Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Formaldehyde Castle!

Day 3 was awesome! Day 3 I finally felt like a normal person again. Jet lag was gone! We decided we'd take a short day trip out to Malahide Castle and Gardens from here on out known as formaldehyde castle and gardens. Our tour guide from the previous day suggested it as a great day trip and we felt like we'd seen enough of busy and crowded Dublin.

Derrick was amazing on this whole trip. He worked out all of our travel details, train tickets, underground routes, hotels, taxis, and entertainment. I'm not sure I could have even crossed the street without him. It was so nice to not have to worry about the planning! He figured out our train route to formaldehyde and we were there about 30 minutes later.

The formaldahyde train station was adorable!

What did I tell you about the flowers! Ireland! Give me your flowers!

Derrick and I have selected this house to purchase. Crosby will guard its gates, our children will practice cricket in the local castle gardens, and Derrick will ride the train into Dublin for work. It will be a lovely life.

The castle was stunning and also haunted according to our tour guide.

Along with a pass to the castle our tickets got us into the castle gardens which were amazing! Dad may decide to apply to the head gardener position. He was in heaven. Just check out this lion king tree as soon as you enter!

We traveled around the winding paths for the next hour exploring the garden climbing the trees.

This was a family favorite.

That night we enjoyed dinner at a local sports pub and turned in early. Our flight to London was bright and early the next morning!

Post to come about the main event and our adorable AirBnb!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ireland Excursion

Jet lag was still nagging us on Day 2. Ok ok...probably just me. Derrick does not need nearly as much sleep as I do in order to function (something I'm not going to let him forget whenever we decide to have kids ;)  

We had an all day excursion with a tour group planned so we were up bright and early and on a bus into Northern Ireland by 6:30 AM. Our tour guide was great. He told us all about the history of buildings and sites that we passed and also explained the differences between Ireland and Northern Ireland, On the schedule for the day was the Carrick-a-Rede rope ridge, the Giant's Causeway, and an hour in Belfast. 

One of the biggest differences between Ireland and Northern Ireland is most of Northern Ireland still supports the monarchy in Great Britain as seen by this giant crown when we first crossed the boarder.

The views were spectacular along the way. I think this was where Derrick and I decided we would move.

The first stops was one of my favorites of the whole trip. The Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. Originally the little island was a great fishing spot so the fisherman built this rope bridge to be able to access it. Since then it's turned into a tourist attraction and they've made the bridge sturdier but no less thrilling :) 

The bridge in all it's glory!

After a brief lunch stop we moved on to the giant's causeway. It's this pretty amazing coast line where lava flow naturally settled into these octagonal pillars. Thousands of them! It was really cool. 

I liked seeing all these worn pennies stuck in the cracks.

Finally we loaded up and headed towards Belfast. I think I slept most of the journey and when we got there we only had about an hour which seemed a little overwhelming. Instead of scrambling around trying to see the whole city in an hour we decided to relax a bit. We explored an open air mall and enjoyed watching the Wimbledon on an outdoor screen on the lawn of the Belfast City Hall. 

When we finally made it back to Dublin we finished the day with dinner at a Mexican place next to our hotel. While there a couple of girls came up to us and asked us if we knew what moonshine was. Yes. We are from North Carolina. They were promoting their new flavored moonshine so they gave us a jar and asked to take our picture.

It was apple pie flavored and actually pretty good! 

This was one of my favorite days just because I loved the bridge and the causeways. I'm so glad Derrick found the tour and scheduled it for us. The next day was our lat in Dublin and we visited a castle and it's gardens just outside of town. Post to come!

Monday, July 27, 2015

First Stop: Ireland

Prepare yourself for some picture heavy posts as I go through our Europe vacation. Let's be real, I know everybody prefers pictures to words in a blog post so I'm not going to feel too bad about the amount of pictures I'm about to share.

The reason for our trip was to watch Jack play for the team USA under 23 frisbee team. Jack is a crazy frisbee player. Just when you think you've seen his best game he gets better the next time. I'm serious...he crushed it in the worlds finals and then came back for his pro team's playoff game and I've never seen him have a better game then there.

Anyways, we figured if we were making the trip across the pond we would extend our vacation by a week in order to get some time sight seeing and exploring while we were over there. We flew out Wednesday and arrived in Dublin Thursday morning before the tournament. The jet lag was pretty terrible since we flew overnight and the airline kept serving us food and drinks every hour or so. None the less we tried to hit the ground running and power through that first day.

Our first stop was St. Patrick's cathedral.

The inside was beautiful.

I especially loved these old battle flags.

After St. Patrick's we did a walk by of St. Christ's Cathedral before heading towards Dublin castle. The cathedral was under construction and we didn't go in but it was beautiful.

One thing that trended in Dublin were the amazing flower arrangements. These outdoor shops were just dripping with gorgeous flowers. Everywhere in Dublin the the flowers were gorgeous and amazing. I wish mine looked that should see my latest mandavilla. I wish I was joking.

Dublin Castle!

Real estate in Dublin! Derrick and I can not afford to live in the city. Maybe a 500 square foot out dated condo but we'd be stretching our budget.

Mom and Dad made it to Dublin that afternoon and we had a quick lunch before heading over to Trinity College to see the old library and the Book of Kells.

Our last stop of the day was at an instrument shop so mom could test out their whistles. She didn't end up getting one but it was neat to be there and see everything they had to offer.

We crashed hard that night! I had slept maybe an hour on the plane and gotten about a 2 hour nap before lunch and Derrick hadn't slept at all. We were going on 36 hours and I don't think I've ever fallen asleep so quickly in my life. The next day was one of the best of the whole trip. Post to come!