Thanksgiving this year was unlike any other Turkey Day for me. I woke up in Dublin, had a proper Irish breakfast, then set off on a mini Ireland road trip with the fam. Or tried to at least, before discovering our car was completely dead. A few hours later, we were on our way, in a new but still obnoxiously-large-for-Ireland car. We drove through the Irish countryside on windy, two-way-that-should-be-one-way roads to the Wicklow Mountains.
After a quick hike and taking in the beautiful scenery, we were back in the car and off to Waterford. Thanksgiving dinner was beef and Guinness stew – no turkey and stuffing, but delicious just the same. That night we stayed on the grounds of Waterford Castle, which has now been transformed into a golf club and resort. We were bummed we only has one night there because the accommodations were bigger and nicer than the house we grew up in. Gorgeous 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom condo – definitely not where the servants used to stay. My favorite part of the castle was the “ferry”. It’s the only point of access to the grounds and runs 24/7 back and forth between the ridiculously short distance that separates the mainland from the island. It doesn’t seem like the most efficient or cost effective way to operate, but it sure adds character to the whole experience. My mom and I toured the famous Waterford Crystal factory in the morning while my dad and brother golfed. This was another highlight for me. The process and detail and craftsmanship and labor that goes into every single piece is absolutely amazing. Definitely helps justify the cost!
We had a long afternoon drive from Waterford on the Southeast coast of the country to Galway on the west coast. It’s amazing how you can drive from one side of the country to the other in an afternoon. Ireland reminded me a lot of my time in New Zealand, which I really wasn’t expecting. The beautiful land, the friendly people, the pride they have in their country, the vast countryside, the small but lively capital cities, and even the sweet chili sauce. 🙂
We didn’t have much time to spend in Galway either. I snuck in a quick run along the coast (and the sun actually came out – a rarity in Ireland!) before we packed up and head off to the Cliffs of Moher, the “8th Natural Wonder of the World”. I won’t even try to put into words the magnitude and beauty of the Cliffs. Pictures don’t even do it justice, but it was the perfect place to end our Ireland adventure! I will say I’m glad I waited until we got home to google the statistic that 10-15 people per year fall off the cliffs. It’s hard to say what my favorite part of visiting Ireland was, but if you visit I’d say the Cliffs are an absolute must!