Ireland 2014

We had made arrangements for Kristalyn’s parents to watch the boys for a week in June. Now, we had to figure out where to spend our first real vacation since we got married almost 13 years ago.  One possibility I was exploring was to drive up through Idaho to Washington and Oregon.  In fact, I had spent a fair amount of time mapping out a possible route, complete with stops and potential activities.  But, when Kristalyn’s parents pointed out in early May that they could actually keep the boys a few days longer was followed by an email from Budget Travel with vacation packages to Ireland, we had a whole new ballgame.  I spent a couple of days looking at calendars, budgets, and TripAdvisor, and I was getting excited. One more phone call to her parents to confirm the dates and I pulled the trigger.

We spent the next couple of weeks sketching out an itenerary, booking bed & breakfasts (the package came with open vouchers for B&Bs), getting passports, watching travel tips videos, ordering travel supplies, and developing packing lists.

With the entire family anxious to get the vacation underway, we were pretty well packed and ready to go by the night of Thursday, June 12.  This allowed us to leave on Friday evening after I got off work and the rest got back from Reid’s gymnastics.  A late arrival in Amarillo on Friday night followed by a 6-hour journey to Ft. Worth on Saturday and we were just a Sunday night departure from DFW away from beginning the adventure.

We decided early in the process that we were going to operate under three philosophies: 1) this was just our first trip to Ireland, not our only one, so we don’t have to try and do everything, 2) travel planning is a lot like military planning (in war planning, it is said that plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy; in travel planning, the plans rarely survive first contact with the realities of the destinations); and 3) we are nothing if not flexible.

So, with that all being understood, we developed the following itinerary (all times local):

Sunday, June 15-Monday, June 16

  • 17:28-21:09 – UA1600 (DFW-IAD)
  • 22:15-10:18 – UA126 (IAD-DUB)
  • 11:45-13:00 – Tour of Trinity College
  • 14:00-15:30 – Tour of Leinster House
  • 16:15-17:45 – Tour of Guinness Storehouse
  • 18:30-20:30 – Hang out on Grafton Street; find a place to eat dinner
  • 21:00 – Check in to the Citywest Hotel & Resort
  • 22:00-1:30 – Watch US v. Ghana World Cup game

Tuesday, June 17

  • 9:00-12:00 – Newgrange and Knowth
  • 12:30-14:30 – Hill of Tara
  • 15:30-17:00 – National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology
  • 18:30-22:00 – An Evening of Food, Folklore, and Fairies (The Brazen Head)

Wednesday, June 18

  • 8:45 – Check out of Citywest Hotel & Resort
  • 9:30-12:30 – Powerscourt Estate
  • 13:00-15:00 – Glendalough
  • 17:00-17:45 – Cahir Castle
  • 18:00 – Check into Hollymount House Bed & Breakfast

Thursday, June 19

  • 8:45 – Check out of Hollymount House Bed & Breakfast
  • 9:00-10:30 – Rock of Cashel
  • 12:00-13:30 – Waterford Crystal Factory
  • 18:00 – Check into Harbour Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast
  • 20:00-22:30 – England v. Uruguay World Cup game

Friday, June 20

  • 8:45 – Check out of Harbour Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast
  • 9:15-10:45 – Don & Barry’s Historic Stroll in Old Kinsale
  • 13:00-15:00 – Bantry House
  • 16:30-17:45 – Gleninchaquin
  • 18:00 – Check into Oakfield Bed & Breakfast

Saturday, June 21

  • 7:00-12:00 – Ring of Kerry
  • 12:00-16:00 – Dingle Peninsula

Sunday, June 22

  • 9:00 – Check out of Oakfield Bed & Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:00 – Drive through the Gap of Dunloe
  • 13:00-17:00 – Lough Gur Summer Solstice Festival
  • 18:00 – Check into Sea Crest Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast
  • 23:00-1:30 – US v. Portugal World Cup game

Monday, June 23

  • 8:00 – Check out of Sea Crest Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast
  • 10:00-13:00 – Cliffs of Moher
  • 17:00 – Check into San Juan Bed & Breakfast

Tuesday, June 24

  • 9:00 – Check out of San Juan Bed & Breakfast
  • 10:15-12:15 – Farmleigh House
  • 18:00-21:00 – LH981 (DUB-FRA)
  • 22:00 – Check into Comfort Hotel

Wednesday, June 25

  • 7:00 – Check out of Comfort Hotel
  • 10:00-13:55 – LH438 (FRA-DFW)

We knew that we had probably packed too much into schedule, but we had already been discussing what we would drop if we found ourselves running out of time.  This proved to be very helpful as we would quickly have to begin adapting to conditions on the ground.

Next up:  Traveling to Ireland and our first day.

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