Friday, April 30, 2010

Visit from Mimi and Big Dan

Brendan's parents have been visiting us since last Friday. We've been having a great time sightseeing and enjoying the warm spring weather. Here are a few pictures of our outings to Blenheim Palace, Stonehenge and the Avebury Stone Circles. We've also visited some of the charming villages in the Cotswolds and gone to Tinturn Abbey in Wales. Mary and Dan took the train up to Edinburgh, Scotland on Tuesday and came back on Thursday. Tomorrow we're going to spend the weekend in London - hopefully we can keep the rain away!!
Blenheim Palace:
Emmy with Mary and Dan in front of Blenheim Palace:
Having a snack in the gardens at Blenheim Palace:
Mary with Emmy and Aoife at Blenheim Palace:
Emmy at Blenheim Palace:
Eating ice cream at Stonehenge:
Avebury Stone Circles:
Emmy climbing down into the ditch around the stone circles:

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Cliffs of Moher

We stayed in Doolin for 2 nights at the Cullinan Restaurant and Guest House. It was wonderful and I recommend it if you are ever in the area. Brendan and I had a fabulous dinner there - one of the best meals of my life!! I had monkfish - it was delicious! We visited the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren National Park while we were there. Both were beautiful! The weather was cloudy and VERY windy!! It was hard to walk against the wind at the cliffs!

The shore in Doolin:
A private castle in Doolin:
The Cliffs of Moher - gorgeous!
O'Brien's tower at the Cliffs of Moher

Me and the kids at the Cliffs - it was soooooo windy!
Brendan with Aidan and Emmy on top of O'Brien's tower:
All of us at the Cliffs of Moher:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Rock of Cashel

On Saturday we drove across to the middle of Ireland and saw the Rock of Cashel which is actually a castle on top of a big outcropping of rock. Cashel is said to be where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster in the 5th century. There are several big buildings including a Cathedral, chapel and a round tower that was built around 11oo AD.
It was cool and windy when we arrived but the weather improved and the sun even came out! After we walked around the Rock we walked around the town and then went to the B&B where we stayed that night. The next morning was Easter Sunday so we got all dressed up and went to Mass in Cashel. Half of the Mass was in English and half was in Gaelic - that was pretty neat! The church was beautiful but freezing cold and the wooden floor even had small holes in it! Crazy!
The Rock of Cashel:
St. Patrick's Cross - a replica. The original is inside in the museum.
Going into the Cathedral
A view of the round tower from inside
Emmy playing peek-a-boo:
The round tower - looking pretty good for being built in 1100.
Cemetery around the Cathedral:
A view of Abbey ruins from the Rock:
Us on the way to Easter Mass - this is what happens when you tell Emmy to say "cheese"!
Church in Cashel:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Ferry

We took the ferry from England to Ireland on Good Friday. We hadn't anticipated the amount of traffic and the trip took 4 1/2 hours instead of the 3 that both Google maps and our GPS had promised. We arrived 3 minutes before the boat was scheduled to depart from the port and we were the LAST car onto the boat. Thank goodness that we made it - we would have had to take the next ferry which wasn't for another 6 or 7 hours and would have put us arriving in Ireland after midnight!
The passage wasn't bad - 3 1/2 hours from port to port. There was a magician that did 2 shows for the kids. That was great and really kept them entertained! It was a pretty bumpy trip - it was hard to walk at some points because you'd just get tossed around. Going up and down stairs was a little tricky! Later that night Aidan was convinced he was still on the boat because he felt like he was moving with the waves in his bed!
Contemplating a swim:
Not ANOTHER picture!

Easter Egg Hunt

Before we left for Ireland our street had a quick Easter Egg hunt for the kids. They do things a little differently than I am used to. I always have filled the plastic eggs with jelly beans or mini chocolate eggs and then hidden the plastic eggs. They just bypass the plastic eggs and hide the chocolate eggs around. It makes things a little harder for the kids so it takes a little longer - good usually - not so good on this day - it was freezing! The kids didn't care that it was cold and windy. They were very excited to use their Easter baskets (which also appears to be an American tradition) and get CANDY!! Here are the kids hunting through the playground for the eggs:
Aidan and Emmy with my neighbor's daughter, Gurleen:
All the adults, huddled around the tea:
Emmy on a mission:
All the candy at the end - we decided to have the kids work as a team to collect it and then distribute it relatively fairly - mostly so we could grab some!!
Aidan with his girlfriends, Florence and Carly: