Monthly Archives: August 2013

Daring Driving

a two lane road outside PortmageeThe two lane road to our houseA nice warning sign at the end of our street2 lanes and a curveTourmakeady two lane road Seriously, this is a 2 lane road with parking on the sideWhy not use one of the 2 lanes to serve lunchWildflowers are pretty, but also a narrow car is beautifulOrange wildflowers, hiding the rock wall beneath
Initially I was worried about driving in Ireland because I thought it might be difficult to remember to stay on the left side of the road. People also said it might be hard to figure out how to shift using your left hand. None of these issues were a problem, however, the size of the streets was simply unbelievable. After having to pay 3 times as much to get my 17 day car rental as I was quoted, I sucked it up and tried to stay off the “toll” roads. Also, since I wanted to see some really scenic places, rural was the rule. After 10 minutes of driving, both Natalie and Kate mentioned that they felt car sick. They had no idea that for the majority of this lovely stay in Ireland we would be traveling on some of the most narrow and windiest roads I could ever imagine. What we consider a single lane road, was a 2 lane road with 3 foot rock walls on each side, where you may also have to share the road with bicycle riders, joggers, parked cars, tractors, mothers with baby strollers and tourist buses. Cars zooming by these roads, missing by inches, as the plants whack your windows and you drive 100 km/hr. It was crazy. I can’t believe we made it out alive. We managed to escape with merely a flat tire.

Illuminating Ireland

Great music, great people, great scenery, along with great beer, Ireland has it all. We lucked into nice weather and pleasant accommodations along the way, and had quite a memorable experience. While we saw a lot of castles and churches, we also saw a lot of small and tiny roads along the way. And while we explored beaches and mountains, we also explored having to fix a flat tire on a “Bank Holiday”. Natalie loved seeing all the sheep and trying to find four leaf clovers. I loved seeing all the fields and finding tiny cottages tucked away on the hillside.

Tourmakeady WaterfallNatalie with her dream cottageKate at Ashford CastleCliffs of Moher PaintingPainting Kinsale Our front driveway in KinsaleKylemore Abbey SketchWarm weather and blue skiesNatalie jumping rocks at Kilarney National ParkNatalie playing on the beach on Venetia IslandNatalie and the cliffs of MoherPicnic at Kylemore AbbeyOur pink house in PortmageeA painting from the view on the Ring of Kerrysunrise in KinsaleThe Portmagee houseTourmakeady Sheep painting

England Escape

We started our great adventure by exploring the lovely city of London. I have been before but never really spent any time as a true tourist, mostly it was gray and raining and I hung out with locals enjoying conversation and “refreshments” in the local pub. This time was a completely different experience. I still visited the local pub, but also was inspired by seeing the sights. From Big Ben and and Buckingham Palace, to Trafalgar Square and the Tower of London, we went crazy with the touristy thrills. Not only was I blown away with seeing so many great things, but the weather worked out well and had blue sky for the majority of the time. In fact, Natalie kept wanting to hear about all this rain that England was supposed to have. Thankfully we had a good half day of drizzle for her to enjoy. From the Tate Museum, the Natural History Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Old Globe Theater, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, I was going to expose my 7 year old daughter to it all. What did she think was the most memorable thing about England? “Why do they have bacon flavored Pringles in the UK and not at home?” What was her favorite moment in London? Riding a double decker bus “because it had a big picture of the Smurfs” upcoming movie on the side of it. Did we all have fun? You bet.

Big Ben SketchFinally we get to walk in the rain.Natalie enjoying the parkWhy don't they eat vegetables Dad.A Tormented Woman and a silly girlSketch of the guardTower Bridge SmilesTower Bridge Painting