Before Lent, (Yes, I know that was a while back as I am posting this after Easter or Paque as they say here in France) Anna-Marie and I spent a week in Ireland on the pre-Lenten vacation of our Dominican schools.
By train from our respective schools to Cherbourg, France,
by Ferry from Cherbourg to Rosslare Harbour, Ireland. We were both very sea sick as the sea was choppy, it being winter;
We picked up a rental car in RH, Ireland.
The goal was to drive to Tralee for free room and board with my cousin; we stopped along the way to view scenery, Anna-Marie has the eyes of a hawk and she spotted a waterfall far off the road, we found it: She also led us to an abbey, Mount Melleray.
We stopped at a take away and had a burger and chips. Upon the sky growing dark, we found a bed and breakfast near New Ross or Waterford and luckily they took us in. We went over to a pub recommended by our hostess and Anna-Marie had her first Guiness. Also we were "priveleged" to hear some local patrons singing drinking songs. We discussed the causes of the Civil War, admired their small coal fire, went "home" and crashed, slept, that is.
The next day, we saw Waterford Crystal, world famous, and Christ Church exterior, where William Wallace is said to have been baptized. Drove on to Tralee. Small island, smaller than all of Missouri.
We spent one day driving around Dingle Peninsula. It was beautiful, sky kept changing; we saw several rainbows, many sheep grazing, stopped in a couple of churches; the Irish seem to love St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes, they were often seen depicted at the Grotto...
Back at my cousins we mostly vegged out, caught up on movies, and ate non-French food! We also watched the Presidential nomination updates, foreigners are very interested in our political system... and we discussed with my cousin the god of organized religion and the god of nature: I dont know if we really approached the Triune God of the Catholic Faith; she was a bit skittish and I am sorry to report that I got a bit hot under the collar and went to bed. Anna-Marie with less of a temper fared better. Next day walked and drove around downtown Tralee and had pub fare, saw a church, bookstore, etc. It was raining on and off and so we were ducking in places.
y cousin drove us out to see a ruined castle at twilight, unfortunately it gets dark in Ireland early in the winter, 4-ish and cut our sightseeing short. She drove us around a bit more, we just couldnt see much by the headlights. We headed out the next day for Dublin by way of Cohb so that Anna-Marie could see the port where her Grandmother last saw Ireland on her way to America. Another last minute B&B rescue and we made it the rest of the way to Dublin the next morning. We went right to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells. That was my second time in Dublin and it was well worth it to see this amazing book. We attempted to see St. Patricks and another church but as they were all taken over by Protestants, they were charging an entrance fee and we refused to pay it: You rarely encounter fees at churches in France and not at all at current Catholic churches. So I made my peace with Dublin and discovered that it is a relatively small city. There was an accident on the way to the Harbour that evening and it took us much longer than it shouldve but we finally made it. We had bought sea sickness pills in Dublin and took them. We were so tired and releived to be there that the combination brought on a case of the giggles (slap-happiness brought on by fatigue) that I probably havent had since I was 10 or 12. We survuved another night on board that vessel, the Oscar Wilde, abd the next day we met a traveling piano man from CA who provided us with conversation, although he was loathe to play for us, we got him to play a little in an empty lounge, and he got us an emergency ride to the train station when our tardy ferry finally pulled into Cherbourg Harbour. Did I mention it was late on the way over also? Not a mode of transportation I recomend, at least not in the winter.