Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ireland, part 1

I really enjoy going back through our travels and hope that at some point I can stay on top of things but that time is not now :)

The plans for our fall break (nearly a year ago!) were a bit spontaneous as Chris saw sufficiently cheap tickets to Ireland and we just went.  We traveled around the island and while in 7 days you cannot visit every single thing, you can see a big part of Ireland.

We flew into Dublin, rented a car and went north where we spend our first 2 nights at a Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne that had a fitness center with a pool attached to it, 2 restaurants to choose from and a working wi-fi.

On the following morning we started out exploring Battle of the Boyne.  The battle was hugely significant in Irish history since it pitted Catholics (James II of England) versus Protestants (William of Orange) and as we all know that conflict lasted many years.  Funny enough (according to Wiki) most of the Irish people supported James because he declared freedom of religion in England and Scotland and promised that Ireland would have a right of self-declaration.  The other side, the Protestants, did not believe that and thought that Catholics would rule over them.  William won in case anybody is curious.  The battle field is a green grass field and a tiny but good museum especially for those of us that know nothing about Irish history which I knew very little about.  

It was a rather chilly morning so we made our way to next destination – Newgrange.  Passages that are at least 5000 years old – how can we not go?!?  The only way to get inside is with the guided tour but it was less than 30 minutes long and Anton could play with the dirt so it worked out.  The guide was not so informative - there is no information on how the massive rocks got to the middle of Ireland?  She did tell us that during winter solstice the light that penetrates the rocks is amazing and if you want to see it, there is waiting list to get in.  The boys said that it was definitely a highlight for them.  It was definitely very impressive that something that old is still standing still.

Our last attraction for the day was Hill of Tara – now think of a really really big hilly open field and that’s exactly what Hill of Tara looked like.  Hill of Tara is supposedly seat of High King of Ireland, and Ireland's history is a complicated so Wiki was my friend during this trip.  Hill of Tara was a great place for boys to run around and expand their energy, but there is not much to see.  However, both Chris and I agreed that it’s a bit creepy though with crows flying over an abandoned church and nothing else.

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