It's been less than two weeks since we got home, but sifting though all the photos, it seems like forever ago. How quickly we fall back into routine! Anyway, I managed to pick out 28 photos (rather than the 100 or so I wanted to show!) of the Ireland portion of our vacation.When we got to Dublin, the first thing we had to was get our rental car, which was scary...more for James than for me. After all, not only was he driving in a foreign country with different signs, but it was on the opposite side of the street, driving a MANUAL car. The stick shift was on the left, the rearview mirror to the left, etc. For a moment he started to panic before getting in that the pedals may be reversed too. Luckily that was not the case.So, I am the official navigator...right? This proves to be a problem because the airport is not on any of the maps we have and we had to get to the center of the city because we were staying at the Clarence Hotel our first night in Ireland. We got turned around once or maybe twice and quite possibly more than that because no one who gave us directions would give us street names. It was just "go straight here and follow around and then you will figure it out" ummm....okaaaaayyy.... I discovered the reason why they don't give street names to lost people in Dublin. It's because the street name changes every block. I am not making this up.We finally find our way to the Clarence and the car still has all its paint and we haven't killed anybody. Huge deal. Here is the view from the window of our room. Another view from our room. I loved this hotel. I think it might be my most favorite hotel ever. We were there on a Sat. night of a bank holiday weekend. It was hot the entire time we were in Ireland and there is no a/c. Our windows were open, it was noisy with all the partying, and when we finally fell asleep, they were still going at 4:30 am.We ate in the Tea Room of the Clarence. It was amazing food, service, etc. My only complaint was having to sit on the "stage" looking section of the restaurant. I felt like we were on display. You can see what that area looks like if you go to this link.The only thing that would have made our stay here better was if James got to meet Bono (co-owner of the Clarence).The next day we set off for Ashford Castle, which is the opposite side of the country. No problem right? Well...we quickly learned that you shouldn't pay too much attention to the street names on the map. We were given very good advice by a couple men at a pub where we stopped to use the facilities and ask directions. They said go by town names and ignore the street names. So my navigation tactics completely changed after that and we got there! The car still had all the paint, no dents, no deaths. My hands were stiff after gripping the dash for several hours...This is the view from our room at Ashford: Here I circled the windows of the room where we stayed: One of the best things about staying at Ashford was the grounds. There were several gardens and structures. I could only imagine being a kid here. I was excited to explore the acres of nooks and crannies, it would have to be a magical place for a kid.We took hundreds of photos just in the gardens. I won't bore you with ALL of them, but here are a few:

The back of the castle:

We woke up to several swans swimming outside our window one morning:
Ashford Castle is located in Cong County Mayo. Cong is also the home of Cong Abbey. You know we explored that while we were there:When I first saw these hands, it looked like hands were coming out of the ground.
We stayed at Ashford Castle 3 nights. On our last full day there, we took a little road trip to the Cliffs of Moher. The drive was as fun as the actual destination. And even though you may look at a map and think Cong and the Cliffs of Moher are not that far apart...well...double or triple the amount of time it would take you to travel that distance in the US.
First, we went the wrong way because all the signs are in Gaelic right next to we went all the way around the lake. It was a gorgeous drive, just long.
I loved that there was a sticker on the passenger side to stay on the left. Like the passenger has any control of that decision...I kept trying to take photos of what the stone walls, shrubs, oncoming traffic look like when there are super narrow lanes and no shoulders to speak of. I wasn't very successful. Apparently the stone walls on my side hid everytime I got the camera out.See all the stone fences going up the mountain? Wow...
This sheep got into the middle of the street and was staring us down. I missed that look with the camera though. He eventually sauntered off.
One of the things I love about driving around Ireland is you just come across super awesome stuff like Dunguaire Castle. We didn't plan to go to it and didn't know it was on our way. However, we stopped, toured it and took photos.
This was one of my favorite things in the castle. They had a display on the top floor of some of the possessions of the English woman that bought the castle in the 1950's and restored it. Look at the 2 bluish bottles. One says poisonous. The other? Lemonade. It would really suck to get those mixed up...Another castle we passed on the way to the Cliffs of Moher. We didn't stop at this one.There are no words to describe the beauty of the Cliffs of Moher:There is an official tourist pathway. Then there is the non official pathway that is on the edge of the cliffs, with a worn path covered in sand (if I remember correctly...)
Here is the first sign that greets visitors on their way to the unofficial path. I love the green "who cares" sign. LOL!
Here is me posing with the 2nd sign:
Here is a view of the path and the visitors traversing the unstable cliff edge:
This is not us (obviously). However, when we got to this particular point on the path (the guy int he white shirt), DH didn't want to go any further. I am terrified of heights, but I wasn't going to let a silly unstable cliff edge sign or the fact that this was a ridiculously close edge stop me. I didn't look down...Someone took our picture (see the castle in the background next to DH's head?):
Love this sign we passed on our way back to Ashford that day:The next morning we left for Waterford Castle Hotel which was a long drive from the west, to the southeast to Waterford City. It has its own island that you have to take a ferry. By the time we got there, I was tired of taking photos. The grounds were very nice, but I didn't like the castle as much as Ashford Castle. However, the food was better at Waterford.
We tried to go on the Waterford Crystal tour, but they shut down the factory back in January. So instead we looked through the gallery then walked around the city.
The next morning as we were rushing around to get ready to leave for the airport in Dublin, this was outside our window:

The last night we were in Ireland, we were watching tv and a very graphic speeding commercial came on. We were shocked to say the least. I tried to describe it to family and friends when we got back. However, thanks to the internet and You Tube, they can see it in all its g(l)ory for themselves. DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK IN FRONT OF CHILDREN or if you are easily upset.



WOW! I want to go even MORE now! I'm telling you, it is so beautiful in the pictures and I am sure that it's so much better in person. I will get there. Thank you so much for sharing these pictures. I am going to share them with my mom, if you don't mind. We'll get there! :)

Jennifer Cameron

You can share them with whoever you want. What's interesting is that I looked at photos of Ireland so many times before we left, and it doesn't mean anything until you see it for yourself. Just like others looking at my photos, it probably doesn't mean anything to them-just some annoying person thinking people might actually be interested. LOL!And I must clarify, DH went with me on past the scary part of the cliff. The way I wrote it (at 1am), it sounds like I left him behind. He was offended when he read that part. haha!

Kim V

Thank you for sharing your trip with us!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it. Fantastic pictures too!! So glad you had a great vacation!


Fabulous photo's Jennifer. It looks like you had a wonderful & memorable trip.There is so much history to absorb in the UK :o)The commercial....we have had an almost identical series of very graphic anti speeding "The faster you go, the bigger the mess" commercials here in New Zealand since 2004.Interestingly enough the accident statistics have actually lowered in the time they have been running.

Jennifer Cameron

Thanks for taking a look ladies! I know I am like the annoying relative that wants to have a slideshow of all 800 photos. haha!Deb~we are thinking New Zealand is next. I want to go, and my 11 year old is OBSESSED with New Zealand. He talks incessantly about it and studies books about it and websites about it. He says he is going to move there someday. I vote we start with simply visiting for a week or so. LOL!


Jen - I'll swap you 11 year olds! Mine is convinced that she'd have a horse if she lived in the USA!Tell me what about NZ fascinates him & I'll see what I can find to send (might at least give you some respite until you visit here!)


Looks like you had a great trip! (I'm duly impressed than you managed to pick out only 28 photos to share! That's always the hardest part of any vacation for me, creating highlights and not sharing every last photo taken.) Those cliffs are amazing. So are the brave folks who venture along the edge. Wow!(Wow again for that anti-speeding commercial...)

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