I feel so lucky to be writing this post right now. Stefon & I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime. For a little over a week, we toured the entire (almost!) country of Ireland with our good friends (well, family now) Julie & Gary. Julie and Gary are our Irish friends, and they were gracious enough to invite us to stay with them on our vacation. Not only did we stay with them, but they took time off work to explore Ireland with us! We are so lucky! So let me begin….
Stefon & I took a red-eye flight direct from Toronto to Dublin. We could barely get through that Friday at work, we were bursting with excitement about leaving to see our friends and a new country. After a terrible dinner (they gave us pad thai with rice?), we waited at the gate to be called. With my neck pillow already around my neck, we boarded the plane and snuggled into our uncomfortable seats to try to sleep until we arrived in Dublin.
After sleeping most of the way there (I woke up to eat my “dinner” at 1AM), we finally made it. It wasn’t until I heard all the Irish accents that I could actually believe I was going to see Julie & Gary again. Two years is a long time to be away from friends. Finally, we passed through customs, got our bags and met our favourite Irish peaky blinders – the trip was just beginning!!!
After squeezing Julie, we headed to our new Irish home. Luckily, since we slept on the flight, the jet lag wasn’t too bad… so we decided to head into town. We took the Luas downtown and walked around. We saw The Liffey, Collins Barracks, Grafton Street, the Dublin Doors and so much more! At one point it started raining so Julie & I got a hot chocolate at Butler’s and waited it out while the boys took off somewhere else.
Once the rain died down, we stumbled into Temple Bar. What a place! Pub after pub… how do you even choose which one to go into? Well, we picked the one with the loudest music and people. It was like a nightclub (it was 3pm). We grabbed our drinks, found a tiny table in the corner and listened to live music and the people screaming along. It was so much fun – probably exactly what you would think of if you think of a pub in Ireland.
Afterwards we went and spent some time with Julie’s mom & dad (and Frankie), and relaxed before our mountain excursion the next day (please note: I did not realize this at this point in time).
We climbed Glendalough mountain. This is no joke. Wearing ripped jeans and a long sherpa lined denim jacket – we climbed Glendalough mountain. The entire hike took over 4 hours, and even though I was TERRIFIED at the top… it was worth every second of being scared.
Glendalough is known for its scenery of “the valley of the two lakes”, which boasts incredible views between the meeting place of the two mountains. It is also known for its early medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin (we didn’t find Kevin’s Bed or Kevin’s cave until the end of the route).
After a gruelling (seriously, I was in a lot of pain…. it should also be noted I am in incredibly terrible shape) steep hike up the wooden steps, we got to the first high point. The views were one of a kind. You were right across from the other mountain, and the lake lay quietly beneath you. It was breathtaking. It started to rain so we pulled out our sandwiches, covered under a tree and had lunch. The sound of the rain and the incredible views made for a very peaceful moment. It was hard to think of anything else at that point, it was beautiful. And then the group of school kids came running up behind us and ruined it… lol.
At this point Stefon & I thought we had reached the top and we were on our way down. Nope. That was a lie! Sorry Julie, I know you didn’t know we were afraid of heights :P. So, we climbed even higher. On skinny planks. With no barrier. There were even signs stating “Continue At Your Own Risk: Planks Are Not Up To Standard”. Julie kept yelling “DON’T READ THE SIGNS! DON’T READ THE SIGNS!”. Oh I read the signs. It may as well have said “You are going to fall off this mountain at some point. Goodbye”.
Guess what? It worked out. I’m a drama queen (no really, it was amazing and totally worth all the drama). I held Julie’s hand as we descended down into the rolling hills. It was a scene out of Sound of Music. Once we were through the rollings hills, we passed by the waterfall and the old mining roads…. we were done. We survived! And then we saw Kevin’s Bed. I think my iPhone counted that I walked up 109 flights of stairs that day. What a day. And Jules – I know we gave you a hard time but the trip legit would not have been the same without that amazing journey.
That night we were exhausted (I wonder why), so we drank wine, relaxed and talked about our upcoming road trip to the West!
STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO 🙂