a big surprise to my legs when I ran into that bush!

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another scenic stop

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the closes we’d been to sheep! I wanted to pet it so bad! Ben held me back…

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this one ran away from us…

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On our way to the fort. This dog was running around that little van like it was herding it forward! We loved it!

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concentration!

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mini waterfall at the fort

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Staigue Fort!

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almost looks like someone added the Do Not into the sign. hmm DSC01367DSC01368
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we didn’t take a stone or climb it because other people were there too..

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the adorable little city of Kenmare

 
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We liked this city and the colorful buildings

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there was a Seafari we would’ve done, but they weren’t running that day 😦 I wanted to see the seals!

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a rainbow in the background!

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almost looks like a tornado ready to form

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still very windy. look at those waves!

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Getting some pictures of our favorite B&B before leaving the next day

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Happy 4 year anniversary to us!
We were so happy and excited. You can tell by our teeth 😀

May 9th- DAY 4: Ennis, County Clare

kerry to ennis Yay for another short drive!

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trying to get to our B&B

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damn these narrow streets!

Well we decided that our hotel wouldn’t let us check in yet. (We were early? What? Who are we?!?)
So we went ahead and left for our main attraction of the day. The Cliffs of Moher!

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don’t mind Ben’s special face here. Safety first! Gotta watch the road

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Happy oldy weds 🙂

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so here’s a picture from afar!

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and then we were finally there. The Cliffs of Moher!

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The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s top Visitor attractions and are a designated UNESCO Geo Park.

The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare.

From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South.

The Cliffs of Moher take their name from a ruined promontory fort “Mothar” which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars to make room for a signal tower.

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more crazy wind! Ben had to buy a scarf and a warmer hat!

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had to hold onto my hat in this area

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The Cliffs of Moher are home to one of the major colonies of cliff nesting seabirds in Ireland.

The area was designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for Birds under the EU Birds Directive in 1986 and as a Refuge for Fauna in 1988.

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O’Brien’s Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs

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you can see the ocean spray coming up on the left!

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a panoramic view. it was beautiful!

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Happiest anniversary yet ❤

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thank you random girl for taking our picture 🙂

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Danger! Ben wouldn’t let us go past this 😦 I wanted to explore more!
But he hates being cold and his back hurt a little from the climbing and walking. My very own old man.

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the tower looking rock is supposed to be where the penguins hang out in the morning! None that afternoon though 😦

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and sometimes there’s goats on that little island. All we saw were lots of birds, it was still wonderful

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see all the birds!?

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Finally got back to our hotel and checked in

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nicest hotel we stayed at!

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the outside of our hotel, it was probably also the most comfortable place we stayed!


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the church right across the street from the hotel. I loved the hand statue

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then it was time for dinner at YOLO… You only live once. We wondered how long this place has been named that… and if the owner knows about the song.

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We did a little bit of walking around after dinner and then called it a night. We feel truly blessed and grateful that we were able to spend our anniversary at such a beautiful place.

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the next morning, time to go again!

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nerdlet

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this baby king painting had us cracking up. oh goodbye fancy hotel!

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a couple last few pictures of our surroundings and we were off!

May 10th- DAY 5: Galway!

ennis to galway

It didn’t seem that there were many places or things to do in Galway, so we planned multiple stops along the way.

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while perusing our map for places to stop off, we noticed this lovely city. don’t stop there and have a son!

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another fort we would’ve gone into, but we didn’t want to pay 🙂

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look at those snuggling baby cows!

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These cows were really close to the road. Yes I made Ben stop, back up, and pull over so we could go talk to them 🙂

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here we are in the Burrens area

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The Portal Tomb!

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the view from the Ailwee Cave entrance

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After seeing the tomb, we saw the Ailwee Cave!

Located in the heart of the Burren In County Clare. Forty minutes from both Galway and Shannon. Perched high on its Burren terraced mountain side with what has to be one of the most spectacular views of Galway Bay. It is a must for all who find themselves in the area.

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an older couple left almost right after we started walking through the cave

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this is thought to be a Bear bed! Where he slept and hibernated in the winter

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these are remains of a bear skeleton in another bed that helped scientists come to that conclusion

The story is, a farmer followed his dog down a hole and discovered the cave. He didn’t tell anyone else about it for 30 years! Until he was out drinking one night and ran into some scientists who were exploring caves in the area and writing a book. He let this cave slip. If he had gone down to explore anytime before that and got hurt or lost his lantern/candle, he never would’ve been found!

