Today I ran on a track for the first time in 7 months. It felt…good? difficult? almost fast? tiring? exciting? disappointing? There are a lot of unknowns in injury, and they don’t go away as you make your way back. There is no secret formula […]
Last full day in Ireland! We started off the morning by walking to the Connolly Station for the Luas, so we could take it to the Guinness Storehouse. We booked a morning tour ticket, but it’s self-guided, so it really didn’t matter what time we […]
We started off the morning with Dublin City Bike Tours. The 3-hour tour only traversed about 5 miles as our guide Evan stopped at various spots to tell us about the city’s history. Evan was awesome! Very knowledgeable and funny.
Our tour group was small – a couple from New York and a girl about our age named Catherine. While there are cyclists all over Dublin, and some of the tour was on dedicated bike lanes, we started off just on the side of the street – right by the cars and busses! I was semi-terrified but didn’t get squashed by a bus, so it all worked out.
One stop was at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Along with the other cathedral in Dublin, it’s a Protestant rather than Catholic cathedral. They actually tried to sell it to the Catholics at one point, but they declined, saying they wanted to build their own Cathedral. When the Catholics tried to raise money to build a separate cathedral, no one would donate because they knew they turned down a perfectly good one already!
Back when Guinness started up, working there meant the company put you and your family up, sent your kids to school, and you got free Guinness every Friday! Evan said that it was really common for your friends to be extra chummy come Friday.
The Grand Canal runs along some of the prettiest parts of the tour! We stopped at a coffee shop for a break where we got some tea to warm up.
Merrion Square was another beautiful stop. The statue of Oscar Wilde is especially impressive because it isn’t painted stone. The green color of his jacket is jade, and the detail, down to the creases in his slacks, is incredible.
After the tour we had a couple of hours to kill before our scheduled tour of Dublin Castle, so we found lunch at Fornaio Cucina Italiana which was delicious! I had the vegetarian ravioli and Josh had the lasagna again. We also passed by The Rolling Donut on the way to lunch which I was veryyy interested in checking out. I got a peanut butter chocolate donut that was well worth the stop.
Our tour of Dublin Castle had three parts. First we toured the ruins underneath the current structure. Parts of the original wall are still intact. I can’t remember the reason why the ground is so much higher now than it was hundreds of years ago when it was first built.
Next we toured the Chapel Royal which was beautiful! They still use it occasionally for special events.
Finally, we toured the State Apartments which included various rooms and an ornately decorated throne room. The State Apartments are the most commonly used space that we toured as they host world leaders when they come to Ireland for events.
We were really tired after the tour and weren’t up for the 2+ mile walk home, so we figured out which bus to take home and walked to the stop. We found out that buses only take coins, and luckily we had enough to cover the fare for both of us!
After a run around Fairview Park and a shower (not as good as glamping but at least it was warm), we walked to Bru Fairview for dinner. I had a chicken caesar salad that was a full 50/50 mix of greens and toppings (including bacon), and Josh had a burger. The restaurant had a great vibe and wifi (it was down at our AirBnb), so we stayed for quite a while. Plus there was a guy there who had his dog (named Walter) sitting with him at the bar, and it was adorable.
This was probably my favorite day. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and oatmeal and juice boxes, we drove to the “upper car park” for for the Torc Mountain hike. Although there is no visitor’s center for Killarney with a map of the trails, a […]
The next morning we packed up, said goodbye to Irene the goat – one of the two goats who lived at our AirBnb – and headed south to Killarney. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive, and we had a few hours to kill before being able to check in at glamping, so the plan was to hike around Killarney National Park until then.
Unfortunately there is no visitor’s center or central place to park. We ended up on the Ring of Kerry which is beautiful but another narrow, curvy road – plus cyclists! When we saw a random church on the side of the road with some parking spots, we pulled off. There was a nice trail/road (maybe Old Kenmare Road?) to walk on, so we went for a little 30-minute walk to break up the car ride.
After our jaunt we backtracked on the Ring of Kerry to what looked like a visitor’s center which turned out to be the Muckross House. There was a parking lot and a bathroom and a restaurant, so we grabbed some lunch before walking around the grounds. We decided against the tour of the house and instead walked to the old schoolhouse and then the Muckross Abbey.
Then we got the go-ahead that we could check into glamping early, so we headed there! I cannot recommend Killarney Glamping at the Grove enough. Linda the owner is super sweet and accommodating, and the glamping site is awesome. There are 5 tents total, and the interior of the tent was the largest living space we had of the entire trip. The bathroom (toilet and sink) behind the sliding door was probably the largest bathroom as well.
Each tent also has its own little kitchen area, so we went to the grocery store to get dinner as well as breakfast items for both days. Camping/glamping always makes me think of pancakes, but I was disappointed not to find any instant pancake mixes at the store, and we had to settle for oatmeal and eggs. We also got some pre-marinated steak and pre-made salad, so dinner was easy peasy.
Before dinner I went for a run to scope out Ross Castle. Despite it being a tad further away than Apple maps told me it was, it was pretty cool, and we added it to our list to visit the next day. To add to the list of reason glamping was my favorite, the shower was so good. The water was hot, the pressure was great, and it was probably the biggest shower of the trip, too. Since I spent so much time being a little chilly, having access to reliable hot water was very exciting.
After dinner and dishes, it started raining, so instead of enjoying the fire pit, we grabbed some games from the communal area and played Connect 4 and cards on our front porch (with the heat lamp). It was a lovely evening!
If you’re like me, you come back from vacation pretty tired. I like to do ALL THE THINGS on vacation. See the sites, eat the food, hike the mountains, etc. The relaxation aspect comes from the break from the daily routine, not actual relaxation.
There’s nothing worse than coming home from and adventure and having to clean the house. You’re already tired, you already have to unpack (way less fun than packing) and do laundry, and the last thing you want to do is scrub the shower.
So – clean the house before you go on vacation. The worst that will happen while you’re gone is that dust will accumulate a bit more rapidly since you aren’t bustling around to stir it up.
You put planning time into vacation and plan for time to pack before you leave, so schedule in an additional hour to clean the bathroom and wipe down the kitchen counters. Then your vacation will be distraction free, and you can physically relax when you get home before heading back to work.
Bonus: if your coworkers flee a hurricane and end up staying at your house while you’re gone, you can rest easy knowing it won’t be a messy wreck when they get there. 🙂