Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day #19 - The Irish Open

Hello again!  Today my dad and I went all the way to Carton House Resort to attend the Irish Open.

The rest of the family, who didn't want to go, enjoyed a "lazy day" at home and around town.

But back to the Open!  After getting lost twice on the way there, we finally made it.  We parked right by this neat little castle:

The entrance was pretty cool to walk through, too.  Each sign has a different fact about Ireland on it:

Once we got in, we bought some food and drinks and began wandering around.  We decided to stand at the 16th hole's tee box and watch each player tee off.

It was amazing to see so many famous golfers so close-up!  (Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any pictures of the golfers whatsoever, so that's why this post will have so few photos.)

We were walking along when we saw an iPod lying on the ground.  Random!  We picked it up, of course, but to our disappointment it had a passcode.  Whoever set the wallpaper probably wasn't expecting anybody else to see it, though...

We decided to be good people and turned it into the Lost and Found, which gave all of the people in charge of that booth a good laugh.

Just before we left, I got a picture with Rory McIlroy, who, although he didn't make the cut, I was lucky enough to meet.

When we returned to Blainroe, we found Holden, Jack, and Jen all playing tennis on a nearby court.  After joining them, we ate a nice dinner at Apache Pizza in Wicklow and came home, where I am currently sitting here typing at the computer.

And that was our day!  Thanks for reading, and I will write more in the near future.

Slan go foill!


Day #16, #17, #18 - Northern Ireland

Hi everybody!  I apologize for not posting for a couple of days, but the lack of time and internet connection has made that a bit difficult.

Ah, where do I start?  Oh yes, the Creevy Pier Hotel!

When we woke up and finished stuffing all of our junk back into our suitcases, we walked down to the pier one last time before leaving.

After saying good-bye to Creevy, we began the long journey to Portrush, Northern Ireland.  To break up the drive, we stopped at Rossnawlagh Beach.

We also had a late lunch at a little cafe called Toni's, where I got a meatball-with-melted-cheese-sub, which was probably the best sandwich I've ever had.

A few hours later, we stopped again; this time at the historic and supposedly haunted Donegal Castle.

At the front desk, we were told that there were two ghosts on the bottom floor.  (At first my dad and brothers thought that she said two goats, so they ran around the castle looking for goats.  Classic Eldredges.)  Apparently, two different people at two different times reported that they saw two people "huddled in the corner".

So of course we looked all over for them, but we didn't see anything suspicious.

And, a little while later, we were relieved to find out that we finally crossed the border into Northern Ireland!

When we checked into our hotel in the lovely city of Portrush, we were so tired that we decided to call it a day and save the rest of the exploring for the morning.

The next day, we got out of bed nice and early to head over to the famous Giant's Causeway!

The weather was beautiful, if you call freezing rain and strong winds beautiful.

We took a tour of the place with our awesome guide, Neville, who we were lucky enough to get a picture with:

Despite the dreary weather, the rock formations were absolutely incredible, especially the fact that they are all completely natural and not man-made.

Here's a picture of me on top of a huge pile of rocks I climbed onto:

...And the sneaky hitchhiker that I discovered after I got down.

My nickname is now Slugbutt.
When we returned to Portrush, we noticed a few arcades around town and Holden and Jack went berserk, as we expected.

When we went inside, we saw that there were both adults and kids playing the gambling machines.  And my family and I, being from America, where children aren't allowed four feet within range of those machines, thought that this was illegal.  Turns out that there, people of all ages can play those machines!

We had the time of our lives in those arcades!

Today, we went to the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge, which is very close to the Giant's Causeway.  It was built a long time ago by a salmon fisherman so that he could check his nets more easily.  The weather was about as good as it was the day before, so getting across the bridge was quite an adventure!

On the island that the bridge led to, it was so windy that I lost my balance and nearly fell off the cliff several times.  If you spread your arms out, you would really feel like you were going to blow away!

Something very random also happened while we were there, too.  When my mom and I were washing our hands in the bathroom, we saw a girl who looked very familiar.  My mom asked, "Do I know you from somewhere?"  Coincidentally, that lady is our dog Sadie's groomer, and she traveled here while on vacation with her friends.  She came to the same exact place on the same exact day at the same exact time as us!  All in a completely different country!  Weird!

After we were all nice and soaked, we piled into the car and drove for a couple more hours all the way back to Colette's house in Blainroe, which is the same place where we stayed when we first began our trip!  Our loop of Ireland is almost complete!

Sadly, our trip is almost over, but once we get back home we will be able to see all of our wonderful friends back in California again!

