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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ireland Day 1: Newgrange, Hill of Tara, Northern Ireland

So we arrived in Dublin early in the morning on Thursday, April 17, 2008. We were beaming with excitement to finally be back. I will save you the rest of the details and go right into site seeing. We flew in and mostly stayed on the West Coast last trip so we were able to see some things we never had the opportunity to see before. Firstly, let me preface by saying we only had a hotel booked for our last night in Ireland, Dublin to be exact, before we flew out the next day. The rest of this trip, we went where the wind blew us. We knew two things: 1) We want to see Donegal and 2) We want to stay at least 4 days in Miltown Malbay reconnecting with old friends. Car. Check. Map check. Soundtrack. Check. LET'S GO!

So that's Wendy behind the wheel for the first part of the trip equipped with our first espressos of the day courtesy of the Dublin airport. We headed just north of Dublin to Newgrange. This is a fantastic and delicate archaeological find. It doesn't look like much from here, but trust me this dates back to ancient times and cairns (burial grounds of the Druids).
We can't help ourselves. We have this thing for sheep. They are just so gosh darn cute. The wool is not a bad thing either.
Windy road to the Hill of Tara outside of Knoweth.
At the Hill of Tara, another burial ground and key finding for the life and times of the Druids.

Upon walking up to the graveyard, Wendy is most expediently greeted by being pelted with magpie shrapnel. Yes, folks. CRAPPED ON BIGTIME. Well, they do say it's good luck right?

Fresh wool rubbings on a field tree

Next up, I take over the wheel and off to Donegal town we go. We stopped for lunch at a place called Lakeside. I think the location might be self-explanatory. There was more coffee involved and a yummy bowl of steamy Irish stew to warm up the old bones.
With the fuel to move on and stay awake, we plug forward to Donegal. We stopped for a stretch at this beautiful lake. I couldn't tell you that the signs had become a wee bit strange from what we were seeing before. Know why? We crossed the border and didn't even know that the signs were now in mph. We were in Northern Ireland and didn't even know it until we scanned the map again. No border patrol of old. Countries now at peace.
I had to get out of the car to step my feet on Northern Ireland and thank the powers at be for peace and a lifetime more for the people of the Republic and Northern. It felt good to be there.

Wendy's (Beastie Boys) "Sabotage" photo. I snapped this on a whim of her running across the street so as not to be clobbered by some speeding car (going in mph, of course, ahem) around the bend.

The first official town we came to was Belleek, home of the famous china.
The Belleek factory.
And the first yarn excursion of the trip at McGrath's across the street. I didn't end up buying yarn here but I did have a hysterical conversation with the two owners of the store. I'll never forget those guys. What fun.
Up through Ballyshannon and on to our final destination for the night, Donegal town. Finally, I have reached the location of my father's people, County Donegal. By birth I am a Hughes, technically a Welsh name by history, but considered Irish since they came over around the early 14oos so the history books say. They are considered native stock from this area and the Hughes surname is one of the top 40 surnames here.

So here is the view from the BnB we picked out. We've always had luck with picking BnB's on a whim before until this one. Ummmm bijoux I guess I would say. We were missing half that should have been in our room to start the night off. We ended up being moved to a nicer room with heat thankfully. This is the view of the square in Donegal town. We walked across the way to the building with the black outside the doors and had us some fish n chips. The first Guinness of our trip tasted like filet mignon. The bartender told us about a town called Raphoe where there was a fabulous stone circle. Guess where we're going in the morning? You bet. So it's now off to bed to start our next adventure. We are only 2 days from going home to Miltown.


At 6:42 AM, Blogger Bea said...

oh fun!! My MIL wants to do Ireland this way.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Shelley said...

Holy cow, that looks fun! Keep the pics and stories coming! I can't believe it's been more than a year since I've been, I must. GO. BACK!
:) Shelley

At 8:51 AM, Blogger The Kelly Green Rogue said...



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