A couple weeks back Omri and I traveled to Ireland and got to stay with the Dunne family! It was such a treat to see Lisa’s family; the whole trip felt like a big hug from relatives and friends you haven’t seen in a while!
Ireland is an amazing place with a beautiful eastern countryside (the West is still waiting for us…for another trip!), cute towns, great beer, and a really fun capital city!
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Our trip started off at Bristol Airport, a GEM of an airport, really! The airport is located just outside of Bristol’s city center, and is really a breeze. We parked in long term parking and were waiting for the shuttle when we saw a sign that said the terminal was only 500 meters away. So we walked! It was super quick and easy! We took Ryanair and had to do a “Visa Check” because of our US Passports, and got “priority” status! I say “priority” because Ryanair is a true budget airline, and well, there wasn’t much to be upgraded to, but we did sit in the exit row for the whopping 40 minute flight!
We flew into Dublin and rented a car (I really recommend this when visiting Ireland because things are pretty spread out and unless you are on a tour with transport, a car is probably the best and most convenient way to get around). On the car there were stickers everywhere with “drive on the left” – luckily Omri and I are already pros at this…
We stayed at Bray House, a B & B run by Lisa’s family. The house is huge and is located on the family farm (more on that later in the post). The house is in Athy, which is about an hour south of Dublin, and we used it as our home base while traveling around the country. There are a lot of things on the West side of the country, and though they are only 3 or so hours away by car, we decided those attractions would be best seen during another trip (aka another excuse for a holiday!).
On our first day, we coerced Thomas (Lisa’s brother) into hanging out with us and to be our local tourguide. We went to Glendalough, a favourite of Lisa’s, which has a beautiful state park and hiking trails.
Lough is pronounced “lock” and is Irish for lake (thanks for the lesson Thomas!). The lakes were beautiful and are situated in the mountains with small rivers and waterfalls that flow through the hiking trails.
We also saw the Monastic City with a tower and ruins dating back from the 6th century!
To Thomas’ disappointment, we only hiked about a third of one of the trails. But we did do some off-roading for a photo opp by a cute little waterfall!
While leaving Glendalough, it started to rain. The roads to the touristy areas are a bit windy and all of a sudden we hear Thomas (from the backseat) yell “Watch out for the sheep!”. Yes, there were sheep in the road!
After a quick lunch in a small town, we went to Kilkenny to wander and explore around the city.
Kilkenny is home to Smithwick’s beer, but we were a bit too late to tour the factory. So instead we meandered along the cute streets and stopped off for a beer at a pub.
We headed back to Bray House to settle in for the evening and enjoyed a Dunne family classic – Chinese food (quite yummy in fact) and a movie!
The next day we got a tour of the Dunne farm where they grow barley and wheat and raise pigs!
Liam Dunne, the proprietor and #1 farmer, was so kind to show us around the farm. He showed us the different fields and the farm equipment, and even let us drive the tractors!
The wheat was so tall that
you I could get lost in the fields! Omri was especially intrigued by the vehicles:
And then, the test drives!
His and hers tractors! 🙂 It was really fun getting a private, hands-on tour and learning about the farm!