She will take other trips between the ones she takes with me. For example, she will take beach trips without me because I am not the fan of the beach she is (I don't dislike it, but I have strict rules on when I will go, e.g. when it is not hot an not crowded; she is a bit more lenient). Also, if she has lady friends who get the travel bug, she'll quickly organize a trip for them. Last October, she and three of them went to Paris.
But still, she likes me to accompany her on at least one trip per year, and this year it was Ireland.
When we first started talking about it, I sent an email to blog friend Vince, who suggested either a southern or northern route after flying into Dublin, assuring me that we would likely take a liking to his native country and soon want to return for more. We did the southern route, and he was exactly right. I didn't get enough.
A while back, Wife was having a conversation with some good friends of ours who I''ll call "M" and "J." She was telling them about our proposed trip to Ireland and M, the husband of the couple, allowed as to how he had always wanted to go. Wife said, "Go with us," and before we knew it, they were!
I don't know how many of you are familiar with Costco, which is a wholesale warehouse, which, believe it or not, has a travel agency. We know a handful of folks who have booked travel through them and have given us good reports.
Wife knew we wanted to fly into Dublin and fly home from Shannon. She had sketched out a rough itinerary and estimated the costs. She called Costco and they gave her a quote that was about $800 less than her estimates. The cool thing was, we could book it through them and get airfare and a rental car, as well as the first night (in Dublin) and last night (near Shannon) and do our own thing in between. And that's exactly what we did.
I'll not give you a complete travelogue here, but I'll tell you that we arrived in Dublin on a Friday morning. We checked into our hotel but could not get into our rooms yet. We visited the beautiful Trinity College near our hotel, then had lunch, at which time I had my first Guinness of the trip.
I have never been a big fan of "stout" beer but felt like I had to try it in the country that many think makes the best. The taste was quickly acquired.
While at lunch, Wife got a call from our hotel and was notified our rooms were ready. We went back and took a nap, then went to the Guinness Storehouse, which is kind of a museum for Guinness beer and at which time more of it was consumed. Great fun.
But to be honest, Dublin is a big city and is like many big cities. Crowded, dirty, etc. After a while, I couldn't wait to be gone from there.
I'm skipping details here, but . . . . Saturday about noon we got our rental car and Wife took the wheel. M was also authorized to drive, but he never did so. Wife drove for the duration of the trip and M rode in the front seat and navigated, while J and I sat in the backseat and did our best to keep our mouths shut and speak when spoken do (with limited success). Wife did an outstanding job of driving on the left, just as she had done a few years ago when we went to England. I would have, no doubt, gotten us into a collision, so it was never even considered that I would drive.
Again, I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow of everything we did, but will tell you that from Dublin we had stays at delightful inns and/or B&Bs in the towns of Kinsale, Kenmare, Dingle and Doolin; wonderful drives on the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula, along with other unplanned countryside drives "where the road might take us;" delicious food (abundant seafood, my favorite, because we were on or near the coastline); tours of castles, including one adjacent to our hotel in Doolin; ferry rides; breathtaking scenery; incredibly interesting afternoons and evenings in pubs where we quickly became friends with locals; and, along with Guinness, wonderful local beers; and beautiful music.
And so much more. Even with the beautiful scenery, the most impressive thing about Ireland, for me, was the people. They were among the nicest, friendliest and most polite people I have ever met. After just a short time, I felt like we were friends and I felt so very welcome.
I am indebted, as always, to Wife, who is not only my better half, but the brains of this marriage and who takes time to plan trips like this that she knows I will know very little about before we get there but also knows I'll love each step of the way.
Although they don't fully do it justice, here's a very small glimpse into our trip. I certainly hope to return to Ireland some day.
One of my favorite pubs, in Doolin
B&B in Kinsale
Wife and me
Cliffs of Moher
On the Scilly Walking Trail in Kinsale