Well better late than never! Finally we are posting an update from the wonderful week we spent with my (Bethany’s) parents in Ireland! It was nice to have a change of pace, as we dropped our bikes off in Dublin and hopped in a car to make a big loop of the Emerald Isle. Dave was our fearless driver, braving the narrow roads and backwards driving conditions! Fortunately, our time cycling in the UK had given us some practice with navigating from the left-hand side of the road.
Our week was full of adventure and beautiful sites. Ireland boasts some of Europe’s finest natural beauty. Our favorite day was making the loop around the Ring of Kerry, in the southwest corner of the island.
Of course, we also loved the spectacular Cliffs of Moher.
As my mom said, you find castles on every corner in Ireland! We stopped in at a few for tours, including Kilkenny Castle and Blarney Castle, where we all took our turns kissing the Blarney Stone.
One thing we loved about the traveling in Ireland was the real diversity in sights to see. In the morning we might be driving through the Wicklow Mountains, but in the afternoon we could be exploring an aged castle. We saw natural beauty: cascading waterfalls, rocky coasts, pristine lakes, lush mountains and dramatic cliffs. But we had a nice blend of things created by man: abandoned monasteries, ancient burial sites, ornate churches, and castles (old and not-so-old). We even spent some time exploring the showroom of Waterford Crystal in Waterford, which was full of hand-crafted crystal, small and large.
It was such an encouragement and blessing for Dave and I to have a whole week of time with family! We couldn’t have asked for better weather, as apparently the late summer arrived in Ireland at about the same time as us. It was a lovely “vacation” from the bikes for us, and the first European vacation my parents had taken together! As well as their first proper, week-long vacation in years! We were so grateful for the time we were able to spend together.