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those stalacite (?) build ups are reallly old, like thousands of years!IMG_3024 IMG_3025
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those ones are even older! They reminded me of the super mario brother movie

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Ben playing Minecraft in real life!

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After all that cave seeing we decided that we deserved some treats from this adorable shop across the parking lot

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How can you resist when they have this adorable carving at the door?

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Carved using a  chainsaw! Talent!

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Best fudge I’ve ever purchased! we were quite happy!
From the left! Vanilla Honeycomb, Vanilla with coffee sprinkles, Caramel/Vanilla, Strawberry/Chocolate, and Chocolate.
If I could order some now I would!

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Okay done with fudge for now, time for cheese and honey! It was sooo good! I think we might actually be able to order this cheese, maybe the honey. We should!

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both watching the road. Ha

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Happy travelers with full fudge/cheese/honey bellies. That sufficed for lunch that day

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I don’t know how he does it.

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I drove the rest of the way to Galway that day, much to Ben’s delight!

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Finally in Galway at the Spanish Arch! Named for all the trading that was done with Spain through this port.

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Next to the arch was where they stored all the artillery if they needed to fight

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We could live here

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this fearless bird…

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Into the museum we go. Spearheads!

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a famous Irish writer and Journalist, dedicated to the Irish language and independence from Britain

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Cool electronic interactive podium with different points of significance in Galway. Just click on the place and you could read about it

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the boat is called a Hooker, Galway is famous for these!

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war posters depicting their role in WWI, all along they were fighting for their own independence!

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Ben is a good size reference for how big that thing is!

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Carrying the basket just like the woman in the picture. It was heavy, and the lady had hers filled!

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walking around the charming city

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of course we went in! There wasn’t really anything special though that we could bring back for Galway

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Ben just chillin with Eduard and Oscar Wilde

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Lynch’s castle. now a bank. nice

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more Sheridan! He must belong here

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they love JFK here

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Oh Canada!!!!!!!!! Represent.

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we quite liked this mural

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more beautiful pictures of the bay

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and then there’s this picture…

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i’m sure that lady thought we were strange. we are

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And then it was time for dinner. We went to a place that our weird Galway B&B hostess recommended. It was amazing. This is just our appetizer. I guess we can call this our day late anniversary dinner!

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mmm chicken stuffed with goat cheese and bacon, Ben got a seafood pasta. We should probably go back next year

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after dinner it was time to digest and walk around, a beautiful panorama from the Galway Promenade in Salthill.

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and on our walk he sang me a song 🙂
Of course our oldest pug is named Galway. It’s after this song from our favorite movie together P.S. I Love You
If you listen to the lyrics, there was no better time to get serenaded, in Galway, on the promenade

copy/paste the link if you want to hear 🙂

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what a gorgeous, perfect after dinner walk

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during our walk we picked out this house as the one we could live in when we move here 😉

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those boxes were our wedding colors, it’s a sign!

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back to the B&B after our long fun filled day

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smallest bathroom ever!

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and our smallest room… but cozy. still a great stay!

May 11th- DAY 6: Back to Dublin!

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The final leg of our trip! we were excited to go back and have a little more time to explore and enjoy Dublin. I scheduled a free walking tour so we had to leave on time this day, and no side trips/cow photoshoots

I volunteered to drive all the way there, like a crazy person.

The following is Ben’s reaction:DSC01630DSC01629

my whatever face. He wasn’t so against it that he drove instead!

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and we’re back to this lovely hotel, the same one we stayed in on our first day in Ireland. what a hilarious statue to have at your entrance.

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This is inside the City Hall building in Dublin, the first stop on our walking tour. It was beautiful.

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we learned a lot about the history of Ireland in about 15 condensed minutes! They’ve had it rough here, but they’re a persistent and tough country! The stories our guid told us were great, we had even more respect for some of the sad times this country had.

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the City flag on the wall and the crest on the floor

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The crest says the citizen’s obedience is the city’s happiness. Hilarious since the Roman’s implemented this phrase, and from the stories told, the Irish are prone to rebelling! Just look at the burning buildings!

