Friday, June 19, 2015

Ted & Sue's Irish Adventures!

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland
After several years of wanting to plan a trip to Europe and trying to convince my husband that he would "like" it, we decided on a tour of Ireland. First we were thinking of maybe combining a tour of England, Whales, and Ireland, but then I thought - let's just do Ireland and tour the whole country.

We were trying to decide on whether or not to rent a car and do our own exploring, or take a bus tour. I've had some friends that did the bus tours and they spoke highly of it, and we thought that we would give it a try, too. So back in February we visited our travel agent and they gave us some information on CIE Tours.

Trinity College, Dublin

There were several tours to choose from. We decided on the seven days, eight nights "Adventure Tour" around Ireland. This is considered an escorted tour. We booked an extra day at the start of the tour for resting up from the travel and time difference of five hours. That worked out perfect, too, because we ended up taking naps that day.

Trinity College, Dublin

While I'm not getting paid to do an advertising promotion for CIE Tours, I highly recommend them. Everything was so well organized and on time. The hotels were excellent, service was excellent, and the sites we visited were amazing. The tour also included two meals a day (but that depends on which tour you book).

Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable on history, culture, politics, sports, and his jokes and songs were very entertaining.

We met some very nice friends on the tour, too. There were 36 of us on the tour bus. Mostly from the United States, but some were from Australia and we enjoyed their company and learning about their culture and customs, too.

Long Library, Trinity College

Before we left the US, we checked Ireland's weather online. We ended up re-packing our luggage because we didn't have enough warm weather clothes packed. Their temperatures were in the 50's-60's. And as everyone advised us- to expect rain. So we packed raincoats and umbrellas, too. Luckily for us we only had a few light rain showers.

One of the ways to get around town- bike rentals!

I was really surprised at their climate. It never freezes because they are warmed by the ocean currents and the Gulf of Mexico. However, it also never gets really hot there either. Most places don't have air conditioning. And they really don't need it. In a few of the hotels we stayed at we had the heat on.

Their landscapes are very beautiful and most places have stone fences to mark their boundaries for either farming or grazing land for sheep. Sheep are very plentiful in Ireland. The landscapes are dotted with sheep in most places you visit. The stone fences are beautiful as well.

I expected to see a lot of exotic flowers when visiting a foreign Country, but that wasn't the case. Most flowers I noticed were ones that also grow here in Central/Northern New York, too. Those would be: lupines, columbines, clematis, foxgloves, pansies, petunias, and other varieties that grow well here. And those flowers were also blooming at the same time as our flowers. The rhododendrons grow wild there. They are all over the fields. I think it is because their soil is highly acid that they do so well there.


Another flowering shrub that was blooming when we were there was Gorse. It's a beautiful dark yellow shrub with tons of flowers on it. They are sometimes used for hedgerows.

St. Kevin's 6th century monastery in  Glendalough

They can grow a few varieties of palm trees because they never get a deep freeze.

Some of the sites we visited on this tour were the Cliffs of Moher, sheepdog trials, Blarney Castle, walking tours of Waterford and Derry, Giant's Causeway, the Titanic Museum in Belfast, the Peace Wall, Ring of Kerry, short ferry ride across the Shannon River, Trinity College in Dublin, and several other enjoyable sites.

 I also loved the architecture. The homes were very colorful and cheerful. And the stone buildings and cathedrals were magnificent.

Walking tour of New Ross on the River Barrow

One of the many churches/cathedrals in Ireland. This one was in New Ross.

Blarney Castle

Photo taken by my husband from the top of Blarney Castle.
(Note: I did not walk up the 100+ steps to kiss the Blarney Stone, but Ted did.)

Tour of the gardens at Blarney Castle

Blarney House

Killarney, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher

Giant's Causeway: huge hexagonal columns formed by volcanoes over 60 million years ago.

Ted, me, and our tour guide with CIE Tours, Brian Hanrahan.

Hope you enjoyed your armchair tour of Ireland with us! Have lots more photos of Ireland that I would love to share with you so at some point in the future I might write another blog post on Ireland.

P.S. by the way, Ted loved Ireland and he's planning our next European bus tour.

Thanks for visiting! 
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