38,000 Steps Later…

Since my last blog, we have walked a total of 38,000 steps each.  28,000 of those steps occurred today, and I can’t speak for everyone else but I am about ready to saw my own legs off.  Stop the burn!  After this week, working out is going to seem easy.  But I am getting ahead of myself, let’s backtrack a bit.  We left Yaughal, and we were very sad to do so.  We fell in love with that little town, and were very sorry to say goodbye.  The drive to Dublin, thankfully consisted of mostly highways, with actually lanes and shoulders.  Oh, this reminds me!  One other note about Irish plumbing, the hot and cold water faucets are separate.  So you can either run hot water, or you can run cold water, but you can’t run both which makes washing your face a bit of an adventure, if you consider scalding your hand and peeling a layer of skin off your face and then freezing it an adventure.  I don’t really know what about our drive to Dublin reminded me of this fact, maybe it’s because I am sitting here typing this and my face hurts.  We aren’t actually staying in Dublin, we are staying a few kilometers outside of the city in a village called Enniskerry.  We are in a bit of time crunch, as we are trying to make it to Dublin in time for the St. Paddy’s day festivities…we needn’t have worried, but oh well.  It’s about a 3 hour drive from Yaughal to Enniskerry in the County Wicklow.  It’s nestled in the mountains and very pretty.  We are staying at the Summerhill House Inn, which is a common locale for wedding receptions (in fact, they had a wedding each night we stayed there).  As soon as we arrived, we dropped off our luggage, called a cab and headed to the train which would take us to Dublin.

The cabs were actually clean, driven by Irishmen (although our first drive’s picture looked a bit like a mug shot you’d find in Belfast).  He didn’t drive crazy either, so that was nice.  We arrive at the train station (my mom’s first time using public transportation, look at the pic!).  The train takes us into the heart of Dublin and oh my…I don’t even know how to describe the drunken crazy revelry that greeted us.  I knew after being in Dublin for 5 seconds that Libby and my mom would never make it.  I am pretty certain we were the only sober people in the mass of thousands.  What is scary to me is what some of these people thought they could get away with wearing even before they actually got drunk.  Now, I ask you….why on earth would you ever wear tights without a skirt or shorts?  Seriously, you could see her butt crack.  I shudder to think what you could see from the front.  And for all the ladies wearing shamrock tights…..yeah, those shamrocks weren’t hiding anything, put on clothes!!!!!  Actually, “Butt Crack Anyone” was going to be the title of this blog.  It was like Mardi Gras times 1000.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I lost count of how many ambulances were called to pick up the passed out, the sick, the drunk and disorderly.  The Garde was in full force, streets were shut down and the Temple Bar area was crammed with people, you couldn’t even move.  There were people parading in their underwear, or dressed as leprechaun’s, it was a sea of green in every form imaginable.  There was drunken singing, dancing, cursing left and right.  People were carrying around liters of booze.  My eyes and ears were in sensory overload.  I was way too sober to enjoy it, and forget about getting into a pub, they were also crammed wall to wall with people.  Even though you are forbidden to smoke in pubs now, people stand literally right outside the doors and light up, so the amount of smoke you ingest trying to obtain entrance is probably the equivalent of one cigarette with all the nasty side effects but none of the buzz!  I kept look at Libby, but her eyes were completely glazed over.  She was clearly whelmed, and the way mom was holding on to her, she looked a bit special needs.  Poor thing.  We did finally find seats in this one pub, but apparently Libby can’t pass for 18 so we were forced to leave.  Damn you Libby!!!!  What can I say about Dublin…it was beautiful.  It reminded me of a much much older New York City or what I would imagine all the small villages we stayed in would look like had they been on steroids.  You could probably spend a week just in Dublin and the surrounding countryside.  It’s impossible to get directions to anywhere in Ireland.  Everything is around the bend, or up there just a bit, or take a slight left and there you are…they neglect to tell you the slight left is 5 kilometers away or requires 5 right turns.  Dublin streets made absolutely no sense, maybe you have to be drunk to get anywhere, but we walked literally in circles.  Streets changed names randomly and picked up somewhere else.  We spent the majority of our time in Dublin, dodging puke, butt crack and getting lost.  Oh well.  Happy St. Paddy’s Day Ireland!