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on the steps of city hall where they did public punishments, and at the end of the street is where they did hangings

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Dublin Castle. The record tower in the middle is the only original part remaining. The red building on the side is the barracks

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the courtyard

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this Irish author wrote a lot about the problems that the Irish faced

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the tour guide took this picture for me, apparently it’s one of the scenes from P.S. I Love You. He didn’t care for the movie too much

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where the city got it’s name Dubh Linn meaning black pool. There used to be water here, the lines in the grass represent the river eels that used to live here

Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island’s principal city following the Norman invasion. The city expanded rapidly from the 17th century; it was briefly the second largest city in the British Empire and the fifth largest in Europe.

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where a famous Viking is still buried

also, more famously, the real life Tom and Jerry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_cat_and_the_rat.jpg)

During church restorations, the organist tried to play some music. The sound was off so he called a custodian to check the pipes. The custodian reached up into a pipe, felt something furry, and pulled out a cat! The organist tried again and when it wasn’t any better, the custodian checked again. This time he reached up further and found the rat! The cat had been chasing the rat, and both got stuck and died, they’re now displayed in the church basement. What a way to go :/

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the hotel who turned away U2 before they were famous, they said when they became rich they’d buy the hotel. So when they did, they bought it! They play on the roof of this hotel in one of their music videos

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The O’Connell Bridge, redone by the same company that constructed the Titanic! That’s the reason the guide didn’t want to get on it 🙂

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and then we saw pug #2 while we were listening! We startled the group when we freaked out…

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we stopped in the trendy Temple Bar area, had some lunch and then left the group for a different attraction we wanted to see that day

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and then we saw this!

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look at those two little pugs, number 3 and 4! the one in the blue harness was a well behaved female that didn’t need to be on a leash, she just stayed. the boy is in the black harness. he would not stop barking at the street, the owner said he wanted to chase after the cars!

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of course we had to say hi

The big dog is the reason he wouldn’t let us get close. He seemed like a gentle giant

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Apparently it was a type of  war dog, Mastiff looking, but it’s own breed from a long ago time in Ireland. He was a giant! I think he’s got the perfect combo of dogs here. We talked for a while before leaving him alone

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The Jeanie Johnston ship
This ship is an accurate replica of the original Jeanie Johnston, which sailed between Tralee in Co. Kerry and North America between 1847 and 1855. During that time it carried 2,500 people on the seven week journey – and despite the hardships and risks, no lives were lost on any of its trips.

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farther down from the ship, another bridge, this one more modern

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ready for our voyage to the new world!

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on deck

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steep steps!

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this freaked me out at first, we weren’t expecting this

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a replica of the living conditions, but on a smaller scale I think

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Our tour guide was great, knowledgeable and got us close to tears a few times.

Most of these people left during the potato famine, the stories were tragic. Families did what they could to get on a ship and travel to the new world.

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representative of a family of 10 that slept together

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mother and children that traveled hoping to meet up with the husband/father who went before them. it’s unknown if they ever found him.

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taking a picture with the great doctor. he played a major role in making sure that the sick were cared for and didn’t die on the ship

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representative of the baby who was born on the ship the day before it set sail. the baby was named after all the members of the crew. the descendant of this family owns a bar in Milwaukee (? if I remember correctly) Amazing!

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the Captain! The other person given credit to for keeping passengers healthy and making the journey safely

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Ben enjoying the music stylings of this guy

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The Jeanie Johnston took on too much water and sunk slowly into the ocean one day. Apparently the crew just gathered what they could and kept moving up while the ship sunk. Another ship found them and were able to rescue the 9 crew members on board. No one ever died on the ship. Still gives me goosebumps!

It was a humbling experience to  be on that ship. It’s much smaller than I ever expected. We’re so lucky to not have those hardships to worry about. I’m grateful for my strong ancestors!

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a little more sightseeing in Dublin

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Back at the hotel for some dinner and sleep! We wanted to see one of the shows that the hotel hosts, but the tickets were sold out 😦 Oh Well, next time!

IMG_3060Sad about having to leave on May 12th. We had a nice early 0730 flight. Thankfully everything went off without a hitch and we were back in Napoli just in time for me to nap before work 🙂

This trip was just another example of being grateful for this opportunity to travel.
Never in our wildest dreams did we expect to travel to Ireland and spend our anniversary there.
Our hopeful plan is to spend each anniversary there until we PCS. *crossing fingers* There’s so much we did, but also so much we missed, there will be plenty to see the next time.
It was fun to connect with my Irish heritage (shoutout to my Nana!) I wish I could bring all my loved ones everywhere we go so we could share these experiences. But I guess that’s what this is for, at least I can share a piece.

Next up, Greece!

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