15 October 2011

Postcard from Ireland

Here's a postcard from Ireland. {A post that promises to be relatively word-efficient due to my extreme tiredness and the need for a shower and a nice warm bed}.
We survived  Ryanair. That is a post in itself. Don't get me started.

Warning: If at all possible avoid travelling on this crazy picky tricky airline!

So skipping past that, we picked up our hirecar, dodging raindrops, turned on "Marsha" (our hired Sat-Nav) and made our way south to County Cork.
Marsha seemed to be not programmed with the new highways so she kind of freaked out and tried to send us down a country lane or two, but Mr G was too clever to get lost, he knows how to read maps.
We stuck to the M8-M7 and found ourselves driving out from under the rainclouds into the afternoon sunshine in the idyllic village of Kinsale.

So glad we picked this picture perfect place on Ireland's South-East coast.

A big kiss on the cheek for the friends who recommended Kinsale.
The perfect place to escape from your kids reality for three days.

Our hotel was perfection too.
I mean, just look at it. That pink building.
Old and gorgeous.

The kind of place where classical music tinkles gently in the formal lounge, where the fire crackles, and they bake their own organic bread to an old family recipe.

The kind of place you could just stay all day, relaxing, looking out at the water, drinking tea and reading a good book. Bliss for one such as I.

Of course Mr G is more of an action man. So while I relaxed in paradise, he went looking for adventure in the form of Golf.
Old Head of Kinsale Golf Course:- Source

And found it in the form of Old Head. Voted the world's most stunning golf course.
Membership at this gold club costs £60,000 per year.
Tiger Woods practises here.
A casual round will set you back £200 ($NZ400).

My tinny husband rolls up and nabs a spot in a corporate group for £60 - because it just happens they were short a player or two. He had a fabulous day in an amazing location.
Which of course he wanted to share with me.

He lamented to the ladies he was golfing with, "I wish I could get my wife here, she would love it..."
"Oh well my husband is a cab driver... I can call him to go and collect her and bring her out," one of the ladies offers.

So there I am, reading by the fire in the lovely manor house hotel, and the owner taps me on the shoulder.
"Mrs G," he says, "I've just had the most curious phone call..."
An Irish cabbie turns up and whisks me off to the most stunning location.

This is the spot where the German U-boat infamously sunk the passenger liner Lusitania in 1915 and all kinds of other interesting and amazing things have happened here. They even have their own standing stones.

"Were you not worried jumping in the car with a stranger?" I was asked later.
Nah, of course not. Its just like my husband to do something nuttily spontaneous like that.

We have dinner out at the golf club, watch the sun set and the light come on the lighthouse.
Magical. Amazing. Breathtaking.

Back in the village we go hunting for cosy pubs and Irish music. The kind where the floors slope one way, and the walls another, they are so ancient and Irish pubby. Places full of atmosphere and Irish people.

We listen appreciatively to a band called The FerryMen in the Armada Bar and buy their homemade CD.
We move on.
A pint of Murphy's in Ned Kelly's which we down as quickly as possible in order to escape the loud Americans in the corner arguing about an argument they once had. There are lots of Americans in Kinsale.

We move on. And come to a halt outside a tiny bar packed with people where the voice of an Irish angel floats out to meet us, and draws us in.
When she finishes we clap and cheer as the instruments break into a jig. And so the night goes.
We seem to have found a place where the locals come and hang out on a Tuesday night, playing and singing the old Irish songs.
In the corner sit a bunch of old men with banjos, bodrums, drums and whatever. They all take turns downing pints, playing and singing. Its not really a performance. More like a singalong. Anyone can stand up and break into a ballad.
The music is Irish to the core and covers the extremes. Some songs make you want to start RiverDancing and some make your heart ache.
We stayed and stayed, loving every minute.

Ireland is full of history.
My own history has its roots firmly in Irish soil.
Coming to Ireland is not just to tick something off my bucket list.
I feel more like a pilgrim than a tourist.
I fell in love with Kinsale and felt the pull of my Irish ancestors.

But when we head north to Dublin I run out of steam.
The noise and bustle of the city overwhelm me and I am overcome with homesickness.
Finally I am ready to come home.
There are no photos of Dublin.