Well, thanks for being patient time and time again when I don't have time to post anything.  The blog is almost at its end, so enjoy these last couple of posts while they last!

Oh, and I will try to post an update of what we did today, too, so be ready for that!



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day #14, #15 - Doolin, The Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, Cararoe, and Creevy

Hola, readers!

I meant to publish this post last night, but unfortunately it didn't work for some reason.  So sorry to keep you waiting, but here it is:

The day before yesterday was personally one of my favorite days of the entire vacation, so I will start with that...

Yesterday morning brought a warm, sunny day in Clifden, which was rather unusual and very lucky.  We packed up some pillows for the long drive ahead, and we were off!

We were on our way to Doolin, where a boat would soon whisk us off to the smallest of the Aran Islands, Inisheer.  It is so tiny that only 250 people populate the island, and 60 are school kids: about 30 in elementary/primary school and 30 in high school/secondary school.

We had a nice view of the countryside during the drive, too:

We arrived at the dock just in the knick of time, as usual.  Here is a picture of our boat, Tranquility:

Excitement was in the air as the island became discernible:

When we stepped foot onto the island, we were amazed.  It was so beautiful!  We saw a kind man who offered to take us on a horse-drawn carriage tour of the island.  Of course we agreed!  

This is the horse who guided our tour.  Her name is Macy.

The tour guide had lived on that island for his whole life, so he knew a lot about the island and shared some interesting information with us.  

Here are pictures of the island.  The fascinating part about those stone walls is that the people who built them didn't use any mortar of any kind;  they just balanced the rocks one by one on top of each other.  The tour guide told us that up to 100 meters (300 feet) of stone wall could be built in a single day!

We visited the nearby beach, which was also very charming.  The rusty ship in the background was shipwrecked in 1960, and they hauled out each survivor one at a time with a bucket.  Later, the boat was robbed of its whiskey, clothes, and copper, and the loot was buried along the beach.  It was quickly dug up before the Customs were clued in.

Plus, there were ruins on the island that are said to have been said to have been built as early as the 4th century:

After that fun adventure, we took another ferry from the island to the famous Cliffs of Moher.  They are ten times as amazing in real life than they are in pictures!  Also, did any of you notice that the background picture of the blog is a photo of the Cliffs?

When we stepped foot on land once again, we were famished.  After a bit of driving around, we found a Kentucky Fried Ireland.

Once our stomachs were full, we got another chunk of driving out of the way.  

We stopped at Cararoe Beach, which is one of the three coral beaches in Ireland.  Its "sand" is made entirely out of little pieces of coral!

Did I mention that we went to this beach at 10:30 at night?

Then, we finished the journey home and went to bed as soon as we arrived.

Now onto yesterday:

The morning was filled with the sound of things being shoved into suitcases, as we were saying good-bye to our home in Clifden and saying hello to our new one in Creevy!

We decided to go shopping one last time in Clifden, and went to a bunch of different stores, including this one:

Then, a few hours later, we arrived at the Creevy Pier Hotel.  They had a restaurant placed conveniently nearby, so we ate some delicious grub there.

We also met our new neighbors:

And that's it!  Thank you for being patient, as I haven't had a whole lot of extra time to work on the blog.  I will try my best to give you all another post today.  

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day #13 - Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, and Cleggan

Hello again, and thanks for checking back!

Today, we went to Kylemore Abbey, which is a castle and Gothic church that was built in the 1820's.  To this day, it is still used as a nunnery and a boarding school for girls.  (Thankfully, my parents decided against sending me there;  it was very pretty there, though!)

After that, we went to the lovely Connemara National Park.

And...drumroll please...there was a park there! *Audience cheers*

And here's me, "ignoring my brothers and pretending I wasn't related to them."  (My mom's words.)

Later, we stopped at Cleggan Strand.  The sun came out just as we arrived, so we got very lucky!

Following our beach exploration, we ate dinner at a place called Oliver's Restaurant in Cleggan.  

My mom wants you all to know that she tried Guiness with Black Currant today for the first time and couldn't believe that she waited so long.  (Don't ask me why she waited.)

Before we went home and settled down for the night, we made a quick trip to SuperValu.  

My mom and I would also like to note that we have been to a lot of grocery stores in Ireland (Aldi, Tesco, Lidl, etc.), but SuperValu is by far the best.  It has a great selection and unbeatable prices, and is unrivaled by the rest of the stores.  

Well, today has been pretty exciting. (Two blog posts in one day?!  Unbelievable!)  But now it has come to an end, and I must get some rest.  

I hope you enjoyed your day, too!  

Oiche mhaith!