Anthony and I had to depart our amazing hotel, but luckily we were headed off to Ireland! We departed early and arrived in Dublin at lunchtime. Anthony’s cousins Anna and Trevor were waiting for us as we exited. Which was really exciting for me because it is the first time someone has been waiting for me in my entire European vacation! Words cannot express how amazing they are, and how perfect they made our trip. They drove us out to their dairy farm in Navan. We spend Sunday through Wednesday being driven around to all the sites, fed amazing meals every day, and had amazing conversation on top of it all. Side note – several calves were born while we were there at the farm so even through their busy time they still managed to be the best hosts ever.
Day one, Sunday, we saw Slane Castle, drove up to Carlingford which is a beautiful town on the East coast. I had clam chowder and my first Guinness of the trip! -Which the men were all impressed by. Afterwards we drove up into Northern Ireland (new country down, yay!). We headed back to the farm, hung out with Rhys – Anthony’s cousin who is near our age.
Day two, Monday we went to Newgrange – which is older than Stonehenge! They had a full visitor center, museum, and tour that led you up and inside the mound. It was pretty incredible. Then we went to another mound like Newgrange called Dowth – but is currently untouched. Maybe in the years to come they will be as famous (and tourist heavy) as Newgrange! We also went to Battle of the Boyne visitor center and learned all about the battle and saw the fields it was fought on. Which, as Trevor explained, was not only important historically for Ireland but for all of the UK. It must be so cool to have so much history in your own backyard. We ate lunch at the Old Post Office in town. Also we were spoiled with the weather. It barely rained, and if it did it was a very light drizzle for a short period of time, and we saw so many rainbows! After that we drove around the area and saw several amazing houses, a cool old cemetery and back home to another super delicious meal!
Day three, Tuesday, we woke up to a traditional Irish breakfast! Much like an English one but better because the eggs came from down the road, the milk from the backyard and the sausage from the neighbor. Ah.mazing. We went to Trim Castle. This is where they shot Braveheart! It was gorgeous, and so well perserved. Then we went up to the Hill of Tara, where we could see everything. We ate lunch at the restaurant right below. After that we went up to the Hill of Slane, where St Patrick lit the paschal fire. Another place with breathtaking views – and we could see across to the Hill of Tara that we had just left. After that we went back to the farm and down to the hanger and air strip! Trevor is an instructor and owner of planes, so of course we had to go up! Anthony wasn’t sure he would like it so much, so instead of flying to Galway for lunch we went up to see how he would do…and he was just fine! I sat in the pilots seat, and actually got to FLY THE PLANE! It was so so so so cool. We flew West over all sorts of beautiful land and water. Trevor would say, head for that lake, or that hill and I would take us there. He has me hooked. He showed us the Kellaher land and all the sites we had been seeing from above. He made me fly through a cloud, and at one point it was like we were flying through a rainbow! Not to toot my own horn but Trevor said I was a natural. We landed in time for a drink a the local pub to watch the Arsenal match and back to the farm for dinner.
Day four, Wednesday, we woke up to another Irish breakfast, and sadly off to the airport. Ireland was Heaven. There is no better way to put it and I’m so grateful for our amazing hosts!