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Published: March 31st 2009
I need to start this set of blog entries with a dedication to my traveling companions. Tara knows that I have a travel addiction. About 4 weeks ago she sent me an email that she knew would make me twitch. She sent me an email with very cheap airfares to Ireland. I tried to talk myself out of going by giving ton’s of excuses of why I couldn’t go… and I finally decided there was no real reason that I couldn’t go. I called Tara back and told her I was in. She had to make sure she had St.Brian’s approval, before we could book. In the mean time, I posted a question on Facebook that drew some comments…one being from my friend Jessica. She asked if she could go to carry my bags, and she must of thought I was crazy when I emailed her and asked if she wanted to go. She thought about it for a few minutes and said she was all in…. So we booked our tickets and here we are… in Ireland!!
We started our day at the Syracuse Airport. We were all excited and sad to leave Syracuse and our families, but
we pulled ourselves together and made our way to our gate. We boarded the plane and then found out that they delayed us an hour. So we sat, (I fell asleep immediately)… when I woke I assumed we were in the air, but when I peaked out the window, I immediately saw the ground and was disappointed. We ended up sitting in the plane on the ground in Syracuse for the next three hours. We finally took off around 4:30 and made it to Newark by 5:30. We grabbed a quick bite to eat, and got ourselves ready for our flight. When I found my seat, I quickly figured out I was near the window and there was a couple sitting next to me. I found it hilarious that the wife immediately warned me that he husband had bony elbows and to be prepared to be elbowed several times during the flight. She was right… I was nudged several times… We landed in Shannon around 6:30 am local time. I packed up my things and took my bruised ribs and headed directly for the luggage pickup and rental car desk. At the desk, we encountered my favorite Hertz rental car
desk attendant. He could not find my rental reservation and was offering me a rate that was twice what I had reserved. With a little quick thinking, I got out the cell phone and called the Hertz reservation desk and got a reservation rate for the same amount as previously booked. The funny part is that this is the same guy that tried to swindle me the last time I was here. We quickly loaded our Toyota Avensis and got on our way to galway. We were all excited to be in Ireland. Our first stop was Coole Park. The main store/information desk was closed but we decided to take a walk around the grounds to look around. We found ourselves on a tree lined passageway that was stunning when we heard footsteps behind us. We continue to walk towards the lake on the grounds and “Jack” finally caught up to us. I casually turned around to confirm that we were headed for the lake…little did I know that this was Jack’s regular morning route. Jack became our tour guide and was so proud to give us all of the details of the estate and surrounding grounds. We found out
that Jack was from County Mayo and moved here to teach in the local school. His wife was in a nursing home close by and he lives alone. On our walk back towards the house, Jack told us to make sure we visit the Autograph tree, which is the most famous tree in Ireland. The tree contains carved signatures of lots of famous Irish Authors. Apparently the estate was a favorite holiday spot for them. As we were about to leave, Jack invited us to his house for tea. With the jet lag, I declined, but have been kicking myself ever since. Jack was a very nice man who is probably lonely and could have used the entertainment of a visit with the “girls”. We headed back to the car to find Tara just waking from a little cat nap and we got ourselves back on the road to Galway. A few short “clicks” (km) down the road, we made a quick decision to check out W.B.Yates’ tower. This was a great little find. A tower and accompanying house in good shape right on the edge of a river. We took some quick snaps and got back into the car.
Shortly, we were pulling into Galway in search of some breakfast….we were all starved and way overtired. We fancy parked(backed in) the car and found a small café where we ordered breakfast sandwiches and tea. We gobbled them down and headed back to the car. Our hotel told us we could not check in until 3pm, but we thought we might persuade them to give us a room if we fell asleep in their lobby. It worked and we ended up checking in at 12:30!! After our jet lag nap, we got ourselves showered and dressed and headed for some craic (fun) in Galway. I gave the girls a little tour and then we picked the Kings Head pub for dinner. Our dinner and beers were delicious. I had a Bulmer’s in honor of my cousin Angie (Angie--- hold on….the baby will be here soon!). After dinner we walked around town a little more and then headed to Tig Coili to catch some music. Jessica caught the eye of a certain gentleman at the bar, but between her buzz, exhaustion, and confusion over the coins the bartender had given her in change…. She ended up having to walk away in embarrassment. We enjoyed some good conversation with some folks from Wisconsin. Then we met two very friendly folks who made it their personal mission to ensure that we had a good time in Galway and see some of the things off the beaten track. Lisbet and Colin took us to another pub to hear the music on No Banjo. They are a great bluesy, jazz band that performed a lot of covers of songs. The place was packed, but before we knew it, we were all yawning. We returned to the Travelodge around 12am and we were asleep before our heads hit the pillows.
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