Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Emerald Isle

Ok, by my calendar it has been nearly 5 months since our wonderful honeymoon in Ireland. Also, by those same calculations, it has been entirely far too long since we have updated. So, on to an update about Ireland.

There are almost no words for how beautiful the Emerald Isle is. When we left Fort Worth the weather was a hot and muggy 90-95 degrees. When we stepped onto Irish soil, the weather was a brisk and wonderful 55-65 degrees. I (Ashley) immediately felt right at home.
We gathered our bags and made our way to the rental car counter where we received our economy- size Volkswagen Polo. The first day of our adventure felt a bit like a movie, "Just Married" to be exact. We piled into our mini-car; Austin at the wheel and me as his fearless navigator. I got out our tourist map to study and Austin got acquanted with his surroundings. Ireland drives on the opposite side of the road than America. It was familiar to me, since that is how it is in Zambia. Our hotel in Dublin was supposedly close to the airport and the guy at the rental counter had full confidence in us that we could find it without any problems. FOUR hours and 15 roundabouts later we finally pull into the parkling lot of our hotel after an intensely stressful jaunt around downtown Dublin. We were exhausted, frustrated, and hungry, and feeling anxious about how the rest of the trip would turn out.
I am glad to say the rest of our trip picked up. We spent the first few days in Dublin and then made our way to the west. We spent one night in Galway (where they are famous for their hookers) and then caught a ferry that took us to Inish Mor, which is part of the beautiful Aran Islands. Inish Mor was our favorite thing about Ireland! Only 800 residents live there year round. It is a bit secluded and absolutely gorgeous. Nothing but green grass, miles of rock walls, sheep, cows, beehive huts (once home to monks) and an awesome real-life fort called Dun Aengus. We stayed in a nearly 200 year old bed and breakfast called the Kilmurvey House. The owners of the Kilmurvey house just added on, so we got to experience the luxury of the new guest accomodations and the ambiance of the historical landmark. While on Inish Mor, we walked and explored and relaxed...perfect! Our hosts at the Kilmurvey house were so hospitable (and had Irish accents so thick that it took me several seconds to process what they said). One night we did not realize that the local eatery (the pub down the road) was closed and that the guesthouse itself was not serving dinner. It was about 8:30pm and we were pretty hungry since we just returned from a 3 hour exploration walk in the cold. Our gracious host took pity on
us and went back into the kitchen to prepare us a delicious meal of Irish brown bread, locally produced cheese and ham, homemade scones, and hot tea. It was the best meal we had the whole week (well, except for maybe the lobster thermidore I had two days earlier)!!!
After Inish Mor, we headed back to Dublin to wrap up our trip with a visit to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and then a stop off at Nude (nude is owned by Bono's brother). Can you imagine all the puns that we amused ourselves with about Nude??!!?!
Another highlight of visiting Ireland was being mistaken for a local. One day I was in a shop looking for a wool hat and a lady from Georgia turned to ask my advice about what color hat she should get for her daughter-in-law. When I told her I liked the blue one she laughed and asked me where I was from because she thought I was Irish. I even fooled the shopkeeper! I guess I give myself away when I open my mouth.
So, overall, the Perry's give Ireland two thumbs up and highly recommend you visit someday!

All smiles at DFW waiting on our plane.

We used every bit of room in that car with all our luggage.