Sunday, October 17, 2010

Parents come to Ireland!

My parents jumped the pond and arrived in Dublin early Sunday morning. I picked them up at the airport and brought them to their hotel. Unfortunately, their room was not ready yet. So, I brought them back to my apartment for some relaxation. They were jetlagged, I was dying of the plague. We rested until the hotel called saying that they were able to check in at any time. And let me tell you, the wait was worth it. When we walked into their hotel room, I first thought we were in the wrong room. When the door is opened into their room it leads you into a hallway. On the right hand side are two wood french doors leading into the marble bathroom. Continue straight in the hallway, and around the corner is the bedroom. The bedroom had a large flat screen television with all the channels that I am unable to get at my apartment. Instantly, I jumped onto the plush white bed that was covered with pillows. Of course, this led into another nap.

Once we woke up for a second time, we took my dad out to birthday lunch! He arrived in Ireland for holiday and to see his daughter on his birthday. What a great gift, if I do say so myself. For his birthday we went to the most touristy place in the entire world. I led my family into Temple Bar and we ate at the Hardrock Cafe. It was an enjoyable first meal for the family, and Mr. Barrett received a free shot glass on behalf of his birthday.

After lunch I took my parents on a walking tour of the city. I showed them the Famine Memorial, O'Connell street, Dublin Convention Centre, and walked up and down the Liffey. This took up most of our time. We went out to dinner, which became our nightly routine, and then my parents walked me home.

Unfortunately, I had school all week, so I wasn't able to tour Dublin with my parents, or really show them anything. However, they did well. They walked the city and saw a lot of things. They also took a trip to the west. After school I went to their heavenly hotel for a quick rest and to decide on where to go for dinner. I didn't have a single bad meal. It was nice to explore restaurants, because I don't normally go out to eat. It's expensive and I don't have time.

I don't have class Friday, so I was finally able to travel with them. We decided to take a tour south of Dublin into the country side. I've spent the last two months in the city, and I'm at the halfway point in my semester. The city is getting to be a bit much. I've seen just about everything there is to see in the city, and things are getting old. I guess you could say the honeymoon phase is passing. So this trip was just what I needed. We went on the Wild Wicklow tour.

My parents and I met the tour bus at 9:10 and started our journey. The bus did a coastal drive past the DubLaoghaire Harbor, Dalkey and Killiney. The tour guide pointed out where the wealthy lived and said a lot of famous people reside along the coast.

We then took a break at Avoca Handweavers. It was a little shop that sold expensive clothing and coffee. My parents got hot chocolate and we sat on a bench outside to enjoy. Then it was back to the bus!

We drove through what they called the "Sally Gap Adventure." It was the Wicklow National Park. It was beautiful. The mountains were covered in heather! This is where P.S. I Love You was filmed. I absolutely love that movie, and it was on my to-do list while I've been in Ireland. I was not disappointed to say the least. I could not stop taking pictures. (As usual you can see them here). I sat next to a man on the bus who turned into my family's personal photographer, and in return, I took his picture at every location as well. On this drive we also saw the Guinness lake. They brought in sand to put on the beach at the lake, and from the top of the mountains looking down the lake looked like the beer! It was dark water, and then the sand looked like the foam. The bus driver/tour guide poured us all shots of Jameson to enjoy while overlooking the lake.

We stopped at a pub for lunch. It was a traditional Irish pub in the countryside, so it was a unique experience. The lunch was set up in a buffet style that they served. It reminded me of a lunch line. Everyone stood in line, told the people what you wanted, and it was premade and they served it to you. At the end of the line was the cash register and silverware. Lunch was delicious.

The last stop of the day was to Glendalough. There I saw a 6th century monastic settlement. I saw graves stone buildings. The graves here were much different than the ones I've seen in Dublin. In Dublin they normally outline the grass in front of the grave with stones. The graves at the settlement were much like the ones from home; however, much older.

Glendalough also had two lakes. There was the lower lake, which was a small lake surrounded by trees and had a view of the settlement. There was a path winding through the woods to lead to the upper lake. The upper lake was beautiful. It was large and clean. There wasn't trash polluting the water, and it had a wonderful view. It was in the middle of two mountains, and the valley could be seen in the background. Pictures did not do this place justice. It was stunning.

We were back to Dublin by 17:30. We went back to the hotel for a little regrouping time, then headed off to dinner.

Sadly, Saturday morning my parents had to leave. It was not a happy time, but I will see them again in two months and one day!

It was great seeing them and they came at the perfect time. I enjoyed my time with them, and I think they had a good time as well.

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