Robert Frost

The best way out is always through.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Irish Finale (Aug. 17, 2009) Finally!

Well I started this telling of our August 2009, 7 day London/Dublin trip a respectable couple of weeks after it happened and now 9 months later I am tying up its loose ends.  Thank you, if you have been reading along (at all) and excuse me for this indulgence of re-living a delightful, maybe all too jam packed family journey.  Here goes....

"Up and at'em people" this was our last day.  And what was the breakfast of champions that got us ready to face the city-filled day?  Voila....

The wonderfully provided FULL IRISH BREAKFAST by the B&B. 

Our B&B was very basic, but close to one of Dublin's main thoroughfares, O'Connell St., and that along with it's helpful staff and generous (heart stopping) breakfasts included, made it a plus for our stay.  I liked eavesdropping and hearing the mostly non-Irish accents of the customers surrounding us (Italian, German, Czech, and yes, also American) in the mornings, typically reviewing the plans of the day and looking much like us...tourists.  Lou (mother-in-law, MIL)generally chatted along with one of the other lodgers each morning, and after breakfast would have a tale to tell of who she'd just met and I would marvel at her powers of conversation and how easily people would divulge so much in just meeting her. 

On our last day I just wanted us to take things as they came.  Did I have an agenda?....well, of course!....but I hoped that we would tromp along and happen upon a place, some music wafting from within a family friendly pub, or find a charming spot to linger.  But by golly, I know I am being repetitious, a family of six, ages 2-62, that is a bit travel weary, does not a spontaneous happy group make.  I laid out some suggestions for our day and not counting Sophia (2yo), 4 blank faces stared back at me, saying "whatever".  AHHHHH! The dreaded "whatever" of vacation travel is on equal terms with "Are we there yet?" and "How long is this going to be?". 

First order of the day: SHOPPING.  Lou and the girls perked up and we hit a popular touristy souvenir shop that seems to be on almost every other corner of Dublin: Carrolls. We happily, and easily found Irish trinkets with the right amount of local flavor and fun for family back home and once done we were ready to walk across the River Liffey on Ha'Penny bridge to check out some more shopping on Grafton street.

I thoroughly enjoyed walking through Temple Bar again, along old cobblestone roads and pedestrian walkways to Grafton street (again, no buses for us). 
Once we arrived I realized that our group was hungry AGAIN.  The shops and eateries around us were a bit out of our budget.  As I pondered where to direct us next, I heard the beautiful strains of the violin being played nearby and lead my family to its source.  A young violinist, and a few other musicians were playing and drawing a small crowd.  I paused to enjoy how the dreamy music fit my delight in being in Dublin and having this lovely day. 
Then a tap on my shoulder....
SARA: "What are we doing now?" 
ME: "Well, we are looking at this cool shopping area and listening to this neat music..dontcha think?" 
SARA:" I guess, but where are we going to eat?"
ME: "Well, we will find a place. Don't you want to look around here some?" 
SARA: " Can we go eat first?" 
So guess what we did?

We had an even lovelier walk BACK to the Temple Bar area to Gallagher's Boxty House (recommended by both our B&B manager and Rick Steves)...(oh, how I wanted to stop every few moments and peek into the interesting and whimsical local shops....but people were hungry!). 
After this longish walk, I was even hungry and the restaurant was very inviting with its timbered pub-like interior and long tables and benches. 
We ordered the obligatory Boxty, a savory potato pancake that is folded, taco-like around the filling of your choice (mostly meaty) with a gravy/sauce accompaniment,
ummm...this was so much tastier than it looks, I promise
and David and I each enjoyed an Irish pint of Murphys

Uh, and Lou enjoyed two (hehe just kidding LouLou).

Anna caught in the act of savoring her Irish soda bread....yums.
I know, we are awful parents.

The lunch was a triumph of Irish cuisine again, and the family was ready to join in a historical walking tour that covered Dublin's world renowned Trinity College down to Dublin Castle.
Trinity College
Once the group was assembled outside the main college entrance with our professor-ly Irish tour guide, we set off.....ah, and the rest is a blur.

Sophia and I walking into Dublin Castle
I remember a pretty day, the guide's wonderful Irish accent telling of times of struggle/oppression for the hardy Irish, mass immigration to the hope of America, and rebuilding. 

