A Weekend in Ireland

Two years ago, when I first started my job as a Flight Attendant, the very first trip I was assigned to work was Dublin. 
When Scheduling called me, I was asleep. When I heard the word "Dublin" I asked "Like....Dublin, Ohio?" confused, because as far as I knew Dublin, Ohio doesn't have an airport and I also couldn't fathom getting sent to IRELAND for my first work trip. 

I had a great crew and had a lovely time. It was a phenomenal first trip, especially as I'd never  been to Ireland before. 

This weekend I returned to the country with my lovely partner in tow, and we had a wonderful time!

We left Philly on Thursday night, landed at Shannon airport on Friday morning, rented a car and drove straight to the Cliffs of Moher. 

After spending a few hours at the Cliffs, we continued on to Galway, where we stayed with a very generous friend of Martin's who also happens to be an Archaeologist there.
(SO COOL, right?!?!?)
Friday night and Saturday we were shown around Galway by an expert tour guide/ archaeologist, and on Sunday we got up bright and early to head back to Shannon for our flight home. 

It was definitely a whirlwind adventure, and I wouldn't recommend it for less experienced travelers, but Martin and I are old pros so it suited us just fine. 

A few observations and a list of things I learned on this visit:

1. Flying in and out of Shannon was SUPER simple. DO IT.
Shannon is a much smaller airport in a much smaller city than Dublin. If you're adventuring on your own rather than with a tour group, that can make your life a LOT easier. Customs lines are shorter when you arrive and when you leave.

2. Renting a car was straightforward, and driving on the "wrong" side of the road was fairly easy.
Let me be clear, Martin did all of the driving because the car had a manual transmission and I can't drive stick shift, no matter which side of the road we're supposed to be on. 
 The hardest part was how NARROW the roads were. 
It was worth it to be able to set our own schedule and not have to rely on busses to get everywhere we needed to go. It was also less expensive than buying bus tickets for two adults everywhere.

3. Americans were EVERYWHERE.
There are SO many cultural connections between the United States and Ireland that this shouldn't be surprising, but WOW. So. Many. Americans.

4. Everyone was SO NICE.
Seriously, from the car rental people to the bar tenders to the random strangers we befriended at pubs, everyone was so friendly and pleasant through the trip. 

5. Ireland is super obsessed with JFK.
There were tributes to President Kennedy everywhere we went. In the airport, in the Claddagh Museum, on street corners, in Galway Cathedral. EVERYWHERE. 
Now, I have a working knowledge of the relevant history here, but I was still surprised by the degree to which Ireland showed the love for "their" US President. As a New Englander and as a Democrat, it kind of felt like running into an old friend every time we'd stumble across a tribute to him.

6. Everyone has a cousin or five on the East Coast, and everyone loves Boston.
Usually when I travel, no one has any idea where Vermont is. In Ireland, most locals we met had a working knowledge of the geography of the East Coast AND they'd visited Boston. 
Everybody we met there just loves Bean Town. 

7. The food was AMAZING. 
Everything I ate was delicious. I had amazing fish chowder and then the best gin flavored ice cream. The end.

Contemplating the delicious Fish Chowder I had just eaten.

8. Ireland is the most castleated country in the world.
Ireland has more castles than anywhere else. Our resident archaeologist pal taught us that this is because land inheritance worked slightly differently in Ireland than in other countries with castles. *coughUKcough*

Ruined castles are so gorgeous.

9. Everything was SO FREAKING SCENIC.
It was beautiful. It was adorable. It was charming. It was majestic. 
We couldn't get over how lovely everything was.

10. Ireland is FUN. 
Altogether, we just had so much FUN in Ireland. Everything combined to make our trip a blast, and we just had the BEST weekend. 
Special shoutout to tour guide extraordinaire Jay Hall for his expertise and hosting! All of his roommates and friends made us feel so welcome. Thanks Jay!

When he's not participating in archaeological digs, Jay has been working in an antique book warehouse. We got to visit that too and I almost lost my mind. 



Sometimes your boyfriend GIFs you walking home from the pub in the rain. 

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