February 5th, I booked a trip to Ireland. February 29th, I hopped on a plane. I’m really good at decision making, but also, why not go? As Patron Saint Hilary Duff once said, “Why not take a crazy chance? Why not do a crazy dance? If you lose the moment, you might lose a lot.” I learned SO much from Lizzie McGuire in my younger years.
The plan was to fly from Atlanta to Boston then from Boston to Dublin where I would meet up with a tour group and do seven days and four cities in Ireland. Sounds great, right? And it was. It SO was. But this journey started out “dramatic in the
best worst way”.
My flight from Boston ended up getting cancelled at 1:30 am. The airline offered to put us up in a hotel for the night, but they wouldn’t reschedule our flights for us. We had to do it on our own.
So I traveled with that mob to a Marriott hotel near Logan International Airport all the while sitting on hold with the airline trying to get a flight out of there. I had already called once and after being on hold for an hour, I hung up. When I realized I had no other choice, I stayed on the phone until 5:30 am, and the earliest I could get out of Boston was 9:30 the following night.
I’m not going to go into all the details of those two days spent trying to get to Dublin. But there were a lot of tears. I have FOMO to the extreme and thinking that I was missing out on fun things whilst I sat at the airport amongst people all wearing face masks did a number on my psyche. If you want to know more, you can read about it in my tell-all memoir, “Running from Diabetes and Feelings”.
After 48 hours of traveling, I finally made it to Dublin, and Jesus blessed me with the most precious cab driver who serenaded me and told me jokes the entire way to the hotel. The tour guide that I was going to have for the trip left a ticket for me to go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral by myself, and then he instructed me to meet the group at the Guinness Storehouse at 5:00 pm. My cab driver told me how to walk from my hotel to the cathedral, so off I went. I had three hours to navigate Dublin alone.
If you know me at all, you know I have no sense of direction. I once got turned around in a parking deck, but I traversed the heck out of that city sans GPS. I used an actual map, y’all.
Did I go to Grafton Street strictly because it’s a lyric in an Ed Sheeran song? Yes. Yes, I did.
Wait til you see this uncanny likeness. Two days. Princess Kat missed sharing a pint with Princess Kate by TWO DAYS.
We left Dublin and traveled by bus to Kilkenny. It’s a very quaint city with the oldest brewery in Ireland. I care nothing about beer, but Smithwick’s tour was fascinating. If you’re ever in Ireland, I highly recommend. I highly recommend Kilkenny overall. It’s what I pictured when I thought of cities in Ireland. For what it’s worth, Dublin was my least favorite.
Can we just talk about this menu? I died when I read it. I’m not an adventurous eater, so when someone suggested a place that wasn’t solely Irish stew and Shepherd’s pie, I was all for it. Talk about a melting pot of flavors, but it was delicious. Swing on by Paris, Texas in Kilkenny while you’re there for those American southwest favorites with the sophistication of the New Orleans French quarter cuisine.
I can’t be the only person who didn’t realize that you had to lean backwards to get your jollies from the Blarney Stone. It’s at the top of a castle which is treacherous in and of itself to get to, but then you have a stranger anchor you so you can plant one on the limestone and be bestowed the gift of gab. I was all for it and watched others do it, and then when I had to lean back, I panicked. You actually feel like you could fall off. Conceptually, I know that’s not the case. These bread loving hips could have never fit through, but when I leaned back and felt like I was going to fall, I lunged forward and shouted, “Gaaaahhhh leeee” in my best Taliaferro county tongue. It delighted the Irish man who was holding me. But I did it. Now I have gab for days. I know you were worried.
We ventured to Killarney where we got to ride a horse and buggy through the National Park. While on the buggy, one of the guys in my tour group asked our driver about a bird that he saw in the park. The driver said, “Oh that’s a magpie.” The guy said, “No. It wasn’t a magpie. It was all black.” And the driver said in the most precious Irish accent, “That would be a crow.” #dead I laughed for a solid five minutes. I’m laughing as I type this.
Ok. This was my absolute favorite part of the trip and the part I was looking forward to the most- the Cliffs of Moher. To quote Marv, the wet bandit, “Harry, I’ve reached the top.”
I could easily make a flipbook out of all the pictures I took at the cliffs. It was the most breathtaking thing I have ever seen.
I could go on for days about the memories that were made and the ways that I saw clear glimpses of God and his specific love for me. I mean how often am I eating fried goat cheese while Enya’s “Only Time” is playing? Not. That. Often. His love is big. And He knows my weird little heart. If you need to get away, get away. If getting away is going to get your nails done or if it’s flying across the ocean, do it. Corona is coming for us, y’all. We might as well live it up now.