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.

Gorse



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! 
Feel free to leave a comment!

28 comments:

  1. My son and DIL went there,last Nov. and loved it! They planned their trip for over a year and did it all themselves.My son especially wanted to visit Ballyshannon where my father's mother's family came from.He found out a 4th cousin of his(my 3rd)was William Allingham,a celebrated Irish poet.Who knew? Now,I feel the need to go.Love your photos.!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Chris. That is wonderful that your son and daughter-in-law planned their own trip to Ireland. I hope you get the chance to visit as well. I know you will love it. And to think you have a poet in your Irish heritage as well is great. There is so much history there and we visited the cemetery where W. B. Yeats was buried, too.

      Delete
  2. Wow. The photography is truly amazing. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Patty. I'm glad you liked it.

      Delete
  3. What a great adventure! I have never been to Ireland, but it is on our bucket list to visit. Can't wait to get there now!!! Thanks Su & Ted!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sheila. You will absolutely love it! It is really beautiful and the history is so interesting. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. And there is so much do to there, too. Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  4. Wow and wow again! Beautiful pics and great tour! Thanks Sue!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cindy. It really was a great tour. So happy we were able to make it happen.

      Delete
  5. Great memories and pictures for a life time. It reminded me of our trip to Ireland through Ted's camera. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LuLu. It certainly was great memories for a lifetime. We loved our visit there and hope to return someday.

      Delete
  6. Wow! What great pictures, so glad you both had such a great time. Looking forward to seeing more pictures when you have time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Denise. It was wonderful! We really had a great time.

      Delete
  7. Your photos (and Ted's) are outstanding and so is the scenery. I almost was going to Ireland this July. My friend and I greatly considered it. But the scheduling for her was off. We had so many places lined up this year and not one has panned out. Two busy people planning a trip for many weeks is tough to do sometimes. At least you and your husband can make plans easier since you live in the same house. And at least he went. My husband does not like leaving the house. I enjoyed your trip through these photos. At least I saw Ireland this way!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Donna. It was a really enjoyable trip for us. But as far as the planning it was something that we just kept putting off, too. It seems like there was/is always something else you could be doing that you think is more important. My husband likes traveling and exploring, too, but he never really was interested in going to Europe.
      I think we went at a good time too (the beginning of June), because they have a rainy season after that.
      The length of this tour was just right for us. Not sure I would want to do a longer bus tour. We did see quite a bit in the length of time we were gone, and we traveled over 1300 miles. I hope at sometime you will get the opportunity to visit Ireland. I know you will love it! Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  8. I was just in Ireland last week and had Brian as a tour guide. He made the trip for me. He should be on stage not driving a bus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are absolutely right! We were so lucky to have him as our driver. He is so entertaining. He does a great rendition of the "broom dance" too! Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  9. Fabulous pictures as Ireland is an amazing place...I would love to go back as I spent a week similar to your tour and loved it. My husband has only ventured to Italy with me...but I hope to visit the UK as well of course without him as he has been in college and didn't like it...what does he know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Donna. I think our next tour might be England, Scotland and Wales, but we've got a lot of time to decide on that. Some people that we talked with that visited Ireland and England also didn't like it because it rained the entire time they were there. I can understand where the weather can certainly put a "damper" on your vacation plans.

      Delete
  10. Sue, We had a great time on the tour of Ireland - agree that our "Irish Adventure" was just that. Wonderful pictures which remind us of the fun we had. It was also good to get to know you and Ted. Who knows? Maybe we'll meet again on another tour! Whoever we have as a guide on an upcoming tour will have big shoes to fill - Brian was amazing. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Marydel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Marydel! It certainly was a wonderful time, and what a great experience for us! And we enjoyed the new friends we met. So glad to have met you and Don. We are looking forward to our next tour and adventure. And you are right, Brian would be hard to replace as a tour guide.

      Delete
  11. My best friend lives there.
    We might go there soon.

    Ella ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be great if you have a chance to visit your friend. There is so much to learn and enjoy when visiting a foreign country.

      Delete
  12. I would be interested in knowing if you went to Titanic Belfast and if you did, how much time you had there. We are considering doing the Irish Adventure (CIE) this next summer and I just want to be sure it is right for us. Were there any sights that you wished you had had more time at?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Ann, we did go to the Titanic museum in Belfast as part of this tour. Personally, I felt we had enough time to browse the exhibits and learn some of the history. I can't remember exactly how much time we spent there, but at least a few hours (maybe 3 hrs?). I'm sure that might not be enough time for serious history buffs, but if you want to spend more time at the museum you could always book some extra time at the end or beginning of your tour and go back to Belfast.
      This was our first time in Ireland so as far as we were concerned this trip covered the highlights that we were interested in. I talked to a few friends that had been there before to see what sights they enjoyed the most and the CIE Irish Adventure tour covered most of those items. If we were to go again we'd like to stay a few extra days in Dublin at the end of the tour to visit some of the gardens, etc. and also do the "Hop On-Hop Off" bus tour of the city. We did get a little bus tour of the city, but other than Trinity College and the Book of Kells and the Long Library we didn't spend much time visiting any of the other sights of Dublin. We felt we had plenty of time to visit the other tourist stops we visited. There was usually time to do a little souvenir shopping and eating on the trip at each stop as well.
      I would also recommend, if possible, going over a day earlier than the start of the tour and spending an extra night in Dublin to acclimate yourself to the time change and jet lag. We're really glad we did that. Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much for your prompt response. Will take your suggestions to heart, for sure. SO looking forward to going. Ann

      Delete
    3. You're very welcome, Ann, and good luck in planning your trip. I'm sure it will be very enjoyable!

      Delete