{Adventurous Mr G could write his own post about his adventures in Dublin; he is fearless, that man. And just slightly crazy}

Close Hose, Wyllum, England {Where The Girls took me today for High Tea}

With two sleeps to go, I am ready for home.
We all are.
Travel is great fun, but it is exhausting living out of a suitcase, especially with three rowdy kids.

Genteel company in a genteel place; Lovely.

And when I say rowdy, I mean "small savages from the wilds of the colonies".
Kids who can't sit on the same couch together without wrestling.
Kids who can't watch a movie without arguing.
Who bounce off the walls of grandma's small flat, spilling drinks, dropping crumbs, pulling down curtain rails.
I am so ready to be back in the larger spaces of our kid-proof home, where if they break stuff its only me that will be upset.
Where they can run outside, bounce on the trampoline (instead of off each other) and ride their bikes to the park when they need to let off steam.
Plus, they are really missing their friends. Really. Really really.

Posh high tea in luxury. Suits me right down to the ground.

It has been wonderful spending time with family and friends. Priceless, even.
Exciting seeing parts of the world we've always wanted to see.
Travel is fun. Its educational. Its an adventure.
But man its tiring having all this fun!

Mmmmmmm, yummy. Scones with clotted cream and jam. My favourite.

Tomorrow we finish with one last shopping spree, a mad-dash pack-a-thon and a family party at Aunty Irene's to say goodbye. Sniff. Then on Sunday morning we will squeeze in watching the All Blacks beat Australia in the Rugby World Cup semi-final (please may I be prophetic) before we race to the airport and head home.

Great company for a lovely afternoon in beautiful surroundings eating delicious treats.
L-R: Winnie (Mother-in-law), Aunty Margaret, Aunty Irene, Uncle Allan,
Cousins Erin, Catherine, Ashley and Aunty Jackie.

Its been great. But we're ready now to go Home.
So this is me signing off from England. I won't get a chance to post again before we fly... so I'll see you all again, back on the Other Side of the World.

The Rest of Our Trip:

PS: If you haven't linked up to my "What You Love About Where You Live" linky, you still can... I hope to come home and read all your posts from the comfort of my own computer...

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Tall Pipi said...

Beautiful pics. You have made me add Ireland to my bucket list!

Meghan Maloney Photography said...

Wow...wonderful post, Ireland is just as magical as I remember...we went to Cork and Dublin. That golf course is something else...plus your cool as story that went along with it.

Yeah, Ryanair...hmmm...I could tell you a story about being stuck in an old army aerodrome just outside of Venice in Italy for a whole day trying to get home to England after we got engaged, so I feel ya!

Safe travels home again, have so enjoyed all your adventures :-)

Jen said...

love the colour of those buildings :)

PaisleyJade said...

Amazing pics - and that fireplace is fabulous!!! Have a wonderful trip home and totally hope you are prophetic about the All Blacks!!!

Sophie said...

oh oh oh, I'm trying so hard not to be jealous! It looks so lovely and the thought having a three day break with hubby!!!

BTW, you might get a kick out of this youtube clip not about RyanAir OF COURSE but about BRYANAIR!

Jules said...

Love the Irish stories, how awesome to go to a fair dinkum local pub and listen to the locals sing!

That high tea looks delish, love clotted cream!

Have a safe journey home!

BTW..I am slowly learning how to use Photoscape thanks to your awesome tutorial :o)

Unknown said...

I love love love the pics of Ireland! I want to go and even though I am American I can appreciate it for all it's worth! My heritage comes from there as well.

remaliah said...

Love your photos of Ireland! Looks so cosy, and soo beautiful! Happy shopping today & safe travels home!

Penny said...

Ireland looks INCREDIBLE! Glad you've had such a good time...see you soon!!

Cat said...

a place that calls my name

my heart aches to go there
beautiful images Simoney
lovely indeed♥

love and light

Trees said...

Loved reading your postcards and the Ireland one was especially beautiful. I love travelling too but there's no place like home. East, west, home's best x

Laura said...

THANK YOU! I am sitting here at my kitchen table in CT feeling like I just went on vacation with you!!!

Prayers for a safe trip back home :-)

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