We were pretty much in a coma by the time we made it back to our hotel, hence the reason there was no blog yesterday.  Our cab ride back to the hotel was amusing.  Our driver was a bit of a negative nelly.  Interestingly enough, he used to drive trucks in the states.  He didn’t have any good pubs to suggest to eat, he thought we should have stayed in Bunratty, and his 15-year-old son might not live to see 16.  For some reason though, even when the Irish are negative, it still sounds uplifting because of their accent. We tried two places in downtown Enniskerry, but they were both full with no seats available.  Finally, on our third try, we find a place to collapse.  While sitting here enjoying the rest and refuel, we are forced to enjoy yet more butt crack.  I mean seriously….  The other thing we notice about the Irish, they take their children everywhere.  I mean everywhere.  I will say there is nothing more adorable than a 5-year-old with an Irish accent.  All the children seem to be quite sassy over here too.  I think this proves that my children were meant to be Irish.  After we finish eating and Libby polishes off a sizable chocolate brownie, we head back to the hotel for a good nights sleep, before we head out on our last day in Ireland 😦

We get up and head down for our free full Irish breakfast which basically means we eat toast and cereal.  The coffee over here is really strong, so after dumping almost an entire bottle of creamer into it and 5 tablespoons of sugar, I am ready to tackle the day!  We find out there is actually a mall in Dundrum (a suburb of Dublin), so we head there to finish out our souvenir shopping.  It was the biggest mall I’ve ever seen, and I’m from Texas!  It was complete with a butcher and a grocery story!  It was ginormous!  Libby lit up like a Christmas tree, it was perhaps the most excited I’d seen her on the whole trip.  While my mother was trying on an outfit the shopkeeper starts chatting me up, and I learned all sorts of interesting things about Irish government.  Of course the 6 counties north of Dublin are completely split off from the Republic of Ireland, which unfortunately is part of Great Britain.  Their former PM made more money than the world’s most important man from the world’s most important country, Obama (these are her exact words and I am not paraphrasing).  No wonder Ireland is bankrupt, bankrolling their PM’s to live like kings while the country starves to death.  So honey, when you see my shopping expenses hit the bank, don’t be hasty in your judgment, I do it for the love of Ireland!  I think it counts as a charitable donation actually.  The Irish are very excited that Obama is coming to visit in May and they are hoping for some additional financial support for the US.  History lessons are so much more interesting when told with an accent.  After shopping, we head out to do the other thing Libby gets really excited about…nature hikes.  We stop off at The Ritz Carlton to ask for direction and oh my…I’m wondering why we didn’t stay there!  It was unbelievable.  Absolutely gorgeous hotel.  They are wonderfully helpful and provide me a map of the famous Wicklow trail as well as explicit directions on how to get there.

The trail starts for us at The Powerscourt Waterfall.  I’ve included pictures here because there are no words to describe it.  It is hard to believe that the Irish aren’t more blessed with good fortune, because clearly God has to reside here.  After spending a few minutes climbing the rocks around the waterfall, we hit the trails.  The concierge at the Carlton warned me the paths were not clearly marked, this was a gross understatement and given our track record for getting lost, I am extremely worried we won’t make it off this trail alive, and who would know where to come looking for us or even that we were missing!  I’m not worried about wild animals anymore, since the fiercest animal apparently indigenous to Ireland is the fox, and I’m pretty sure I could take it, but just in case I am armed with a big stick, which comes in handy for climbing.  We are deep in the forest and it’s hard to be scared or worried about getting lost surrounded by such amazing natural wonders.  The trees are huge and covered with moss, there are four-leaf clovers everywhere, a rocky brook with crystal clear water…I feel like I am in a movie, it can’t be real.  We get turned around and at times meet ourselves coming, but we are all having a good time until we start getting worn out and the path we think leads us back to the waterfall in fact leads us to a dead end in the opposite direction of where we want to be.  Well, if I am going to die, at least it’s here I suppose.  We turn around and try to make our way back the way we had come, crossing over the rickety makeshift bridge I wasn’t excited to cross the first time, and now I had to do it again!  Once we were all across, Pam makes a discovery.  She has lost her camera somewhere along our route.  Insert collective groan here.  Her and Libby decide to backtrack to a rock we had stop to rest it, praying it had fallen out there while she was sitting.  It hadn’t.  Libby comes back to the side of the brook that Mom and I are waiting on and informs us that my sister has run back to our dead end point (which was quite far) to see if she dropped it there.  She must have flown because before we know it, she is back with the camera in tow!  Breathe a sigh of relief Tim.  Whew!  I did stop to drink from the brook, and only worried a little about dangerous bacteria, since I am still alive to write this and haven’t been afflicted with the Irish runs, I guess it was okay to drink.  I am too tired to proofread this blog, so forgive my spelling or grammar mistakes.  We head back home today, and I am a little worried about my suitcase making it under 50lbs, so fingers crossed everyone!  I can’t wait to see my girls, my son and my husband today, and I know my sister and mom feel the same way about their respective families.  I plan on watching the Kings Speech on the plane today, so everyone please pray for our safe travel back across the Atlantic.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about our trip nearly as much as we did living it.

Next stop:  HOME!!!!!!

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