Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What a Whirlwind!!

Back in February we had the awesome opportunity to go to Ireland with my neice and her husband. It was the most beautiful place I have ever seen!! Every time I would think "Wow nothing could top this sight" we would turn the corner and I was proved totally wrong. We were only there six days because it takes two to travel so we were running the ENTIRE time! I seriously needed a vacation when we got home. :) But we saw sooooo many things I wouldn't change one bit of it. We had such a good time I would highly recomend it to anyone interested, although you should plan what you want to see first because you could literally spend two months there and not see it all. There are 25 pictures here, yes 25! And I had a really hard time cutting them down to this, (we took about 1000 pictures) I had to leave soooo much out but here are just a few highlights of the incredible island Ireland. My favorite is at the bottom so I know its alot but you should make it through. :)
We rented a car and drove almost all the way around the island, and this was the view everywhere we went! I love it! It was winter there so it was FREEZING but everything is still so GREEN. Ireland is just farmland with little towns spread throughout. We loved driving along the tiny country roads even if it was on the wrong side. :)

This is St. Patricks Cathedral. It was the most beautiful building I have ever seen. The stonework and architechture are amazing. Especially for how old it is.

This is inside the cathedral. I am certainly not catholic but I dont think anyone could stand inside this building and not be touched. I wanted to just stay in here all day. I loved the feeling of it.

Alright like I said before everything always got topped... :) This really was the most breathtaking thing I have ever seen! This is Kylemore Abbey. It is the only working abbey in Ireland and the Nuns and Friers get to live and worship here every day. Can you imagine???? The inside architecture is just as amazing.

This is a further back view so you can see the lake that it is set on. We had to drive up the mountains a little to get here so there was a slight little Utah feel to it. If Utah wasn't a desert! :)

This is the Blarney Castle. We got there first thing in the morning so the fog hadn't quite burned off yet. I love how it looks in this picture, I had never seen fog like this anywhere. By the time we left though there were blue skies and sunshine.

And yes we did kiss the blarney stone, so I now have the gift of the gab and you can't believe a word I say! :) If you look at the top of this tower in the middle, right above the window there is a hole. This is where the blarney stone is located. According to legend you have to kiss it while hanging upside down over that ledge or else you will not be bestowed with the "gift of the gab" so that is just what we did! It was very terrifying, I almost talked myself out of it but I am very glad I didn't.

This is just a random Abbey. They have these ruins all over the place and they are sooo cool! Most of them have the people who built them or preists who ran them buried there now. But everywhere you go they are just alongside the road.

This is Bunratty Castle. We had an authentic Irish dinner and show put on inside of here one night. They served us so much food and it was soooo yummy! It was fun to act like royalty for one night. :)

This is inside the castle waiting to sit down. The shows they put on were neat They had like five girls all singing Irish songs with harmony is was really good.

This is just one of the streets somewhere. In all the little towns this is what they look like. Very European. I loved it. :)

This was the Hotel we stayed in. The Ritz Carlton Powerscourt. It was incredible as well.

Just in case the roads aren't tiny enough or having big buses knock off your side view mirrors while they pass you dont discourage you this is how their signs are! They dont use street names at all so you just head towards a town and hope you find it. It makes getting directions extremely difficult. We got lost about 30 times. :) But at least we made it home.

Just when you thought you had no more space on the roads they cram it full of sheep! :) There are sheep everywhere in Ireland.

Eating in a pub. This is how we ate most our meals because that is all they have there. And they only serve food during certain times of the day so sometimes it was very hard to get fed. :)

This is inside one of the Abbey ruins we stopped at. It's Corcomroe Abbey in the "fertile valley" so of course we had to be kissing in it. ;)

For those of you who watch a lot of television this is in a Gordon Ramsay restaraunt. He is the guy who does "Hells kitchen" The food was delectible but the price was really high. He only has five of these in the world so we had to do at least one meal here.

They do not have bathrooms at any public stops like stores or gas stations so they have these on the side of the road. We never dared use one so we had to just hold it ALOT!!! :)

This is a little church that I loved. Along with Abbey's, the sides of the road are loaded with churches! We stopped at alot of them because they were just so beautiful and they usually had a few people worshiping or praying inside.

I thought I had this turned right but oh well.... :( This is called Bru na Boinne. There are a whole bunch of old tombs that they have found and dug up and are older than the pyramids!! I need to look at my stuff but I believe this one dated back to 1420 B.C. It was pretty cool to go inside something that old.

This was the first castle we saw and my favorite. It is not as upkept as some of the others but more authentic. It is called Dunluce Castle. The way it is positioned on the cliffs edge is sooo awesome. Back when people lived there the queen of it hated being that close to the ocean and was afraid of falling into it. One night while they were asleep the whole kitchen area fell into the ocean as the cliff beneath it collapsed away taking several servants with it. After that they built her a new house further on land and she never set foot in there again although the king had a new kitchen built and still lived there. I cant blame her it was a HUGE fall!!! :)

This is in Northern Ireland and we just crossed one of the only rope bridges still around. It was pretty scary actually but worth it for the awesome view we had after.

This view was amazing. It literally took my breath away! I wish pictures could do it justice. The land in the distance is Scotland. I was glad it was clear so we could see it.

This was probably my favorite thing we did although I really couldn't pick. This is the Giants Causway. There is a really cool legend about a giant that built it over to Scotland but its kind of long so I am not going to tell it since this is about as long as it can be already! :) In reality nobody knows how this came to be but scientists say it was made from volcanic rock. It is a huge area that looks like the remains of maybe a bridge or something made out of perfect hexagonal rocks. It is soooo incredible of course its hard to tell in a picture but this one also took my breath away! :)
Here is a closer view of the rocks. Its mostly ocean but you can see how perfectly smooth and shaped the rocks are at the bottom.