Two days ago we got back from my third trip to Ireland. We spent the week with my parents and my brother and his family. It’s hard to sum up so much feeling in one post, since there was so much that was satisfying about this trip. I love Ireland and continuously ponder my roots there. I’d been dreaming of going there with J and Littlest since my last trip there with students. It was also incredibly gratifying to see Littlest bond so quickly with his American cousin, Tiniest, who is pretty much the same size as him now.
We were based in County Galway and did a few day trips. First, to Connemara National Park where J and Littlest and I hiked all the way up Diamond Hill (everyone else came too but turned back at different points before the top).
We took the ferry to the largest Aran Island, Inis Mor, where we took a mini-bus tour that both two-year-olds amazingly enjoyed.
We also went to the Cliffs of Moher, which I saw as part of a group tour in 2008. We parked in Doolin this time and walked for about an hour to get to a look-out point.
We also did lots of walking on the beaches.
Otherwise we just spent time watching the boys giggle together.
Littlest is extremely into all types of vehicles right now, so this trip was rich for him. He was finally aware of airplanes and was very excited to see them all at the airport and enjoyed being on one. With the Galway area being such a tourist region he also got to see lots of tour buses and even double-decker buses which he pronounces adorably “a-bit-a-bit-a-bit-a bus” (or some variation). He even got to take a ferry out to Inis Mor and loved the mini-buses on the island. As for the time difference, he overly adjusted very quickly and so now we are just trying to get him back on some sort of normal schedule, but the whole summer has more or less been like that.
Anyway, for trips with toddlers, western Ireland was fabulous. We flew Aer Lingus from Nantes to Dublin and then rented a car (so J got to drive on the left again). My dad found a rental west of Galway that fit us all easily. We packed our raincoats with us everyday and they as well as Littlest’s red pants were vital though we really had good weather for Ireland—we didn’t even go to the swimming pool and only did one indoor activity, the last day (the Galway Aquarium).
It’s a bit sad to be home to be honest. Even with all the communication and logistics that traveling in a big group requires, it was a trip that really allowed me to get my head out of the everyday drudges and dream about other things (more on that to come, maybe).