I love history people, but watching a 2 year old, and plain ol' tiredness set in and the man might as well been Charlie Brown's teacher..wha,wha, wha, wa, wha, wha.  And the girls were so good, but I am sure if I would mention "historical walking tour" to them now, they would start glazing over. 

So this was the state of us after the 2 hour tour as we hoofed it back to the bed and breakfast.  And then another dreaded decision....where to eat?...da, dum!   I remained silent.  I had trooped this group up, down and all around and I guess I just acted out by keeping shut.  The response....10 sad minutes of a suggestion and general moodiness and silence.  I did not want to pull out the guide book again, and I knew Lou and her still sore ankle would not want to deal with walking 20 minutes out of our way to a new eating spot and then possibly having to get on another dreaded bus (she dreaded them, not us). 

So guess where the family of 6, long in the tooth, decision weary American tourists decide to eat?.....Mickey D's naturally.  But oddly, our family, who probably eats at Mc Donald's back in the states about once a year was comforted by the familiar as we sat on the second level section of Mc Donald's overlooking O'Connell St.   

Then Lou, who I would have bet was mentally noting to herself "I will never travel with David and Jenny, AGAIN", offered a somewhat upbeat perspective, "You know, when we got to London, all I could think was it was so crowded, loud and busy....but after being here in Dublin, I realize that the Tube was actually really helpful, and London was surprisingly clean.  And in Ireland I am not as impressed with Dublin as I would hope to be, with the dirty streets and smell of people smoking everywhere, but the Irish countryside is gorgeous, the people are so friendly that I would come back." 

I was thankful that she shared something positive that caused us all to reflect a bit and give thanks.  We had safely, healthfully (mostly), sanely (yeah, I will stand by that), and with all our original luggage (minus some toilettries) traveled as a family of 6 from Dallas, London, Ireland and were happily ready to head back home.
Chillin' at the B&B

We tucked in early-ish, packed and got ready for our early and lengthy 2 connecting flights back home.  Honestly, we came home grouchy and ready for separate activities of home, work and school (remember this was last Aug. 2009)....but just the other day two things occurred...

1. Anna was staring out the window of the truck on the way home (at our pitifully dry, yellowed Texas landscape) and piped up that "I would love to go back to Ireland and just tour all the countryside again."  ME, "Sounds great, I hope we all get to do that again"

2. Lou, talking about hopes to travel again said, "You know, if I was able to travel overseas again, I think y'all's style of traveling is most like mine.  We should all do it again."  All I have to say to that is thank you Lou, and Wow. 

Peace out


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning, Jenny! WHAT A GREAT TRIP! Oh how I would love to see Ireland....what a place Great Britain must be. I have only been to France and Italy, studying in Nice and devouring the rest of my adopted culture's beautiful terrain! Thank you for coming by "Rabbit Hill"; it is our lovely little cottage, and French country cottage that will soon have two new rooms for entertaining! Thank you for stopping by and do come back soon!!! God bless you, Anita

Jennifer K said...

I've never had boxty, but want to now. My friend and I also really wanted to try "champ," the dish of mashed potatoes and spring onions, but it was never on the menu of anywhere we ate. We had breakfast (the full Irish breakfast!) and dinner included on our tour, so we only had lunches free to ourselves.

I'm obsessed with Ireland now and can't wait to go back. I think about it a lot. I'm a little surprised at Lou's comment that Dublin is dirty. I remember a group of us on the tour talking about how clean Ireland is, including Dublin. I really didn't see much dirt, but maybe we saw different areas of the city than you did.

I hope hubby's foot is getting better?

It's me said...

What a great post of a great trip...............love to read thia all......happy summertime......love Ria...

A Tale of Two Cities said...

Your trip amazes me--keeping 6 people happy at the end of a very busy journey. It's great that everyone now reflects back on how special each place was, and that they would love to return.

So are you traveling in the summer of 2010?

And by the way, we've been known to eat at Mickey D's while traveling too. Spell it E-A-S-Y


Jenny said...

Hello Anita, thank you for stopping by. I have never been to Nice or Italy and those are places listed on my jam packed list of must sees. Two new rooms! how fun and exciting....keep us posted.

