When I think of Ireland I always think of green fields and sheep. In case you haven’t noticed, Dublin is a city. I love cities and really enjoy exploring them, but when planning this trip to Ireland I wanted to see more than just the city. I wanted to see in person what I always envision in my mind.
On the Dublin Pass website I noticed an opportunity offered by Over the Top Tours that would take us to see the “mysterious mountains and spectacular valleys” as well as the locations where Braveheart and P.S. I Love You were filmed. They had me at “mountains.” I booked this tour online (via email, actually) and they arranged to pick us up at our hotel on Sunday morning. Door to door service!
This post will have a lot of pictures because what I saw was just so beautiful I couldn’t stop taking pictures. If I notice it is tediously long, I may break it into two different posts… we’ll see.
On day three we woke up and ate another delicious breakfast in our hotel. We then sat in the lobby and watched for the 16 passenger van to arrive at our door to whisk us away from the bustle of the city and into “real” Ireland. Because we were the last guests on the way out of town we were offered either the front two seats or the rear to seats. With a motion-sick-prone husband we opted for the front two seats. By that I literally mean, The. Front. Two. Seats. I was right beside the driver in middle seat and Matt was by the door, where American vehicles would have the driver.
Our guide, Ed, took us along the coast of Ireland and we saw some of the most beautiful sights. We stopped for a few pictures and were amazed that such a short drive out of the city took us to this gorgeous place. People were swimming in the water, even in January. Ed told us that the water is actually quite warm thanks to something-0r-other. I don’t remember the details and after a very brief search on the internet, I couldn’t find the answer. I’ll just leave it at that… the water is supposedly warm. Regardless of how warm the water was, the AIR was cold enough to keep me from getting in that water!
Ed drove us another ten minutes along the water and we stopped for more photos. This time he made us coffee and tea and gave us a biscuit (cookie). His coffee was much better than our hotel’s coffee which I couldn’t even drink. (There are at least three Starbucks in Dublin so we were covered.)
After a bit more time riding through the coast we headed toward the mountains. We came to this valley and it took my breath away. Literally. The wind was blowing so hard it felt like we were skydiving! I don’t recall what this valley is called but the Guinness family lives in it. (The top photo is of the left-hand side of the valley. There is also a picture of the glacial lake, called the Guinness Lake, and then the Guinness family home is in the third picture. So these next three pictures are in succession as I panned left to right.)
Here is a one-minute video demonstrating the crazy wind. It was insane!
Throughout the day I was fascinated by the roads we traveled. Some of the time our rather large van had to ease up onto the grass banks to let other vehicles pass.
We came to a middle-of-nowhere hotel where the tours always stop for lunch. We had hoped to eat Fish & Chips but they were not serving that on that particular day. I was able to check in with the boys and found that they had had a relatively smooth day at church and the food court. Every time I checked in and the boys were doing well (good… I never know which one to use), I felt permission to really relax and enjoy this trip.
As I suspected, this post has gotten so long that I’m splitting it into two. Tomorrow, I’ll post about the second half of our day outside the city of Dublin.