Jennifer, thank you for asking...David is still recovering. The toe is still looking pretty yucky and he cannot bear weight on his foot. He has been mostly working (by computer) from home and we are spoiling him. If you happen to journey to Ireland again, boxty is a tasty must and please blog about it.

Ria happy summertime to you too. I am glad you enjoy the brief Irish tour. thank you for your visiting and commenting.

Debi, glad to hear it about the Mickey D's, easy is right. No, we are not doing anything this summer. We now realize our summers will be dictated to us by how busy our high schooler is and she is gonna be pretty busy. Actually, our reality is that we will not be able to do a big overseas trip for about 4 years or so. Sacrifices. But I know I will be able to keep up with my favorite places through you, and some of my other favorite blogs.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

hello Jenny thank you for calling in at my blog again and leaving your wonderful comment.

I think it is funny that people always comment about the Full English/Irish breakfast , when we or should I say I , try to afford it..

Looks like you had a fabulous time in Dublin, I have never been much to my mums disgust! Yes that is where she was born, and always trying to get me over there, whilst I am pulled the other way over the sea.

I am very surprised to read you have written how dirty it is.. I think London is horrendous, and not that helpful, but maybe that is because of your accents, and mine is a British one. But I am so happy that you enjoyed it :-)

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Hi Jenny!
Running in and out for a quick hello. It was so nice to see you on my blog again! :) I'm so glad to see that all is well and you're out and about again. I will look forward to catching up on your trip post, hopefully tomorrow - hubby is going to his mom's to do some handyman stuff for her and I'll be footloose and fancy free.
Oh! We just went and saw a matinee (The Kids Are Alright - liked it!) and there was a trailer for the movie of "Never Let Me Go" - I had no idea they made it into a movie. I can remember talking with you about the book - I did end up finishing it but I didn't really like it. Totally skeeved me out. The irony of it is the trailer made me want to see the movie. Ay yi yi.
Talk to you later. Happy week to you!

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Hi Jenny!
I'm back. :)
You're so cute, love that, the Irish Finale. I think you are a brave soul to travel overseas with three kids in tow, you deserve a gold star at bare minimum. I can remember my sister-in-law telling me how she and my nieces had gone some place beautiful, out in the country and the girls were like, "It's boring. There's nothing to do." They had no interest in any of the historic sites. ACK! What's a mom to do!
& I was nodding about the food thing. Isn't it funny how travel can be reduced to "where are we going to eat", requiring as much planning as the sight seeing. We're vegetarian, so it gets especially sticky finding a place.
All in all, how wonderful though to have been huh?! And memories will become sweet for the girls down the road, as you've begun to see glimmers of that now. They will marvel that they got to go to Ireland when they were young and enjoy having stories to tell their friends. Did they keep travel diaries or scrapbooks?
I'll be looking forward to your next adventures! Hoping everyone is well and that you're enjoying a lovely weekend.

Jenny said...

Sally dear! I am so glad you stopped by. The girls start out keeping journals, but the days on our trips are usually so jam packed that by nighttime we have just enough time for showers, snacks (a Neumann must) and beddy bye. I have always intended to journal ( and i love to do it) but I have never taken the time. but yes, the food is a time waster if it is not planned. VEry hard when ther are more than two involved to spontaneously find a spot. Thank you for the visit and stopping by. Happy vacay to you and your hubby.

Le Chateau des fleurs said...

This is really great!
Love your travelling! What a great journal of your trips!
I can't wait to be over the Naturalization test on Monday! Thank you for your sweet visit and comment!

Jen said...

i need to add you to my blog roll so i don't get so far behind! i've enjoyed catching up with your last few posts and i could just imagine you sitting there next to me holding your clarinet telling those stories. thanks for your sweet comment on my blog today. my husband is home now and we are hoping to enjoy as much family time as we can before we face another deployment or more time intensive job responsibilities. we're hoping to be in the fort hood area at the beginning of the year. maybe we can get together and have coffee or something once we actually make it back to central texas!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Jenny

Thank you for the lovely comment on the post about my friends and their lovely gifts ♥

I just re-read my comment on here, ooops should of proof read it.. the bit where I say about full english breakfast .. should not say afford, should say avoid .. !!

Take care and have a good week ♥


Related Posts with Thumbnails